Least time for boat to cross (theory)

In summary, the most efficient way to cross a river with a current is to point the boat directly at the opposite shore. This is because the only thing that affects the time it takes to cross is the speed of the boat, regardless of the downstream or upstream rate. Considering the reference frame of the ground, the river's effect would be to propel the boat at a constant speed through the water. To maximize the velocity component relative to the ground, one would need to consider the velocity vector in the water's rest frame and find the corresponding component in the ground's frame while ensuring the overall velocity remains constant.
  • #1
a lone fishy
20
1

Homework Statement


[/B]
To cross a river with a current (flowing downstream) in the least amount of time, a boat should point

a) directly at the opposite shore
b) somewhat upstream
c) somewhat downstream
d) in a direction that will take the boat directly across
e) downstream

Homework Equations

The Attempt at a Solution


[/B]
I am aware that the only thing that affects time is the speed of the boat. I know E is wrong as well as D. I believe B and C are the same in terms of going upstream/downstream doesn't affect time. So i believe the answer could possibly be A

 
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  • #2
So do I - it is easy to get distracted by other things you imagine you want, like shortest distance, or getting where you want but all that matters is your across rate, no matter what your down or upstream rate is.
 
  • #3
what would B and C affect? Does it only affect how far down the river you go?
 
  • #4
a lone fishy said:
what would B and C affect? Does it only affect how far down the river you go?
Consider it in the reference frame of the water.
 
  • #5
I would consider it in the reference frame of the ground. What ground effect does the river have?
 
  • #6
a lone fishy said:
what would B and C affect? Does it only affect how far down the river you go?
Getting very warm ...
 
  • #7
rude man said:
I would consider it in the reference frame of the ground. What ground effect does the river have?

Your outboard motor propels the boat through the water at a constant, given speed with respect to the water the boat is floating in---that is, relative to the rest-frame of the water. For a given velocity vector (vx,vy) in the water's rest frame (where x = up/downstream direction and y = across/back direction), what is the ky-component (Vy) of velocity relative to the ground? How would you maximize Vy, subject to sqrt(vx^2 + vy^2) =constant? [Note, vy and Vy are different symbols.]
 

Related to Least time for boat to cross (theory)

1. What is the principle of least time in boat crossing?

The principle of least time in boat crossing is a physical law that states that light travels the shortest path between two points in the least amount of time. This principle can also be applied to other forms of energy and motion, such as a boat crossing a body of water.

2. How does the principle of least time affect the path of a boat crossing a river?

The principle of least time affects the path of a boat crossing a river by influencing the direction in which the boat should travel to minimize the time it takes to reach the other side. This means that the boat will take a diagonal path across the river, rather than a straight line, in order to reach the other side in the shortest amount of time.

3. What factors influence the least time for a boat to cross a river?

The least time for a boat to cross a river is influenced by several factors, including the speed of the boat, the width of the river, and the strength of the current. Additionally, the angle at which the boat enters the river and the presence of any obstacles can also affect the least time for the boat to cross.

4. How is the least time for a boat to cross calculated?

The least time for a boat to cross is calculated by using the principle of least time, which involves finding the path that minimizes the overall time taken to cross. This can be done using mathematical equations and principles, such as Snell's Law and Fermat's Principle, to determine the optimal path for the boat to take.

5. Is the principle of least time applicable to all forms of motion?

Yes, the principle of least time is applicable to all forms of motion, including boat crossing a river. This principle is a fundamental law of physics that can be applied to various scenarios involving the movement of energy and matter, making it a crucial concept in many scientific fields.

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