How to Use Jib Telltales

What your telltales are telling you: “Telltales flowing” is good when underpowered. “Telltales dancing” (windward) can be good when overpowered. “­Telltales stalled” (leeward) is bad and means not fast.

What your telltales are telling you: “Telltales flowing” is good when underpowered. “Telltales dancing” (windward) can be good when overpowered. “­Telltales stalled” (leeward) is bad and means not fast. (Illustration: Tim Barker/)

Telltales are the most ­ubiquitous and simplest piece of equipment found on any sailboat, and even in this age of powerful race electronics, nothing is more reliable or true than these trusty yarns—or fabric strips—that serve as our guide to good sail trim. They’re an effective teaching tool for beginning racers, especially those on the headsails, so let’s focus on the basics of our jib telltales…

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