True and Apparent Wind and How They Affect Boating

True and Apparent Wind pic

True and Apparent Wind
Image: nauticed.org

Oregon native Cody Gotchall studies at Linn-Benton Community College through the institution’s iLearn program. He also volunteers at various local organizations and has held various positions relating to yard and animal care. In his free time, Cody Gotchall enjoys boating.

There are two types of wind that sailors must familiarize themselves with: true wind and apparent wind.

True wind is the wind that a person feels while stationary. Weather forecasts report on the speed and direction of true wind, and this type of wind affects how water moves in the ocean or on a lake.

Meanwhile, apparent wind is a combination of true wind and the wind generated by movement. For example, a person riding a bike feels wind in his face regardless of the direction or presence of true wind. The wind felt is the apparent wind. Sailors feel this wind while their boat is moving.

Sailors need to understand true and apparent wind because it affects how their boats move. When a boat sails with the true wind behind it, it will move more slowly because the apparent wind speed has decreased. However, boats sailing with the true wind in front of them or to their sides generate more apparent wind speed, which helps the vessels move faster.

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