Fairlead adjustment / Teltale Flip

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May 17, 2004
2,032
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Old Cat brought up two points on the thread concerning "Traveler & Genoas" and I didn't want them lost in that discussion so I'll discuss them here.

He has a pin type telltale adjustment system. This system is a pain to adjust and it gets worse on bigger boats. Normally, a mate has to step on the line in order to move the pin and because it is a pain sailors will do what is easy and not what is hard. The result is the fairleads remain stationary. Old Cat suggests adjusting the lazy fairlead and tacking, which is a very good solution and will solve the problem. There is only one problem that all beginners have and that is which way to move the fairlead - forward or aft? Old Cat knows which way to go but a beginner probably doesn't. Here's a simple way to get it right every time. Watch the jib through the tack. Just before the jib goes head to wind, the sail will break. If the foot flutters or the bottom telltale breaks first - move the fairlead AFT. If the leech flutters, the top luffs or the top telltale breaks first - move the fairlead FORWARD. Pretty simple, right!! The next question is how many holes do you go? Start with one. On the next tack, if the sail breaks evenly you're right on. If not just keeping fooling with it.

Next, he brought up the subject of telltales "flipping". What he is talking about is after you get your telltales streaming you can squeeze a little more out of the sail by pushing it so the top telltale FLIP about once every 3 seconds. When that happens you are at the highest point on the lift/drag curve but if you can't get your telltales to react that way I would just forget about it. With your telltales streaming you're almost there anyway.

Lastly, there is no difference between racing trim and cruising trim - there is only a right way and a wrong way to trim your sails. You know who told me that - Dennis Conner.
 

Alan

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Jun 2, 2004
4,174
Hunter 35.5 LI, NY
The issue with the "flipping" method of adjusting the lazy car and tacking is it takes so much effort and energy to get out on deck, move the car, tack the boat and re-trim the sails only to find you're still not quite there. Line adjustable cars take mere seconds to adjust and you instantly see the result. Also the pin holes on the track are the limiting factor in the location of the car. Some holes could be 3, 4 or 5 inches apart and in the car location game inches are critical.
The way I look at it, we've spent so much money buying our boats it seems a shame to give up on a proper adjusting method for the headsail when you're nearly there. Pass on the flat screen TV and add the adjustable cars, you're sail trim will be so much better for it.
 
May 17, 2004
2,032
Other Catalina 30 Tucson, AZ
Alan is right but I don't suggest that after you get the fairlead adjusted correctly on one side that you then switch back to another tack. After the first tack you stay there until the need to tack again and then you watch for the break of the sail, set the new fairlead and so on for each new tack.

Personally, I would not be without an adjustable fairlead system. If you have any desire to race a boat you should not be without one especially if you have a masthead rig.
 
Aug 4, 2009
204
Oday 25 Olympia
Alan is right but I don't suggest that after you get the fairlead adjusted correctly on one side that you then switch back to another tack. After the first tack you stay there until the need to tack again and then you watch for the break of the sail, set the new fairlead and so on for each new tack.

Personally, I would not be without an adjustable fairlead system. If you have any desire to race a boat you should not be without one especially if you have a masthead rig.
I agree 110% that an adjustable fairlead is a must. We were very satisfied with a "tweaker" system on a 420 sq ft genoa. The car was fixed on the track to optimize the lead to the winch. Another car with block was located well forward on the track. The block on the tweaker line rode on the jib sheet and the hauling part was rove through the forward block and back to a cockpit cleat or ideally, to a secondary winch. Hauling on the tweeker line was the same as moving the fairlead forward and nobody had to go on deck. A piece of light bungy cord between the tweaker block and the life line keeps the block from bumping the deck. The sail could be shaped for almost anything between a full breeze and a light air wind shear, on the wind to on the pole.

FWIW, Geohan
 

Alan

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Jun 2, 2004
4,174
Hunter 35.5 LI, NY
Geoha, very clever idea, now I have to try it ! Great name too, sort of a 'twing' for the genny instead of a kite. But certainly not something you could use in big wind, I'm sure.
 
Aug 4, 2009
204
Oday 25 Olympia
Geoha, very clever idea, now I have to try it ! Great name too, sort of a 'twing' for the genny instead of a kite. But certainly not something you could use in big wind, I'm sure.
Alan
Any wind within the limits the sailmaker placed on your genny are no problem for the tweaker. To depower ease the tweaker which induces twist. Depending upon the position of the after fairlead, the whole top half of the genny can be twisted off and depowered.
Geohan
 

OldCat

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Jul 26, 2005
728
Catalina , Nacra 5.8, Laser, Hobie Hawk Wonmop, CO
Lastly, there is no difference between racing trim and cruising trim - there is only a right way and a wrong way to trim your sails. You know who told me that - Dennis Conner.
Uh, Except MONEY. :laugh:

Old Cat knows which way to go but a beginner probably doesn't. Here's a simple way to get it right every time. Watch the jib through the tack. Just before the jib goes head to wind, the sail will break. If the foot flutters or the bottom telltale breaks first - move the fairlead AFT. If the leech flutters, the top luffs or the top telltale breaks first - move the fairlead FORWARD.
Except I forget about the leech part :redface:.

