PhysicsLAB CP Workbook
Sailboats: A Vector Application

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Refer to the following information for the next three questions.

Group #1: The sketch shows a top view of a small railroad car pulled by a rope. The force F that the rope exerts on the car has one component along the track, and another component perpendicular to the track.
Sketch these components on a piece of paper. Which component is larger? 

Which component produces acceleration? 

What would be the effect of pulling on the rope if it were perpendicular to the track? 

Refer to the following information for the next three questions.

Group #2: The sketches below represent simplified top views of sailboats in a cross-wind direction. The impact of the wind produces a FORCE vector on each as shown. (We do NOT consider velocity vectors here!)
Why is the position of the sail above useless for propelling the boat along its forward direction? 

Sketch the component of force parallel to the direction of the boat's motion (along its keel), and the component perpendicular to its motion. Will the boat now move in a forward direction? 

The boat shown above is oriented at an angle into the wind. On a sheet of paper, draw the force vector and its forward and perpendicular components. Will the boat move in a forward direction and tack into the wind? Why or why not? 

Refer to the following information for the next four questions.

The sketch below is a top view of five identical sailboats. Where they exist, draw force vectors to represent wind impact on the sails. Then draw components parallel and perpendicular to the keels of each boat.
Which boat will sail the fastest in a forward direction? 

Which will respond least to the wind? 

Which will move in a backward direction? 

Which will experience less and less wind impact with increasing speed? 

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