Reaching is a point of sail, a heading based on your angle to the wind as opposed to a compass-oriented direction. A beam reach is when you are sailing 90º to the wind, a close reach is about 70º to the wind, and a broad reach is about 110º or so to the wind (yes, there’s also a joke about men, women and behavior here, but I’ll pass on it…). Closer to the wind is called pointing or beating (because in heavy weather you DO take a beating), and further off the wind is called running. A reach is the fastest, most comfortable, and most enjoyable way to sail, hence the sailor-type term “life should be a reach”. On the other hand, being “in irons” is what happens if you head directly into the wind, where no forward progress can be found. It’s also what can happen if you unsuccessfully attempt that other kind of broad reach, if you get my, um, drift. No forward progress to be found there, either!
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