Intro to Reaching in Medium Winds
Big gains can be achieved in medium air reaches on the race course. It’s important to have a gameplan based on your observations on the upwind leg and at the windward mark. Boat handling, trim and tactics come into play on the medium air reach as sailors will be fully powered up. Bearing away with leeward heel slows the boat creating a brake against a powerful sailing angle.
Sail Settings for Reaching in Medium Winds
In medium air the outhaul should be adjusted to balance power and efficiency. When the wind is towards the lower range, the outhaul can stay in the upwind setting (4-6 inches). As the wind increases, the outhaul can be eased to around 8 inches for more power. The cunningham should be completely off. The vang should be tensioned so that there is only a slight twist in the leech.
Technique for Reaching in Medium Winds
The sailor should keep their weight slightly forward in the cockpit to reduce drag caused by the transom. As the boat begins to plane the sailor’s weight should be shifted aft. The boat should be sailed flat. The daggerboard can be raised up to 8 inches. The sail should be trimmed as the boat is steered through the waves. Head down when the boat accelerates, this maximizes vmg by staying in a puff. When in a lull, heel the boat to leeward and head up for speed.