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River Science: Wind Speed

Of all the weather phenomena our students study, the speed and direction of the wind have the most immediate effects on our ship. Not surprising, considered that the Half Moon is a sailing vessel! In 1609, Hudson's progress along the narrow river was often at the mercy of favorable winds.

We use hand-held anemometers to accurately measure the wind's speed. As the wind blows through and spins an anemometer's fan, the electronic instrument records the wind's highest and average speeds.

Mouse over to blow.
The American flag flaps in the wind.

On this Voyage of Discovery, we measured wind speed for the Deck Log. When we study wind speed in depth for research projects, we often simultaneously compare wind speeds on deck and at the mast tops. Our findings during these experiments indicate that the wind is consistently stronger at higher elevations.

This would have come as no surprise to the shipwrights who constructed the original Half Moon in 1608; after all, top sails are desined specifically to harness those higher, more powerful gusts.

Sadly for our sailing experiences, the only day we encountered strong winds during our Voyage of Discovery also happened to be the day of our data collection layover, when we remained at anchor at Grave's End Bay.

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