from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- Nautical, to shoot ahead, as a sailing vessel during the evolution of tacking.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
That we were gradually overhauling the chase was evident from the fact that we were slowly raising her, while she was unable to head-reach upon us; and at sunset we could see the foot of her topsail from the deck while she had not altered her bearing from us by so much as a quarter point since we had last hauled our wind.
When we again had time to take a glance to leeward at the "Vigilant," we discovered that well-named craft bowling along under whole canvas, and evidently trying her hardest to head-reach upon us.
When almost within head-reach of the fastenings by which the mules are held, one of the latter slews suddenly round, and sends her heels in a well-directed fling against the head of the foremost horse!