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Go Back   SailNet Community > Skills and Seamanship > Seamanship & Navigation
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Seamanship & Navigation Forum devoted to seamanship and navigation topics, including paper and electronic charting tools.


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  #1  
Old 08-06-2006
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Question telltales

At Atlantic Challenge on the 420s I used the telltales on the jib to tell how my sail trim was.
Do a lot of actual yachts also have these? I am asking because I have never seen any telltales on boats bigger then 25 feet.
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Old 08-06-2006
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All boats can have sail telltales. It is really up to the sailmaker that made the sail. Some include the telltales as a stock part of the sails, others make you add them yourself. My boat, 28', came with tell tales on both the genoa, just about a foot aft of the luff and on the leech of the main sail.
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Old 08-06-2006
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Last I knew, sailmakers asked how and if you wanted telltales, or asked where and how many you wanted. But telltales are always busy zipping off, you may not have seen many because a lot of casual sailors haven't bothered replacing them.

We've used a bit of sail repair tape (nylong ripcloth tape) or mylar tape and ordinary wool yarn or video cassette tape to replace them. Easy come easy go, no big deal.
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Video cassette tape is a bit large for tell tales, unless you're talking about the smaller formats, like 8mm or mini-DV. VCR tape is just a bit big IMHO.

Audio tape, both cassette and reel, works quite well though.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Well, plain VCR tape is what we had, so that's what we used.

Cassette tape just didn't seem to last long enough, and tied itsel up when damp too easily. The intermediates do sound like a good idea...I guess my friends and I are all just "media impaired".
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Then again, it could depend on the boat... On a 65' sloop...you might not be able to see cassette tape very well...
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
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It's a good idea to always have telltales, isn't it?
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Old 08-08-2006
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Telltales are an essential tool for proper sail trim, or for effecient closehauled sailing. No fancy electronics rephave replaced this function.

If you want to sail efficienty, you need telltales. If you don't care, you don't...
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Old 08-11-2006
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What is a "video cassette"? Just kidding...you will probably be more likely to see telltales on boats that are raced as racers are often part of that population that sailingfool refers to that wants to sail efficiently.
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Old 08-11-2006
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Here's a link to the 'seminal' articles that fully explain how, where and why to use telltales: www.arvelgentry.com then go to 'magazine articles' then:

Checking Trim on the Wind, November 1973
Achieving Proper Balance, December 1973
Sailing to Windward, January 1974
Are You at Optimum Trim?, March 1974
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