Sail trim is one of the most important skills in sailing, but because the wind is invisible, it can sometimes be difficult to judge whether your sails are trimmed properly. A very helpful way to detect wind flow around your sails (and adjust your sails or change course accordingly), is with telltales.
How Telltales Work
Telltales are pieces of yarn or sailcloth near the luff of the sail.
– If the windward (closest to the direction from which the wind is coming) telltale is fluttering, either sheet in the jib toward the telltale or turn the boat away from the telltale (bear away) until it stops fluttering and flows smoothly.
– If both telltales stream straight back, it means the wind is flowing smoothly over both sides of the sail.
– If the leeward (farthest away from the wind’s direction) telltale is fluttering, sheet out the sail toward the telltale or turn the boat away from the telltale (head up) until it flows smoothly.
The lessons learned in Basic Keelboat will provide a strong foundation to help you build your skills for the future. You can purchase Basic Keelboat through our website.