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When the wind is no longer creating a laminar flow over the surface of the sails, aerodynamics is irrelevant, and the telltales are no longer helpful.
I have occasionally been able to keep the aerodynamic flow going until the boat was on a very broad reach, but the telltales stop working somewhere between a very broad reach and a run.
Also, in light air, there is a point when the wind is so light that it can no longer lift the weight of the telltales. At that time, the telltales become useless, and you have to resort to some other method of trimming the sails. Usually the best way is to ease the sail until it begins to lift at the leading edge (the luff), and then trim it back in a skosh, until it lays down.
Last edited by Sailormon6; 08-16-2011 at 11:43 AM.