You really do want to have the cringle for the reefing point come down as close as possible to the boom. For instance, the higher up it is, the more slack that the reefing line has to have, and the less control you have over the reefed sail's shape. Ideally, you want a reefed sail to be as flat as possible, since you're in a high-wind situation and need to depower the boat as much as possible. Not being able to tighten the reefing cringle down to the boom and mast as close as possible means that you can't shape the sail. This is in addition to CalebD's point about raising the boom moving the center of effort higher, which is what you're trying to avoid doing.
As for the split backstay. Attach a block for wire to it... and then attach a piece of wire to one side, run it through the block and terminate it with a fiddle block on the other end. then put a fiddle block with becket and cam cleat on the bottom on the hull on the other side. Tie a line to the becket and run it up reeve it between the two blocks and then through the cam cleat, and you'll have a nice 8:1 backstay adjuster.
To get the blocks, buy a Garhauer boomvang block setup, like their series 25 UAG 4-1
, shown here, currently on sale. Only $76 or so. You'll need a short piece of wire rope that has a toggle on one end and a fork on the other and a wire rope block with a fork on it to attach to the backstay—but any good rigging shop can set you up with that.
Photo courtesy of Garhauer Marine, click to go to their website.
It'll basically end up looking like this Harken setup, but 8:1 not 12:1, image courtesy of Harken.com
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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