1 The point of sailing of a vessel which can point its course with the wind reasonably free and its sails full. A broad reach is the same but with the wind abeam or from slightly abaft the beam. For illus. see points of sailing. It can also be used as a verb.
2 A straight, or nearly straight, stretch of a navigable river or estuary. Thus a vessel coming up the River Thames will, after passing Tilbury, navigate through Long Reach, Erith Reach, Halfway Reach, Barking Reach, Gallion's Reach, Woolwich Reach, and Limehouse Reach.
3 As a verb, the act of sailing a vessel with the sails full and the wind free. A sailing vessel which overtakes another is sometimes said to reach ahead of her. It was also a word used to describe a sailing vessel when she was standing off and on, waiting perhaps to pick up a pilot or for some other purposes. See also fore-reach.