Join Date: Oct 2002
Location: Phuket, Thailand
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Re: Physics of Sailing
An airplane wing stalls when it looses its lift. So, from that perspective a sail luffing is a good analogy. But your right that an airplane wing looses it's lift due to insufficient wind speed over it's leading edge which is not what a sail does. Most sails, unlike airplane wings, are not rigid so it's a challenge to compare the two in all circumstances.
Actually sort of backwards. An airplane wing or rotor blade will lose lift when it stalls. However I can make an airplane wing lose lift or a rotor blade lose lift just by unloading (think reducing angle of attack) without stalling. Also stalling is not a direct function of indicated (actually it is calibrated) airspeed. The stall angle can be exceeded at any
airspeed (within the aircraft structural limits of course).' Google acccelerated/high speed stall. I am sure the pictures they can draw you will far exceed my poor grasp at math. It is all about the exceeding the critical angle of attack gentlemen, not about speed. Remember you can change the critical angle of attack somewhat by changing wing shape such as adding leading, trailing edge devices such as slats and flaps. The sail is a wing.
Part time PADI instructor, part time sailor. Full time having a blast.
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Last edited by jerryrlitton; 02-16-2015 at 07:46 AM.