A friend's girlfriend is taking the British RYA Yachtmaster course and was confronted with a question which she could not answer, so she asked him.
He is a Master Mariner with twenty years in command of very big tankers.
He could not answer it so he asked me.
The question is:
" As you approach a windward coast, will the wind tend to veer or to back?"
This is a slightly odd question because as he says it does not tell you what the source of the wind is - is it a sea breeze or is it generated by another weather system - and it does not specify which hemisphere you are in.
Our provisional answer after half an hour on Skype is:
"It will tend to veer in the Northern hemisphere due to the combined effects of the Coriolis effect and surface friction; in the southern hemisphere it will tend to back - in both cases the effect will be to cause the wind to blow more along the coast."
Right or wrong? A lot of male prestige is riding on this...
(My friend's view is that in 280,000 tons of tanker at 13 knots you don't want to go approaching any coasts at all... )