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Sail trim is one of the most important skills in sailing, but because the wind is invisible, it can sometimes be difficult to judge whether your sails are trimmed properly.
A very helpful way to detect wind flow around your sails (and adjust your sails or change course accordingly), is with telltales.
How Telltales Work
Telltales are pieces of yarn or sailcloth near the luff of the sail.
- If the windward (closest to the direction from which the wind is coming) telltale is fluttering, either sheet in the jib toward the telltale or turn the boat away from the telltale (bear away) until it stops fluttering and flows smoothly.
- If both telltales stream straight back, it means the wind is flowing smoothly over both sides of the sail.
- If the leeward (farthest away from the wind’s direction) telltale is fluttering, sheet out the sail toward the telltale or turn the boat away from the telltale (head up) until it flows smoothly.
The lessons learned in Basic Keelboat will provide a strong foundation to help you build your skills for the future. You can purchase Basic Keelboat through our website.
When coiling a line, one hand makes a new loop which is fed only the other hand holding the loops previously coiled. With laid line it helps to twist the line slightly as you coil to avoid kinks or twists in the line. Twisting braided line may cause kinks.
The square knot is used only for sail lashings. It is not recommended for tying two lines together because it can be difficult to untie. It is a good not for a sail tie.
This knot uses a loop to secure a line to an object.
The Figure-8 knot looks like its name. It is sometimes called a stopper knot, and is tied on the end of a line to keep the line from slipping through a fitting. Easy to untie, it is commonly used on the ends of the jib sheets in the cockpit.
A clove hitch is used to tie a line to an object. It is not a very secure knot. It is very easily untied but, with an extra half hitch, can be used to secure a tiller.
Tying a Bowline
The Bowline (BOE-lin) puts a non-slipping loop at the end of a line. The knots becomes more secure under pressure, but remains easy to untie. It is commonly used know on sailboats. Among it’s many applications, the bowline is used to attach the jib sheets to the clew of the jib.