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Keeping the Telltales Flying Steady

As a sailor, we are doing one of two things when it comes to sail trim. We are either:

  1. Steering the boat to keep the sails flying effectively with varying directional and speed wind gusts
  2. Or we are holding the boat steady on course and constantly trimming the sails

2.7.1 Steering the boat with the sails held constant:

The closest angle from the direction of where the wind is coming from that most sailboats can achieve is about 30-40 degrees. But if your desired destination is more upwind than that, you’ve got to zig-zag (tack) your way up the course. And you’ve got to make constant changes to the boats heading to account for wind direction changes and gusts. In this scenario, as a sail trimmer, you’re doing less work – that is unless there are strong gusts. When strong gusts are present, you’ll be the one responsible for depowering and repowering the sails. We’ll talk about that in the sail twist section to come.

Most of the work is being done by the helmsperson. They are constantly adjusting the helm to keep the boat at 30 degrees off the wind and consequently, the telltales flying steady.

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Source: Basic Sail Trim
Topic: Sails and Sail Trim
Authors: Grant Headifen, NauticEd Global Director of Education
NauticEd is a fully recognized education and certification platform for sailing students combining online and on-the-water real instruction (and now VR). NauticEd offers +24 online courses, a free sailor's toolkit that includes 2 free courses, and six ranks of certification – all integrated into NauticEd’s proprietary platform. The USCG and NASBLA recognize NauticEd as having met the established American National Standards.