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The Physics of Hiking



In dinghy sailing a persons weight becomes a much bigger deal in sailing the boat and keeping it upright. As it gets windier out on the water more force is applied to the sail, and the boat is tipped, or heeled, over more. This is were the weight of the sailor becomes more important. In order to counteract the tipping force of the sail, the sailor needs to move their weight out of the boat to create a stable system.


In the picture above we can see that the sailor has to "hike" out of the boat to counteract the force of the sail pushing the boat towards a capsize. Since the wind is always changing the sailor needs to constantly be moving around and shifting their weight in and out of the boat. This is very similar to how torque work in that the farther a mass is out of the center the more force it applies in the direction of gravity.

If the system of the boat is not in equilibrium, caused by lack of hiking or a strong gust of wind, the boat can end up on it's side, this is called a capsize.



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