• entries
5
17
• views
8,400

# Physics of Sailing

2,136 views

One of my favorite things to do during the fall and summer is sailing. Along with skiing, I think that sailing is one of the most physics filled activites you can partake in. Sailing is infinatly more complicated than most people think it to be, there are an unimaginable amount of variables that come into play when trying to harness the wind to move a boat.

The sail is obviously the most crutial element to the sailboat. The sail provides a wide and flexible shute in which the wind is caught. When traveling perpandicular to the direction of the wind the sail only does half the work for the boat. Each sailboat has some sort of flat board that hangs below the boat. Since the wind is actually pushing the boat sideways, this center board provides a flat surface which counter acts the direction the wind is pushing the boat, so the boat is able to move foward under the power of the wind.

Another element to the physics behind sailing is the angle of the sail. The sail position is the most important element to getting a sailboat to move. For an experienced sailor these sail positions become second nature, but for someone whos never been out on a sailboat before the positions of the sail in regaurd to the wind can be a very confusing concept. The sail must always be perpandicular to the direction of the wind. The crew or skipper of the boat has control of the sail position, so whoever is in control can let out the sail or haul it in, which will adjust the angle between the side of the boat and the sail from any angle from 0 to 90 degrees.

Great post... tons of physics in sailing too, including one of my personal favorite topics, fluid mechanics!

i always wondered about the sail. it seems so confusing!

Didnt know sailing was this hard. I just thought you try to get the sail so it catches the wind and then you go.

Loved the diagrams, they were very helpful! Ive always wanted to learn how to sail

very cool! sailing sounds like a lot of fun and a lot of physics!

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×

The pages of APlusPhysics.com, Physics in Action podcasts, and other online media at this site are made available as a service to physics students, instructors, and others. Their use is encouraged and is free of charge. Teachers who wish to use materials either in a classroom demonstration format or as part of an interactive activity/lesson are granted permission (and encouraged) to do so. Linking to information on this site is allowed and encouraged, but content from APlusPhysics may not be made available elsewhere on the Internet without the author's written permission.

APlusPhysics.com, Silly Beagle Productions and Physics In Action materials are copyright protected and the author restricts their use to online usage through a live internet connection. Any downloading of files to other storage devices (hard drives, web servers, school servers, CDs, etc.) with the exception of Physics In Action podcast episodes is prohibited. The use of images, text and animations in other projects (including non-profit endeavors) is also prohibited. Requests for permission to use such material on other projects may be submitted in writing to info@aplusphysics.com. Licensing of the content of APlusPhysics.com for other uses may be considered in the future.

#### APlusPhysics Books

×
×
• Create New...