I just got back from a weekend playing Tron. I mean, sailing.

Posted by | January 16, 2006 | General | No Comments

I only saw the movie Tron (1982) for the first time a few years ago. I’m sure it’s famous for only one reason: it was the first movie to use computer generated graphics. I certainly don’t remember it for the great script.

This weekend while sailing at the lake I was reminded of the Tron movie when I watched how the boats crossed paths like they do in the Tron race scene. Everything happens at sharp angles in sailing as you have to work your way at a beat, a reach, or a run to wherever you want to go. In this case, it was a race, so we all had the same goal — to get to the finish line!

All of the boats pretty much go in the same direction except when one boat wants to cut across and get to another part of the lake. Often to find better wind or to see if their path is faster.

In sailing you can’t sail directly into the wind, and just like in Tron you have to make multiple criss crossing paths until you reach your next waypoint. When two boats intersect it can be an interesting situation and you can have some close calls. Unlike Tron, there are rules that govern these situations and nobody dies. Whoever is on “starboard” has the right of way in sailing (and that’s always one boat, never two).

So there you go. A scientific analysis of the similarities between Tron and sailing!