Broad Beam Reach is defined as a heading of about 67.5° either to the left or to the right of the direction in which the wind is blowing.
Broad Beam Reach can be used to describe the heading of a ship - I.E. the ship is heading ~67.5° off to either side of the wind's direction.
It can also be used to describe the position of an object relative to the ship. For example, if an enemy ship is at Broad Beam Reach, we must turn ~67.5° off the wind's direction in order to head directly towards it.
If the wind is blowing from east to west, as occurs often in the Caribbean, Broad Beam Reach would be both North North West (NNW) and South South West (SSW). Of course, since wind direction tends to change, the direction of Broad Beam Reach changes with it. It will always be 67.5° off the wind's current direction, whereever the wind is heading at the time.
For the most part, all ships can continue moving when heading at Broad Beam Reach. Square Rigged ships will normally slow down somewhat when heading in this direction, while Fore-And-Aft Rigged ships will often sail very well in this direction.
The Pinnace normally achieves its best speed when heading in this direction. No other ship will match its speed when traveling thusly.
Barques are also quite adept at sailing in this direction, though their maximum speed is slightly lower than that of a Pinnace to begin with. Nonetheless, they will sail fastest when heading at Broad Beam Reach.
Sloops may find that they sail faster towards Broad Reach, but will still develop a very good speed when heading towards Broad Beam Reach.
All Square Rigged ships will have reduced speed when sailing towards Broad Beam Reach, unless the wind is strong. Nonetheless, they will continue sailing forward (barring extensive damage) when heading in this direction. Square Rigged ships normally prefer sailing at less acute angles, such as Running Broad Reach.
Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004)Edit
In Sid Meier's Pirates! (2004), most ships will have somewhat reduced speed when sailing at Broad Beam Reach. While Brig Class and especially Barque Class can still develop good speed at this angle, they will sail much faster at the less-acute Broad Reach.
On the other hand, Sloop Class ships will reach their maximum speed at Broad Beam Reach. They will also do well at other similar angles, from Broad Reach to Beam Reach but Broad Beam Reach is their absolute favourite.Pinnace Class ships will also develop their maximum speed somewhere between Broad Beam Reach and Beam Reach. Thanks to their small size, they will also accelerate to this maximum speed very rapidly once they start heading in this direction. On the lowest Difficulty setting, with a highly Upgraded ship and favourably-strong wind, a Pinnace-class vessel can sometimes reach 20 knots - which is quite fast.
All Square Rigged ships will have reduced speed when sailing at Broad Beam Reach. The largest ships, such as the Merchant Galleon Class, will sail very slowly at this direction even in strong winds. Other large ships may maintain an average speed of less than 10 knots, even in favourable conditions.