Re: Sailing Brain Teaser -- THE ANSWER
Sat, 22 May 1999 02:23:58 EDT

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West Wight Potter Website at URL
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Sailor #2 has the fastest time over the course, in dead calm winds, with a 2
knot current.

Several people got the right answer. Dave Kautz was the first (about an hour
after the teaser was posted) , and Eric Pedersen was second (about 12 hours
later) However, using a corrected time (to account for Eric's being
offline), I'd say it was a tie.

Honorable mentions to Harry Gordon who answered correctly after seeing other
folks' answers (right and wrong) and my big hint (the story about sailing on
apparent wind).

Dave Kautz wrote one of the clearest explanations, so I'll let you read it.

In a message dated 5/20/99 11:34:06 PM Pacific Daylight Time, TillyLucy

> I'll go with sailor #2.
> Sailor #1, if he is drifting at the same speed as the current has an
> apparent wind of Zero. Carrying sail serves no purpose. Sailor #2, on the
> other hand, is being carried by the current through still air developing an
> apparent wind of 2 kts. If he/she carries sail, some lift will be generated
> which will give them the edge.

Actually, not only is Sailor #1 slower, but he's got a serious problem. No
tiller. Can't steer.

Since he's moving exactly the same speed as the current, he has no
steerageway. He really has no option but to fire up the iron sail or else
bump into the river bank sooner or later. Eddies at the bends in the river
force him to start the motor or damage his hull....

Here's the brain teaser again:

Two sailors have a bet. Every time they race their almost identical boats
they finish practically neck and neck They want to want to settle once and
for all who is the better sailor. So they settle on the following contest

The first weekend Sailor #1 will sail from point A to point B on the river
using one of the boats. The next weekend, Sailor #2 will use the same boat
and sail the same course. The sailor with the fastest elapsed time wins.

The first weekend, there is a two knot current and a 2 knot wind going from
Point A to Point B. Sailor #1 is sailing downstream and downwind.

The second weekend, there is the same two knot current but the wind is
absolutely dead. Sailor #2 is sailing downstream from point A to point B.

Who is going to win the race if the sailors truly are equally skilled and the
boat is exactly the same from one weekend to the next?
Hope you all enjoyed it.