To the OP. For some sailors it helps them to have Red telltales on one side of the sail, & Green on the other. And I know that you can sometimes buy them pre-packaged this way. With the neat part being that you can get them in neon colors if you like, to make them that much easier to see. Particularly in low light.
I'm not sure why it helps some folks, but... worth a try.
Also, a few other "tricks" are:
- Mount telltales on sails
in several other locations besides just the sail's luff, plus the main's leech. That way it's also easier to "see" the wind
flow on the sail. Which can help trimmers as well.
- Sometimes sailmakers can add tiny windows to sails
where the telltales will be so that it's easier to see the leeward ones. Personally I find it distracting, but it might help.
There are a few types of Windex's made which can be mounted to the backstay. Though you'll likely need to see your chiropractor if you use one much.
The other option for this is to add a tall, forward facing wand to your transom, & mount a Windex on it. Much akin to the swan neck type masthead wind instrument wands.
Or, you can mount a wind instrument wand to the transom, & wire it to readouts in the cockpit
. It won't be as accurate as a masthead wand/instruments, due to being downwind of everything onboard, but it's a decent alternative. And for anything but fully close hauled sailing, it'll be more than good enough. As even some offshore
racers do this for reaching & offwind work.
A couple of techniques which may help speed up your learning;
- Trying going sailing a few times where you have someone else watch where the boat's heading, & for other boats, obstructions, etc. So that you can focus purely on sailing to the telltails without having to worry about traffic.
- Do the above, but also have a sharp eyed, practiced sailor onboard, who's task it is is to call out the wind shifts which are coming your way. As, for example, on a good day I can call whether a shift will let the helmsman come up or need to fall off (lifts & headers), a good half a mile+ away.
This way the helmsman doesn't suddenly see that he's pointing too high & grossly overcompensates for a shift.
Plus it's good training for other crew in terms of learning
to read the wind. And they'll learn how to feed the timing of when the shifts will hit to the helmsman as well.
- Find a relatively flat patch of water
to practice in, which also has pretty consistent wind, or regular oscillation cycles. That way there are less variables for you to deal with when learning the finer points of helming.
It'll sound like a racing
thing, but it's DIY coaching for anyone. Buy a couple or three good books
on sail trim, & do some home schooling. You'll likely learn a lot. I surely did, & also, do; every time I pull them out for a refresher.
And break out the highlighters, take notes, etc. On & off the water
. Just like for a regular class for school