And now a Q: Can I check it by sheeting out a bit whilst staying on the same tack? Or do it by just luffing up and watching the break instead of tacking? In lighter winds, one could then adjust the loaded pin car and stay on the same tack and experiment with one side at a time to get it right. For this, the adjustable cars really are the cat's meow since you could do it in most winds.

Tks,
OC
 

OldCat

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Jul 26, 2005
728
Catalina , Nacra 5.8, Laser, Hobie Hawk Wonmop, CO
The issue with the "flipping" method of adjusting the lazy car and tacking is it takes so much effort and energy to get out on deck, move the car, tack the boat and re-trim the sails only to find you're still not quite there. Line adjustable cars take mere seconds to adjust and you instantly see the result. Also the pin holes on the track are the limiting factor in the location of the car. Some holes could be 3, 4 or 5 inches apart and in the car location game inches are critical.
The way I look at it, we've spent so much money buying our boats it seems a shame to give up on a proper adjusting method for the headsail when you're nearly there. Pass on the flat screen TV and add the adjustable cars, you're sail trim will be so much better for it.
No arguments with your post - having the cool rigging does make it easier and more accurate. On my small boat, though, it is not as hard as you imagine. I can reach my track and cars sitting in the cockpit, and in modest winds even adjust the loaded car.

OC
 

Alan

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Jun 2, 2004
4,174
Hunter 35.5 LI, NY
OC, sure heading up and watching the break of the telltales will work fine. That's exactly what we do, head up, teak the car reset and head up again to check. But I like the tweaker addition even better for this. In fact you could add this to your boat for just a few bucks and have the benefit of fast and accurate adjustments.
 

RichH

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Feb 14, 2005
4,773
Tayana 37 cutter; I20/M20 SCOWS Worton Creek, MD
For the hard-core racers, I have a slightly different method of setting the jib fairlead position. A hard core racer will naturally be looking for a 'few inches' of extra boat speed/length.

I initially set my fairlead position by using the luff tell tales (as above); but, then since the mainsail's interaction with the jib/genoa will determine the 'final' shape and trim of the genoa I then concentrate on the mainsail shape/trim/set, etc. and watch these effects on the flow across the jib/genoa ... especially how the 'slot distance' is behaving.

Still on a hard but fast beat and after setting the basic jib fairlead position, and get 'decent' mainsail trim/shape, I next adjust the traveller so that the luff of the mainsail 'just begins' to (so-called) 'backwind' - which will change the flow over the jib/genoa! and will be seen in how the genoa's tell tales react when slowly heading up. Especially if the traveller is ON the centerline and I need to slightly 'ease' the jibsheet tension to prevent 'backwinding' - the easing changing the 'outboard' position of the jib clew from the centerline - I then again usually readjust the fairlead position again so that all the luff tell-tales break simultaneously. The reason is that the mainsail trim affects the flow over the genoa (and vice versa). The higher the windspeed, usually the more open the slot distance is required and if the jib-to-spreader distance is increased, the 'shape' of the jib will change ... and sometimes will change the amount of 'twist' in the genoa. For a racing sailor, this 'refinement' will often result in a gain of 'many inches' - or boatlengths over the entire course.

Summary:
Set fairleads, adjust/trim main, adjust slot distance, then RESET (or re-check) the jib fairlead --- will result in a much faster boat especially in the higher windranges when you need a 'more open' slot.
Different windspeeds require different 'slot opening distance' and the different slot distances may change the amount of jib twist.

Caveat - typically with jibs at greater than ~135% LP, 'backwinding' can be a problem no matter how you shape/trim, so you might have to suffer sailing with a small 'happy bubble' at the mainsail's luff when flying a BIG jib.

Other - on my frac rig. (ILYA scow) with 'transverse' aux. fairlead tracks, I simply set the mainsail traveller to the centerline, and then adjust in/out from the centerline on the aux. jib fairlead traveller until the mainsl luff starts to 'backwind' ... then I reset the fore/aft jib traveller. .... and every damn day requires a different 'slot distance', etc. If you dont have athwartship jib car travellers you can accomplish the same by either jib sheet tension and/or barber haulers, etc.
 

Alan

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Jun 2, 2004
4,174
Hunter 35.5 LI, NY
However you move your fairleads its important to note that this adjustment is critical to proper headsail trim. If you are of the 'set it and forgret it' mind set you'll never learn how to trim your sails correctly. As Don has stated so many times before 'there's no racing vs cruising trim'. Either your trim is right or it's not. Fairlead adjustment is so critical to headsail adjustment. If you want to sail with correct sail trim then you're gonna have to get adjustable fairleads or you're never going to get your sail trim right. Why spend all that money on a sailboat and then opt out of having your sails trimmed incorrectly ? If you're in a floating condo then who cares but if you're a sailor then sail trim matters and sheeting angle, draft depth and angle of attack are of monumental importance.
 
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