Intro

Reaching can be one of the most fun and exciting points of sail on a laser. There are big gains to be had for those who can master the reach.

Sail

In light air the outhaul setting for a reach should be the same as the upwind or slightly tighter. The cunningham should be completely eased. This creates a smooth entry at the luff of the sail. The vang should be set to bend the mast and ensure that the sail is not overly full. If the vang is loose, the sail will be too full causing drag. If the vang is too tight the leech will become hooked. It is generally better to use more vang to flatten the luff of the sail even if the leech becomes slightly hooked.

Technique

The sailor should keep their weight forward in the cockpit to keep the transom out of the water. A slight leeward heel will help keep the sail full. The daggerboard can be raised as much as 6 inches. All movements should be smooth and fluid. As boat speed increases bear away slightly and sail a lower course. As the boat slows, head up to build speed.