Please select your home edition
Edition
Rooster GETSEASMART 728x90

Where should I put my telltales?

by Steve Cockerill, Rooster 25 Jan 2018 12:00 GMT
Jyrki Taiminen's Europe Sail at the Loosdrecht Easter Regatta in 1985 © Klaus Selen / Aarne Kuusi, Finnish Europe Coach

I often get asked the question, 'where should I put the telltales on my sail(s)?'

Inside our telltale pack we pretty much say that there is no right or wrong place to put them – except ideally no closer than 1/3 back from the mast or luff wire. We recommend for example that the telltales on a Laser sail are placed in triangle formation (so you can average the disturbed air and work out what they are saying) and most importantly, where you can see them!

But that is not to say that telltales stuck to the leech at a batten pocket might give you some interesting information. I would suggest that the less familiar you are with a class of boat, the more telltales you should employ to help work out the trickier parts of the sail.

Taken to the extreme, I was fascinated by the number of telltales on Jyrki Taiminen's Europe Sail at the Loosdrecht Easter Regatta in 1985. The above shot was taken before he added even more telltales! It finally resembled a hedgehog rather than a sail – but the pattern of the telltales on the sail was fascinating; a good distraction which was my excuse for him soundly beating me.

What, where and why?

Leech telltales indicate when the sail is stalled or on the edge of stalling, whereas luff telltales placed strategically at different heights can help you balance the fullness throughout the height of the sail.

Some boats offer an in-haul control to adjust the fullness near the mast. I have used this to good effect in a Solo and Europe, but they are also used in the Finn as well. For Example: If the upper most luff telltale breaks (drops) on the windward side when heading up, BEFORE the lower telltale, then I would ease the outhaul and pull on the in-haul until they both broke at the same time. Effectively I would be moving the centre of fullness forward at the bottom of the mast to match the centre of fullness position at the top.

When you see a leech telltale stalling (falling behind the leech) then your action would be to reduce the amount of effort the wind has to do before it exists the sail. For Un-stayed boats (Europe, Laser, Aero etc.) you would tend to have to bend the mast more to take out luff curve, which in turn reduces the camber in the sail. This makes the leech more open 'relative' to the maximum camber of the sail. If the boat has a low luff curve (very strong mast to the sail) then easing the kicker or mainsheet might release the leech without adding too much excess material around the luff. Basically – time to experiment. Note: the Mark 6 Radial sail sometimes needs more vang to open the leech when sailing to windward. Boats with a stayed rig have much more control over the mast bend and tend to set the bend to match the luff of the sail. You can then ease the kicker or sheet to let the upper telltales open and breathe rather than stall.

As a crew with a jib to play, you have ultimate control over the leech with both the angle the sheet is taken and the tension in the sheet. Shallowing the sheeting angle to follow along the foot of the jib will open the leech, whereas sheeting at a tighter angle (towards the leech) will close the leech. I like Adam Bowers description of the 4th corner of a jib – His concept makes you think of the crucial part of the sail that manages the slot between the main and jib.

Its safe to say that the more telltales you use to learn your rig and sail the better. Once you are up to speed with the sail, then you can reduce the number to a less distracting quantity.

Grab yourself a pack or two of our Teflon® Coated Telltales and have some fun (each pack contains 3 red and 3 green) – The Teflon® treatment helps them from sticking to the sail when wet and improves their 'readability'.

Happy Sailing!

You can read more about sailing with telltales and the 4th corner in a previous blog post here...

Related Articles

Shake up Your Perception, It's a Rite of Passage
Rooster's team has brought its wealth of sailing intel to the world of bigger boats Rooster's team has brought its wealth of sailing intel to the world of bigger boats, heavier loads, fiercer waves and longer passages. This kit is intricately designed to repel the spray, fight the cold and last. Posted on 26 Mar
Bag it Up with Rooster
New in for 2019, the 90L Wheeled Carry All, Laptop BackPack and 10L Dry Bag New in for 2019, the 90L Wheeled Carry All, Laptop BackPack and 10L Dry Bag. Ideal for wet/dry kit management, the 90L Wheeled Carry All features a large mesh end pocket allowing wet kit to drain out. Posted on 13 Mar
20 years of Rooster Sailing celebrated
Steve Cockerill cuts the cake at the RYA Dinghy Show Steve Cockerill cuts a cake to celebrate two decades of success with the business he founded. Mark Jardine was there to catch his thoughts, on the Rooster stand at the RYA Dinghy Show. Posted on 3 Mar
Rooster are celebrating their biggest year yet
At the 2019 RYA Dinghy Show Rooster, founded by Steve Cockerill in November 1999, emerged from sailing clubs and boat parks across the world. This year's RYA Dinghy Show will be our biggest yet, celebrating our 20th year. Posted on 15 Feb
Rooster's New Superlite Hybrid Jacket
Try Wear Me Out Fresh in for 2019, Rooster have designed the ideal lightweight, hard-wearing layer, constructed using a hybrid of materials to make this jacket both comfortable, functional and durable. Posted on 18 Jan
Rooster's flying into Dusseldorf
50th anniversary of the world's largest indoor boat show Rooster are excited to be returning to the Dusseldorf boat show for 2019. In partnership with our German distributor Aquaequip.de we will be retailing our product range and the team will be ready to offer you assistance. Posted on 9 Jan
Rooster 4 for 3 Ends Tomorrow
Hand-picked most popular items! We've hand-picked some of our most popular items to make finding the perfect gift even easier and what's more, simply choose any four items and get the lowest priced item free. The 4 for 3 offer ends 12:00 noon(GMT) Friday 14th December 2018. Posted on 13 Dec 2018
Become a Rooster Brand Ambassador for 2019
Rooster are again looking for athletes to receive support for 2019 Are you passionate about getting outside and on the water? Are you outgoing, friendly and sociable? Do you like to help, encourage and support other people within your sport? Posted on 30 Nov 2018
Black Friday at Rooster
Up to 50% off, while stocks last! Tailor Your Gift - to suit the individual. The Perfect Combos - carefully selected by the team at Rooster. All the Extras - Shop individual products with the very best deals. Posted on 21 Nov 2018
Interview with Steve Cockerill and Kate Sargent
Rooster Sailing win DAME award for the Rooster Exofleece We talked to Steve Cockerill and Kate Sargent at the METS marine trade fair in Amsterdam, where Rooster Sailing have just won a DAME award in the clothing category for the Rooster Exofleece. Posted on 13 Nov 2018