Explaining lift

April 7, 2012 § 1 Comment

Wind Tunnel

I enjoy volunteering to teach sailing classes in the winter months at the Milwaukee Community Sailing Center. Last Thursday was Sail Trim Theory 101.

I’ve tried many ways to explain”lift” in a classroom setting, like imagining the feeling of making a wing with your hand out the passenger window of a fast-moving car…

A friend (Mark Waltz – who sails on the venerable Golden Goose) suggested an iPad App call Wind Tunnel ($1.99), and we tried it this time. It seemed to work well. You can see pressure and speed and particles in the abstract. It’s easier to demonstrate angle of attack, the stall, and the effects of too much or too little camber in a sail.

The big bonus, I think, is that while the load and drag calculations are relative not real, they do offer a rich visual and numeric way to show and think about how a main and jib sail are better than just a main or jib sail.

Thanks to everyone who came to class this week. Hope to see you at the Advanced Class (201), this Thursday, at 6pm at MCSC.

Here are the slides from 101, for anyone interested.

Sail Trim Theory 101

Sail Trim Theory 101

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