Ask SAIL: Where Should Telltales Go?

Author:
Publish date:

Q: My crew and I have been debating the location of telltales on our boat, a 30-footer we race only casually. We’ve already got telltales on the luff of the genoa and on the trailing edge of the main. The question is whether it makes sense to have telltales elsewhere, like in the belly of the mainsail.

Margret Price, Waterville, MI

BRIAN HANCOCK REPLIES

That’s a good question and one that can be answered two ways. Telltales are there to show you how the wind is flowing across your sail, and the two locations where you already have telltales are the most important. You need telltales along the luff of your genoa or jib to show you just how close you can sail to the wind. (Ganted, you will be able to see the sail starting to back if you try and sail too high, but telltales are light and will indicate a stalling sail much sooner than the sail itself.) Similarly, telltales along the leech of your main are important because it’s the back end of that sail that works with the keel to provide lift when sailing to windward. Therefore, it’s critical to have these early warning signals to let you know if your main is set right or starting to stall out, bleeding off power.

Having said that, what harm is there to adding telltales all over the sail? Surely the more you know about the wind flow across your sail the better? However, I don’t think that’s really true, and I think that having too many telltales can be confusing and distract from the two very important sets that have just been described. With that in mind, you may want to add a set along the luff of the mainsail, but that’s about all you need. Less is more, as they say.

July 2016

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more