Glenbrook South Year-End Projects

The Physics of Sailboating

Project Information Sheet


Your project involves conducting laboratory and library research on the physics of buoyancy and sail boating. You will determine variables that affect buoyant forces along with factors involved in controlling the speed and direction of sailboats.


By the end of this project, you should be able to:


Your teacher will provide:


The student is responsible for:


Some KEYWORDS to use in a literature search:

Buoyancy Nautical

"Archimedes' Principle" AND Physics


Sailing AND Physics Drag

"Wind Power" Knots

Water Drag

Port AND Stern AND Bow

Sailboating Components

Wind Resistance


Internet Resources

Collaboration Ideas


IMC RESOURCES (placed on reserve):


General Information:

How the World Works

500 REN

Experimenting with Science

507.8 GAR

Foundations of Modern Physics

530 HOL

How Things Work

530 CRA

Physics Projects for young...

530 GOO

Adventures in Physics

530 HIG

A Source Book in Physics

530 M

The Story of Physics

530 MOT

The Project Physics course

530 RUT

Phenomenal Physics

530 SWA

The complete Guide to...

797.1 EVA


Detailed Information about your specific topic:

How Things Work

530 CRA

The Symmetry of Sailing: The Physics of Sailing

530.1 MER

Sailing Knots

623.88 ALT

Learning to Sail: The Annapolis Sailing Guide

797.1 GOD

Sailing School

797.1 SCH

Sailing: An Informal Primer

797.1 ULI

Between Wind and Water

917.41 BRA


Other IMC RESOURCES (not placed on reserve)

Science and physics encyclopedias and reference materials

CD-ROMs (particularly the "How Things Work" CD-ROMs)



The folder (mentioned above) will be a very useful resource for technical information. The Internet contains much information about both buoyancy and the physics of sailing. The encyclopedias, reference materials, and CD-ROMs are also very useful. "The Way Things Work" CD-ROM is useful and should be used. Quickly determine what is meant by buoyant force and Archimedes' Principle and how it can be studied using force probes, boats and water. You will also want to quickly become familiar with how a sail provides an applied force to your boat and how the force probe and fan can be used to determine effects of the fan speed and sail on force applied to the boat.

Return to:

The Physics of Sailboating Project

Project Home Page

Sailboating Project

Sailboating Links

Basic Research Qs

Collabor'n Ideas

The Lab Report

Project Pitfalls

Scoring Rubrics

Project Timeline

Other GBS Resources

GBS Physics Page

Physics 163 Page

Physics Projects Home Page

The Refrigerator

The Physics Classroom

Multimedia Physics Studios

The GBS Physics staff invite you to send electronic mail:

Tom Henderson

Howard Jenewein

John Lewis

Neil Schmidgall

Dave Smith

Suzanne Webb

Brian Wegley

Questions and comments can be sent to Tom Henderson.

This page last updated on 4/16/98.