SailNet Community banner

1 - 20 of 29 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,613 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
193 Posts
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.

my 2 cents
John
 

·
Master Mariner
Joined
·
8,216 Posts
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.
 

·
Kynntana (Freedom 38)
Joined
·
973 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,844 Posts
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,940 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
668 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
46 Posts
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.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,613 Posts
But hubris implies some kind of flaw. I'm too good to have flaws like that. :grin

MedSailor
Sorry, Med. I did try to acknowledge the exception to the rule.

But, your reply is priceless. Deny hubris with hubris. Love it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,315 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
Perhaps I should had the 3 year old explain it to the MD that is a pediatrician,, who can then explain it to MD that is a ER doc. They are all really smart but we all have some knowledge gaps
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,468 Posts
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.
Phds are taught, in the last year of Phd school, to just smile when they really don't understand something, and everyone will just assume that they understand it.
 

·
Quirky
Joined
·
598 Posts
When someone asks me, I just start quoting scripture and tell them God has a plan for everything. When their eyes glaze over, I know I can pass around the tip jar.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
21,613 Posts
When asked how anything works on the boat, you put on your best Cap'n Ron and say, "nobody knows"
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,050 Posts
Just sailed back to R.I. From BVI. I was brain doc until recent retirement. My crew was two PhD engineers.
Most intellectually demanding thing was trying to figure out how match up the components of the pre cooked meals my wife made for us. Baffled all three of us.
It's definitely true there is no correlation between initials after your name and common sense.
Cleaned the frig/freezers when got home with the the bride. Boy did she have a laugh.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,050 Posts
If the wind is "attached" to the leeward side of the sail going upwind or reaching it's like flow through a pipe. Just like there will be negative pressure on the walls of a pipe ( or a hole in the pipe) there will be negative pressure on the leeward side of the sail when the pressure there is compared to the general atmospheric pressure.
This is because the "attached" air has to move faster than the surrounding air due to the presence of the foil.
At these that's how a brain doc understands it.:smile

Btw: trained and practiced in Boston area. Teaching appointment at Harvard. By far and away the most brilliant docs and teachers I knew were always the most humble. If you think you know it all there is little room to learn.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,722 Posts
Being an engineer, I once tried to teach my sister to drive a standard by explaining synchromesh gears and clutch plates. She's still blames me for her bad driving habits.

Just pull on the strings, and turn that wheeley thing back and forth till all the yarns on the sail point straight back.

And tell the patient take too of these and call me in the morning.

You'll be fine:grin
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,733 Posts
This kinda reminds me of the time I was riding in a car with a software engineer, and a quality control manager. As we we were coming down a hill the brakes failed.
Only by the grace of Poseidon or Zeus or Neptune did we safely reach the bottom. The quality control manager wanted to take apart the brake system, measure all the components and run metallurgic analysis to determine the failure. I being the mechanical engineer wanted to check the fluid level and pad thickness. The software engineer wanted to push the car back up the hill to see if it would fail a second time. ;)
 
1 - 20 of 29 Posts
Top