This 5-minute video explains how modern sailboats move forward by generating lift. The video explores the aerodynamic forces generated by two parts of the sailboat: the sails and the keel. These forces, when properly adjusted by the sailor, counteract each other to generate forward movement.
Editor's Note: Old World sailboats relied on wind to push them forward. Modern sailboats are much more complicated, and offer a great opportunity to explore Bernoulli's Principle, lift, and drag. See Related Materials for a teaching module on the physics of sailing and an article from "Physics Central" that explains how to sail faster than the wind speed.
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Metadata instance created
October 1, 2011
by Caroline Hall
October 11, 2015
by Caroline Hall
Last Update when Cataloged:
September 30, 2010
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
8. The Designed World
8B. Materials and Manufacturing
9-12: 8B/H1. Manufacturing processes have been changed by improved tools and techniques based on more thorough scientific understanding, increases in the forces that can be applied and the temperatures that can be reached, and the availability of electronic controls that make operations occur more rapidly and consistently.
PBS Learning Media: The Physics of Sailing. (2010, September 30). Retrieved April 23, 2017, from KQED Public Media: http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/kqed09.sci.phys.maf.kqedsailing/the-physics-of-sailing/
KQED Public Media. PBS Learning Media: The Physics of Sailing. San Francisco: KQED Public Media, September 30, 2010. http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/kqed09.sci.phys.maf.kqedsailing/the-physics-of-sailing/ (accessed 23 April 2017).
PBS Learning Media: The Physics of Sailing. San Francisco: KQED Public Media, 2004. 30 Sep. 2010. 23 Apr. 2017 <http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/kqed09.sci.phys.maf.kqedsailing/the-physics-of-sailing/>.
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%0 Electronic Source %D September 30, 2010 %T PBS Learning Media: The Physics of Sailing %I KQED Public Media %V 2017 %N 23 April 2017 %8 September 30, 2010 %9 video/quicktime %U http://www.pbslearningmedia.org/resource/kqed09.sci.phys.maf.kqedsailing/the-physics-of-sailing/
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