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post #1 of 29 Old 06-18-2015 Thread Starter
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Sailing with excess brain power

I was sailing earlier this week with 2 MD's, an engineer and a PhD, all relatives. The MD's had a hard time understanding the engineer explain how the sail and keel interact, I tried to simplify what the engineer was explaining, and the PhD an experienced sailor just found it all very amusing.

We had a very good sail but back at the dock the MD's still could not understand how we can sail into the wind, even when the engineer pointed out the wings on aircraft flying over us.

Previously my 3 year old nephew was at the tiller (I was also lightly holding it), He understood the concept and explained it very clearly to his mother later that day.
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post #2 of 29 Old 06-18-2015
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Re: Sailing with excess brain power

The common problem with docs is that they often believe what they know (how to save lives) trumps what they don't know.

There are a few private aircraft, morbidly called 'doctor killers'. Too often an MD has the money to get into one, but either not the understanding, or the patience, or maybe the time to learn how to fly them properly.

Can't paint them all with the same brush, I know several excellent pilots that are docs. But hubris reins among the population.


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post #3 of 29 Old 06-18-2015
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Re: Sailing with excess brain power

Interesting, We all have preconceived notions of intelligence based on degrees and titles and sometimes it's true. My guess is if the Doc was trying to explain heart surgery to the engineer the same conversation of confusion would take place.
One of the many things I've learned is to know your audience. If one assumes a doc would understand terms like lift, drag and Center of effort they may be wrong and the doc may have preconceived notions that are exact opposite of what the eng is telling him. The three year old is easy, no notions, just a thirst for learning.

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post #4 of 29 Old 06-18-2015
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Re: Sailing with excess brain power

Very simply, I was taught that the sails captured the force of the wind drove the hull into the water with an almost direct vertical pressure. The buoyancy and shape of the hull then forced the boat against this pressure pushing her ahead.
This actually makes much more sense to me as the actual distance across the front and back sides of the sail cloth are but that layer of cloth different, not at all like the wing of an airplane which actually has a distance difference.
There are lots of other factors at work, of course, but simply put; push a cork into the water and let go. Up it pops. Shape that cork and do the same and it pops up in a direction (forward). Continue shaping and it will pop up faster.
Perhaps your MDs might understand this.

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post #5 of 29 Old 06-18-2015
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Re: Sailing with excess brain power

It's probably because the concept is physics and fluid dynamics, so once you get through the basic class in college (which was not all that intuitive to me either as a biologist) then a doc never has to tough that stuff again. Try Googling 'the physics of sailing." It might help them to see the graphics.
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post #6 of 29 Old 06-18-2015
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Re: Sailing with excess brain power

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Re: Sailing with excess brain power

Why do we assume that the MDs were thickheaded and the engineer was giving a perfectly good explanation and the sailor-PhD really truly understood what is going on? Plenty of hubris to go around, it seems to me.

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Re: Sailing with excess brain power

Having raced for a few years with a crew that consisted of a neurosurgeon, a pancreatic surgeon, a dentist and a couple of engineers I can safely say we all have our moments of idiocy.
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post #9 of 29 Old 06-18-2015
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Re: Sailing with excess brain power

Quote:
Originally Posted by Minnewaska View Post
But hubris reins among the population.
But hubris implies some kind of flaw. I'm too good to have flaws like that.

MedSailor
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post #10 of 29 Old 06-18-2015
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Re: Sailing with excess brain power

Maybe someone was over explaining it? I have found "The sails create force that is roughly perpendicular to their plane. The keel and the rudder makes sure the boat only travels in a forward direction and doesn't slip sideways" is sufficient. Just become someone is a doctor of medicine doesn't mean they need a doctoral level physics explanation of Bernoulli's Principle.
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