Physics Q: Two people tug at ropes tied to a boat..?

Please help me understand how this problem is solved.

Question: There are two people, X and Y, standing at opposite sides of a canal. Each holds a rope tied to a differenr part of the same boat (see picture). If they pull their ropes at the same time with equal force, which way will the boat point: A, B, C, or D?

NOTE: No numbers/measurements are given. X and Y are standing directly across from each other on opposite sides of the canal.

Thank you for any feedback!

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2 Answers

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    Without angles or measurements, you can't be 100% certain.

    That said how ever, I think the direction the boat will face is towards B.

    Here's why:

    When X pulls on the boat, the boat wants to turn towards A - the most vertical upright position.

    When Y pulls on the boat, the boat wants to move forward slightly, and point down towards D.

    But since X and Y are both pulling with unequal vectors (force with a direction, not to be confused with unequal force), The boat will be turned up slightly, since X is pulling up more than Y. Y is also pulling down on the boat. But since Y is angled forward, not all the force is pulling the boat down, thus the boat will point slightly higher than the horizontal position (C).

    In short, the forces average out, and since X pulls up more than Y, the boat will tend more towards X.

    So the final direction is towards B.

  • 5 years ago

    This is not a well written problem. The unbalanced constantly applied force vectors would cause the boat to spin, not just "point." You should use vector addition though... Draw the vector Y from the end of X and then draw a line from the beginning of X to the end of Y and see which line matches up.

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