Thanks for all the great suggestions!
The short yellow lines in the diamond patches are going to have to stay, unfortunately. The sail bags out, and hangs in front of the helmsman something fierce. DIY lazyjacks are going to be part of the up-the-mast project we'll be doing at the end of the month, and should help with that. I know there can't be any tension on them - hence the extra concern at getting the reef point closer to the boom.
The grommet about 6 inches up from the natural clew is what we use as a cunningham - that's where the line normally threads through (it's tied with a bowline to a fairlead on the port side of the mast, up and through the grommet, back down to the base of the mast now on the starboard side, where there's a sheave which redirects it to a cam cleat in the cockpit. To "transform" it into a reefing line - remember this was out of desperation, facing high winds and heavy seas - I untie the bowline, rethread it through the reefing point, and reattach the line to the fairlead)
We haven't bothered to remove the pin when we douse the main, so all slides are always above the pin. It all fits under the cover as is, even if the first few flakes are a bit wonky. I don't want to be messing about with ensuring that each slide goes into the track everytime we hoist. We can't reef from the cockpit yet, and considering the pin-conundrum, I doubt we ever will be able to. Once we've replaced the main halyard (currently stretchy goldbraid) and installed a reefing hook, the cunningham will return to her regular duties.
I hope that made sense!
1974 24' Swiftsure
"I have always known that at last I would take this road, but yesterday I did not know that it would be today." - Narihara