Tips on how to reach from Tokyo 2020 sailors

Nikki Barnes and Lara Dallman-Weiss will be representing Team USA when they race their 470 at the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. They share some tips on how to reach like a champion.

When reaching, it is a delicate dance of power and speed requiring precise steering, trimming and body movements at the correct time to achieve maximum speed without losing the height.  Balance and stability equal speed, if the boat isn’t fast, make changes and see how the boat reacts. 


  • Steering with too much power – slowly steer down to keep acceleration up without over-heeling and stopping/tripping the boat 
  • Steering with too little power – when power feels like dropping off slowly steer the boat back up to get that power back into the boat while gaining height to windward. 


  • This is primarily controlled through the controls; main trim, leech tension, vang, and the other de-powering tools -minimise movements of the mainsail 
  • Most important is vang, centerboard and boom position after setting the other controls at a good average (ie: if its breeze on, you don’t need to keep adjusting the Cunningham because these other controls have more of an effect) 
  • Get the centerboard to a good spot where you can feel the boat tracking through the water well (Not sliding sideways), but not stuck on the water and unable to plane (board too low). 
  • When the heel of the boat is at the sweet spot where the boat is stable, and the adjustments are small while maintaining high speed, then you know you are in the right spot. 

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