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Float Your Boat!

The Evolution and Science of Sailing

Mark Denny

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An estimated 4.1 million people in the United States participate in recreational sailing. Yet the large library of sailing literature leaves many of them high and dry. On one side are technical guides for America’s Cup boat-builders; on the other, simplistic books for weekend sailors with little interest in science. In Float Your Boat! professional and amateur boaters alike will find intelligent and understandable answers to such questions as: What were the key innovations that made sailboats more efficient? How do you increase the speed of a boat? How do sailboats travel into the wind? Why…

An estimated 4.1 million people in the United States participate in recreational sailing. Yet the large library of sailing literature leaves many of them high and dry. On one side are technical guides for America’s Cup boat-builders; on the other, simplistic books for weekend sailors with little interest in science. In Float Your Boat! professional and amateur boaters alike will find intelligent and understandable answers to such questions as: What were the key innovations that made sailboats more efficient? How do you increase the speed of a boat? How do sailboats travel into the wind? Why are so many explanations of sailing so wrong?

Sailing enthusiast and physicist Mark Denny first traces the evolution of the sailing craft, from prehistoric coracles made of animal skins and antlers to the sailboat’s reinvention as a pleasure craft during the Industrial Revolution. He then identifies specific sailing phenomena—how wind drives modern Bermuda sloops, how torque determines stability, why hull speed exists—and provides the key physics principles behind them.

Whether you are an inquisitive landlubber who has never set foot in a boat, a casual weekend sailor, or an old salt who lives for the sea, Float Your Boat! is an accessible guide to the physics of sailing.

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Float Your Boat!

Mark Denny

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Reviews

Reviews

Intelligent and understandable explanations of the physics of sailing... If you want to sound smart the next time you try explaining sailing to someone, read this book!

Armed with a PhD in physics, Denny fills a gap by addressing the evolution of this ancient means of transportation and the science that has affected its development... this book will appeal to those interested in the history and/or physics of sailing.

A light-hearted yet informative look at the physics of sailing ships... Clearly, the connections between physics and sailing run deep; as Denny points out, even Einstein was an avid weekend sailor.

So comprehensive is Denny's narrative that it revisits prehistoric coracles made of animal skins and antlers before fast-forwarding to the Industrial Revolution.

Denny's book is an entertaining read for any sailor, or any armchair physicist for that matter.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
280
ISBN
9780801890093
Illustration Description
93 halftones, 18 line drawings
Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Evolution: From Prehistory to the Age of Sail
2. Analysis: Square-Rigged Ship Motion
3. Evolution: From the Age of Sail to the Modern Yacht
4. Analysis: Fore-and-Aft Boat

Acknowledgments
Introduction
1. Evolution: From Prehistory to the Age of Sail
2. Analysis: Square-Rigged Ship Motion
3. Evolution: From the Age of Sail to the Modern Yacht
4. Analysis: Fore-and-Aft Boat Motion—Introducing Lift and Drag
5. A Lot of Torque
6. Flying through Water
7. Windsurfing
Appendix: Lifting the Veil
Notes
Glossary
Additional Readings
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Mark Denny, Ph.D.

Mark Denny is a theoretical physicist who has worked in academia and industry. He is the author of numerous books, including Lights On! The Science of Power Generation, Making Sense of Weather and Climate: The Science behind the Forecasts, and Making the Most of the Anthropocene: Facing the Future.
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