Posted by: Dan Sprague | July 25, 2012

Sailing: Apparent Wind and True Wind

Sailing: Apparent Wind and True Wind
When you are sailing you adjust your sails to use and get power from the wind to move the boat. The strength and direction of the wind when you are stopped is the true wind. The wind when the boat starts to move is what is called the apparent wind and what the boat actually sails in.

If you are standing and there is no wind, you feel no air moving past you. When you start walking you can feel air move past you, you create your own air moving past you. Now if there is a 2 mph wind, and you face it you can feel the wind. If you walk in to the wind at 1 mph, the wind you would feel is a wind of 3 mph. If you turn around and walk away from the wind at 1 mph the wind you would feel would be only 1 mph on the back of your head. Thus, the strength of the wind changes when you move.

The direction of the wind also seems to change if you move side to side. An example, if the wind is out of the north and you walk to the east, your side motion makes the direction of the wind that you feel hitting you come from an angle that is from the north east, not just from the north.

The same phenomenon occurs when you are sailing. When the boat is moving, the wind the boat sails with is what is apparent to the boat while the boat is moving. The apparent wind is what you sail in.

The apparent wind is the wind that the tell-tales and the masthead fly. Your tell-tales give you the wind direction you need to get the most out of the wind you have. It is nice when it is simple to get information you need from such a simple tool. ğŸ˜Ž

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