For many employees at Alden, fluid dynamics is part of their life outside the office--in the sports they choose for their free time.  In many cases, a sport was what came first and later helped inform a career choice in fluids and fluid flow.  This ongoing series will feature some of the various and unique ways our employees spend some of their non-working hours and how CFD and fluid flow analysis is being used to improve techniques used in those sports.

Part II: Sailing - Kimbal & Becca Hall

Sailing is all about using fluid dynamic forces to propel and control a boat.  There is the fluid dynamics of the water against the rudder and the keel or centerboard, which allows the skipper to steer the boat and and to sail upwind.  Then there is the aerodynamics of the wind against the sails, and maximizing the lift on the sails.  As with an airplane, balancing the fluid dynamics forces is a key element to boat design and making a boat responsive and easily controllable.

At least two current Alden employees enjoy sailing as a hobby.  

Kimbal Hall learned to sail from his father. He was fueled by the spirit of competition, ending up on the sailing team at Tufts University, and even sailing in the 2000 Olympic trials in his day.  Kimbal met Becca (also an Alden employee) during their senior year at Tufts, and after college they started sailing together.  Now they share a sailboat on Narragansett Bay with Kimbal’s father, where they do some light racing and family cruising.


Kimbal and Becca racing on the Columbia River (#2278, top) and sailing with their kids (bottom).

Some of the interesting fluid dynamics of sailing can be visualized in this computational fluid dynamics (CFD) video of an America’s Cup Yacht.  The included effects are wind, relative current, and waves.

With the America’s Cup competition coming up in Bermuda, Kimbal looks forward to covering associated CFD and design work in more detail as part of a future blog post.

Remember to send us links of your own fluid dynamics hobbies!