V- I'm not arguing with the option as there are hundreds of years of hank on history...just the characterization of furlers as less reliable. You will note that Ellen's staysail is also on a furler. For most...the reliability of a furler outweighs the safety issue of needing to go forward in bad weather to deal with sails. The question it seems to me is: Am I more likely to get into trouble at sea if my furler doesn't work or if I MUST go on deck to change sails in 30 knots of wind and 8-10ft. seas....and what are the odds.
In the context of the original post...a remain baffled by a decision to eliminate a furler for safety yet compromise a backstay for communications.
(I have a "compromised" backstay 'cause I didn't know the alternatives...but at least I have a spare! (split backstay)).