Physics of Landsailing



Physics 2







“…Science is thinking empirically about reality. Science is acquaintance, not knowledge. It can never be absolute…”

-         “Osho” Rajneesh.


Landsailing is a very demanding sport requiring exceptional skills, eye-hand-leg co-ordination of a very high caliber, dexterity, mental perspicacity and high reflexes. There are many types of Landsailing crafts of which class – 3 and class – 5 are more often used. Controlling the craft requires controlling the sail the operation of which is almost akin to normal water boat. You are required to navigate with your legs and the sail you control with a sheet rope – just pull the rope to sheet in and refrain from pulling the rope for sheeting out.. 

It has been well documented that sailboats have the potential to go faster than the accompanying wind! Land sailing crafts can reach 2 to 3 times the speed of the accompanying wind, of course, under ideal situations. Under normal wind conditions, a land sail may reach even 50 mph, but you can cruise within a safer speed of about 20 to 40 mph bracket. 

The most important aspect of land sailing is the total balance you get in relation to the center of gravity of the craft and the center of action, which should match, merge or coincide. The weight should be evenly distributed in the front, in the mid-section and the rear side. An appropriately balanced sail with that of the mast is bound to build the sail in proper shape; with a ‘twist’ that is idea. What is twist? 

The wind has force and this force makes the sail to buckle as little as shown in the figure and this buckle is known as the “twist”.

If the center of action or effect of a land sailing craft and the center of gravity are not matched or, even slightly out of balance, then the craft is apt to lose speed as there is bound to be a waste of energy in trying to invalidate out of balance. 

It is a very absorbing sport and in the USA, it is customarily sailed on the dry lakes in Nevada, in small parts of Oregon and in California, mostly the Southwestern side.


copyright 2003.