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Learn to sail with Magic Shroud Telltales

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If you’re like me, you’re always looking for surfing tips that make surfing easier and with less effort. When you first learn to sail, it can be difficult to “see the wind.” You can feel the wind on your cheek or on the back of your neck. But how can you see it? Take a look at these three simple, non-electronic type wind indicators that are available to boaters:

Types of apparent wind indicators

Luff Telltales Candle

Your genoa or mainsail may have indicators (small strips of thread or tape) attached to the luff (in the case of a headsail) or leech (in a mainsail). These indicators show the apparent wind flow through the sail. But the candlestick indicators can be hard to see. You have to bend down, crane your neck to see the luff of your genoa. And when you’re sailing solo or with a small crew, that can be a lot of work. As well as the fact that luff indicators only show the apparent flow of wind through a sail.

butt fly

If you have a wind “fly” at the top of the mast, this miniature weather vane shows how the wind flows through the ship. It is almost the perfect apparent wind indicator because it is not obstructed or blocked by another sail, mast, rig or blocked by nearby land. But top flies can be hard to see at the top of your mast.

Shroud Indicators

Shroud indicators are an easier alternative to the top fly and still give you a great picture of how the apparent wind is flowing through your boat. They are easier to use than luff indicators for small crewed sailors because you don’t have to bend down and strain to see the luff on your genoa or headsail. Best of all, they’re cheap, easy to make, and super simple to use. Follow these three easy steps to make and assemble your protection flags in just a few minutes:

1. Find the right material for Shroud Telltales

Go to your local fabric and sewing store. Find the aisle that sells yarn. Buy a roll of angora wool. Dark colors are good for daytime navigation, while brighter colors stand out better at night. Angora wool is the best indicator because it is light and shows direction even on those super light morning zephyrs.

2. Make and attach your Shroud markers

Cut two 6″ to 9″ strips of yarn. Attach the string to the top deck on each side, as high up on the deck as possible. You want the thread to be in the open so it won’t be blocked by the cab roof, Bimini top, or spray dodger.

3. Match your indicator to the navigation point

Use a “browse and study” method to learn how to read the Shroud indicator. Navigate at each point of sail, anchor the boat, and watch the indicator. Watch how he points. After a few times of doing this, you should be able to recognize what the indicator should look like when hitting, reaching, or running.

How to Use Your Shroud Indicators

Concentrate on three specific points of the sail: tack (tack), beam reach, and sailing. At each tip of the sail, note the angle made by the indicators on your shroud. This requires a bit of practice and patience.

To beat, find that “razor edge” between luffing and sailing. Look at the windward side shroud indicator. Note how it forms a slight angle to the arch. Stay on course and focus on that angle. Step down a bit and watch the windward shroud indicator change angle. Head astern at one pace (upwind heading). Once again, note the revealing angle of the cover. Repeat this several times until this revealing angle of the deck becomes second nature to you.

Follow this same sequence with a beam scope and running course. As you can see, the shroud indicators will force you to find the sail tip first and then help you hold that sail tip. This will make you less dependent on the luff indicators and will require less effort because they will always be visible while you are driving from your helm or wheel.

Use these three quick and easy steps on your journey to learning to surf better than ever. You will increase your speed, power and performance at any sailing point, anywhere in the world you choose to sail!

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