I just wanted to give a general "Thanks" to the contributors of this thread - I've learned a lot by just reading it. Being boatless, it's hard to put the information into practice, but I enjoy learning the theory behind actions.
Also, SHNOOL, your tagline has me looking at C25's now
Yes, it has been very helpful, I agree. So I went out a week ago on my own, 33-footer, full main and a #2 in a bit under 10 knots of wind, and got the boat humming, close-hauled. I'm not sure it was fast - in the 5.0 to 5.5 knot range - but all of the ticklers were doing their thing, no backwinding, etc.
And fast does matter! (And bearing off a bit is fast! "If in doubt, let it out!" "Keep 'er full and footin', boys!")
But the problem is to get the crew to do it. With our short-leg races, it really means training them to make many adjustments quickly and with minimal supervision.
I obviously can't race alone because by the time I get the boat all set up I would be at the next mark.
Thanks again to all.