Re: handling gusts
I think also depends on how big of a puff you're getting hit by (hopefully, you're anticipating it) it's direction (header or lifter) and really what kind of boat. The old "ease-hike-trim" comes back to mind from dingy days as well, but I don't recall doing anything other than maintaining course- even in 420's- in fact, in those- you'd take advantage if you were getting lifted, of course. In our Olson, I'll frequently leave the genoa (or jib) alone and depower with the backstay (which does a more remarkable job than just about any boat I've sailed), and if that's not enough- drop the traveler, then the mainsheet, then hike, then trim back in and ease back off the backstay. If it's expected to do much more, then the jib needs to be eased at the same time- especially if we're racing, and never footing or pinching (unless it's really blowing). Pinching kills our speed- I've learned that on the hard way...