Skip to main content

Auxiliary telltales

Most modern sailboat races are run on windward-leeward courses designed to give racers the maximum number of chances to pass each other and to create lanes. While there’s little doubt that these “new” courses (until the mid-1990’s, most racecourses were triangular and featured more reaching) make for exciting racing, they do create a problem for drivers and trimmers, namely that it can be tiring

Most modern sailboat races are run on windward-leeward courses designed to give racers the maximum number of chances to pass each other and to create lanes. While there’s little doubt that these “new” courses (until the mid-1990’s, most racecourses were triangular and featured more reaching) make for exciting racing, they do create a problem for drivers and trimmers, namely that it can be tiring to crane your neck back in order to see the Windex on the top of the mast, as it’s harder to feel the breeze when sailing dead downwind. Also, when sailing by the Windex, it’s easy to miss any windsheer between water level and masthead height.

Luckily, there’s an easy solution that requires only two pieces of string and some sail tape. Simply cut two telltale lengths of yarn and tape these to your boom (if you have end-boom sheeting, try affixing the tape between the boomvang and the end-boom fitting; if you have mid-boom sheeting, try affixing the tape abaft the mainsheet gear). Not only will this save your aching neck muscles, it will also give your trimmers and helmsman better insight as to any windsheer or localized shifts that might be influencing the racecourse.

Related

00-LEAD-210918_11HR_AZIMUT48HRS_AMO_00411

11th Hour Racing Team's Green Mission

“I’ll admit, it’s still hard to watch the boat leave the dock sometimes,” says former Volvo Ocean Race sailor Mark Towill. Since meeting during a Transpac campaign over 15 years ago, he and his teammate Charlie Enright have sailed thousands of miles together aboard two Volvo ...read more

D61_JKELAGOPIAN-3

Boat Review: Dufour 61

Dufour, long one of France’s most well-respected builders, has been producing sailboats in La Rochelle since the dawn of fiberglass boatbuilding. Having recently merged with another La Rochelle-based builder, Fountaine Pajot, Dufour has now joined other European mass-production ...read more

m138123_14_00_210609_TORE02_SE_2152_2504-2048x

The Ocean Race to be “Climate Positive”

The 2023 Ocean Race intends to be one of the world’s first climate positive sporting events, offsetting more greenhouse gasses than are produced. The two-fold effort means cutting emissions by 75 percent and investing in ocean projects that sequester carbon and restore ocean ...read more

01-LEAD-Ancients-3-2048x

Cruising Lake Superior

Almost anywhere a sailor drops the hook someone else has been there before. We are hardly ever the first. That remote Maine harbor without a soul in sight: there’s a lobster trap. The south coast of Newfoundland: the crumbling remains of a fisherman’s cabin lie hidden among the ...read more

01-LEAD-Tablet-Holder-4

Fabricating a Tablet Holder

During the pandemic, I was stuck aboard Guiding Light, a Lagoon 410, in St. Lucia for over a month. During that time, as I worked on the boat, I started by doing a spring cleaning in my spares locker and finding some parts and material that I forgot I had. As soon as I saw them, ...read more

00-LEAD-AdobeStock_486335954

A Catamaran for a New Era

Anacortes, Washington, is an unassuming sea-salty town near the San Juan Islands of Puget Sound, and the Betts Boats yard is easy for a passerby to miss. But within Betts’ facilities, the dawn of an era in Pacific Northwest production boatbuilding could be breaking with the ...read more

X5_plus_slide-01

Boat Review: Xquisite X5 Plus

The Xquisite X5 Plus is a major update of the boat that SAIL awarded Best Large Multihull and Best Systems titles in 2017. The changes were not just cosmetic, but genuine improvements to an already fine boat, making it lighter, faster and less dependent on fuel. The builder’s ...read more

01-LEAD-AdobeStock_40632434

Cruising: Offshore Prep Talk

When I began preparing Minx, my 1987 Pearson 39-2, for extended Caribbean cruising, I had to balance my champagne wish list against my beer budget. Every buck spent on the boat before leaving would be one less frosty can of Carib down in the islands. On the other hand, I had to ...read more