Heavy weather sailing
Jeff I agree with everything you''ve said. There is a question in todays Sailnet on Sailtrim for excessive winds in which the expert (Don Dickson) advocates doing what you are saying but also inducing twist as a temporary measure.
"Ask yourself beforehand, is the halyard tight enough? Is the outhaul taut and the cunningham tight? How about the vang? If the vang is tight on this point of sail, you can relieve a lot of the pressure on the upper leech of the mainsail by easing the vang tension just before the force of the puffs hit. Of course start by easing the sheets and then use the vang. It''s sort of a secondary control for these instances, but very effective if the wind is strong enough to overpower the amount of sail you have up."
Not that I agree or disagree as you mentioned previuosly with the "Fisherman''s Reef"...Just wanted to bring up the point. I really think it depends on your boat. Everyone boat handles a little bit different.