Skip to Content

Sailing Science

Book Now

The objectives of this workshop are to

  • Describe basic forces acting on a moving object
  • Explain the importance of material characteristics in manufacture
  • Apply knowledge to design and test features via an iterative process

What to expect

All of our workshops will start with a short welcome and introduction to the workshop to ensure students are aware of what to expect.

Land yachts

  • What is a land yacht?
  • Cross between a car and a boat

Properties of materials

  • What are they made of – heavy or light?
    • Fibre glass, polyester, and aluminium – things that are light and easy to make into the right shape. 
  • What will we use today? 
    • Need to be able to cut it out, bend it into shape, and it needs to be lightweight – paper/card.


  • Cut out the shape of the template 
  • Write name on yacht

Wheels, axles and bearings

  • Wheels joined by axle – can’t  just stick the axle to the card – no rotation
  • Going to use a bearing – reduces the friction
  • Cut off the bendy part of the straw and tape it to the shaded area of card template 
  • Feed the axles through the straws and attach the wheels.
  • Fold the card along the dotted lines and join the 2 pieces together with tape 

We are sailing…

  • Need a sail to catch the wind 
  • Using a fixed sail- wind coming from behind 
  • The wind pushes into the sail, that force propels the yacht forward, overcoming the friction that wants to resist the movement.
  • Design sail

Testing, testing

  • Test success of sails and then modify design if needed.

Race time!

  • Race the yachts 
    • depending on timing and teacher preferences this can take different formats, but the kids are usually keen to race


  • Recap key points
    • Material for body: light and easy to shape
    • Needed to move land yacht: wind
    • Force acting between wheels and ground: friction
    • Properties of sail: light and flexible
Back to top