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Thread: Tell-tales, quick question re installing them on sail.

  1. #1
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    Default Tell-tales, quick question re installing them on sail.

    As a beginner I'm thinking that tell-tales would be a handy indicator of whether sail is set correctly. I'm using a Goacher 44 sq ft bermudan sail that was originally made for OCSG racing (I think). It has three ribbon tell-tales evenly spaced on the sail leech but as they mounted near the battens they often catch in the velcro and get entangled.

    So I'm thinking off just gluing some thin ribbons on a more central part of sail. Does it matter where on sail they should be mounted? I think I'm right in saying they should be mounted in pairs, one each side of sail so their relative positions can be compared - should they be mounted at, say, centre of effort for sail? - or is there a better place on sail. One pair? More than one pair?
    Last edited by fredster; 1st-April-2012 at 11:06 PM.
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  2. #2
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    Your right about trying to place them where they won't get caught on any stitching etc. One pair is enough for many people - about half way up will do fine. More than one pair is either for fine tuning the twist of the sail (placed higher and lower than halfway), or for burmudans that reef by rolling around the mast (placed further back towards the leech ie back edge so that you still have a telltale when reefed). I think yours is one of the fully battened ones, so reefs by slab reefing? I'd put them about 9in or a foot back and above the reefing points. Dark wool pushed thro the sail with a needle and knotted each side of the sail makes effective telltales and doesn't get stuck to the sail so easily when it rains/gets wet.

  3. #3
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    Thanks for that Keith. yep, it slab reefs. I must admit I'm a bit reluctant to push a needle through my sail, will this not weaken it? When I read about this technique I wondered if it was more for canvas sails - mine has a plasticky feel (dacron?).
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by fredster View Post
    I must admit I'm a bit reluctant to push a needle through my sail, will this not weaken it?
    Yes, I suppose technically it might but only infinitesimally - it's never caused me any problems. The needle should push between threads rather than breaking any.

  5. #5
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    Ok, will try it. Thanks again,

    fred
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  6. #6

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    Fredster. I have a packet of tell tails I brought in a dinghy chandlers. they have a little patch that you stick on small ripstop streamers; no punturing of the sail needed. If I make it to Rutland I will give you a set

  7. #7
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    If I tell you how to fit your telltales you,ll only go and tell everyone and that would make me a teller of tell tales and you a tell tale so I,m not telling you

  8. #8
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    Arf!

    ...and cheers UT, appreciate it.
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  9. #9
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    Usually tell tales are red and green wool ,come with a sticky back disc to stick on your sail and are put on in sets of 3.Or 4 for large sails. Blue ribbon ones are sewn on the end of batten pockets.
    Measure the luff of the sail and divide into 4 (5 for large sails). Put the telltales 18" back from the luff at right angles. !2" for smaller sails.Alter the position slightly up or down if they are going to catch on the seam stitches.
    You can make your own by getting some sticky back plastic and a ball of wool.

  10. #10
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    Unless your racing and need maximum efficiency, you don't need tell tales. Simply let your tight sail out until the front 6" of fabric at the Luff (Normally around the bottom half of the sail) starts to go baggy and loose and then pull it back in slightly to lose the baggy fabric. The sail is then sailing about right.

    If you have tell tales, you want to adjust the sail so that both tell tales on each side of the sail are flying parallel to each other, then it is perfect, but then if you are bothered by that amount of efficiency you should also be keeping the canoe level, also balance the canoe fore & aft by sitting further forward or back, lifting your leeboard on certain points of sail to reduce drag, roll tacking & roll jibing etc. etc. It's all exciting stuff, but if your just cruising about, it's not really neccessary. IMHO of course.

  11. #11
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    They are a godsend for genoa trimming - set up as three pairs about 20% of the chordal depth aft of the leading edge - if you can set the windward ones just "Ticking" about once per second or every two seconds - that's close to perfect.

    After that there's the business of generating a full set of polar performance plots.

  12. #12
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    Are we not straying into the parallel universe of high performance sailing? I interpreted the original poster as requesting some advice as an inexperienced canoe-sailor, so kept my reply simple and pragmatic. It's nice to aim high and aspire to better things but let's keep it real for our style of canoes (not IC10s!) - very few of our canoes use foresails let alone genoas (I have but from my experience I'm a rarity!)

    I once went to a sail trimming "masterclass" with Steve Goacher (a sailmaker and multi-world champion sailor) and he does not favour luff tell-tales, preferring just the leech ones, hence how Fredster's sail is. But in practice luff tell-tales are very useful, especially for the beginner until you get the feel for how the boat/sail moves with and responds to the wind.

    I'm all for sharing wisdom but not "blinding with science!"

    Having said all that would silverbirch like to offer her considered wisdom as a sailmaker on leech ribbons?

  13. #13
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    If you must have them on such small sails I wold go with the stick on ones, if your not into making them get them from a chandalry , I had pakets of them in my loft for ages, ended up giving them away just to get rid of them. I prefer he method already mentiond, triming the sail by leting out the sheet untill it goes bagy or starts to flog then trim it in untill its just ferm. do we realy wont to bother with sumthing more complicated ?

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by mick m View Post
    If you must have them on such small sails I wold go with the stick on ones, if your not into making them get them from a chandalry , I had pakets of them in my loft for ages, ended up giving them away just to get rid of them. I prefer he method already mentiond, triming the sail by leting out the sheet untill it goes bagy or starts to flog then trim it in untill its just ferm. do we realy wont to bother with sumthing more complicated ?
    I'd say yes, luff tell tales are worth having (but far from essential) for cruising and a necessity for racing.

    There is no downside, apart from the small cost, and from the experience looking at my tell tales, the method of sheeting in until the sail just stops flapping does not correspond to the point at which I get laminar flow on both side of the sail. So I conclude tell tales are necessary for optimum sail trim. However, also from experience, getting the sail trim bang on versus almost right has only a small or very small effect on boat speed - of fairly small consequence for cruising but can make all the difference when racing.

    In a more general way, they also help with the sailing learning curve, making it possible to visualise air flow across the sail.

  15. #15
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    I use tell tales all the time and think that they really make a difference to helping you sail efficiently. If you are sailing on your own, the consequence of loosing efficiency may not be that important, but for racing, or just keeping up with other people when sailing together they can make a huge difference.

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