The reaching strut should be used whenever your pole is forward enough that the guy would hit the shrouds. Close reaching with a chute, in otherwords. With the newer blends of lightweight high strength lines out today, you must make sure you use a strut to brevent break-down of the fibers from chafe on the shrouds. I use mine whenever the guy will be touching the uppers. Even on short distance or bouy racing. I need a full crew(7 - 8) on my older 37'' IOR boat, so it''s not a big deal. If you had fewer crew, the extra step might seem like too much work on a short course. Mine takes only a few seconds to put up and take down. Just remember those days when your guy was rubbing away on your shrouds if your heavily loaded guy parts with a bang.