Reaching Theory

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Reaching is a comfortable and enjoyable angle of sailing for many sailors. In the right conditions and with a good setup you can easily get the laser up on the plane and moving across the water quickly.

Reaching Theory – Forces on the sail

Reaching is basically an extension of upwind sailing. As in the diagram below the wind is coming from roughly 90° to the boat, the sail is eased out to create a nice flow of air over both sides of the sail, meaning that the forwards force is increased, and hence the boat can potentially go faster.

Due to the fact that the sideways force is now smaller relative to the forwards force, sideways slippage will be reduced. Some sailors opt to raise the fin about ½ way to create less drag through the water, and hence go faster.

Forces on a boat when reaching

Forces on a boat when reaching

 

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