The main was totally backwinded in many of the puffs. But with the cart lower, we heeled less had less helm and drove well most of the race.
If the helmsman wasnt 'luffing-up' in the gusts instead of someone dropping/playing the traveller during the gusts .... The higher the wind speed the further the clew goes OUT from the centerline; the lighter the wind the more you close the 'slot distance' ... until you 'backwind' and speedo drop, then let it out a bit. Got ***barberhauler*** or inside/outside jib tracks??? Are you sure
that your original problem with the main is that you ONLY using the 'inside jib tracks' (besides pulling the boom across to the windward side of the centerline)?
In high gusts forget the wheel, keep a fairly straight course, keep the boat on its feet by 'playing the traveller' to control-dump the main and the angle of heel ... much faster and the boat wont skid off to leeward because you've heeled too far over. If the helmsman is steering all over the place in a gust, the mainsheet/traveller trimmer and the jib sheet trimmers wont be able to 'follow' ... and 'control' will become a writhing bunch of snakes .... its the main trimmers job to keep the heel angle from becoming excessive, and if he/she cant do it then next the jib trimmer, ... and only when the trimmers cant do it .... THEN the helmsman as a last resort. In a heavy gust also too the apparent wind will slightly 'back' and the helmsman 'should' bear OFF slightly to match not go 'up' ... Up in the slows and down in the 'blows'.
Summary - its the mainsail trimmer's job (correctly working/playing the traveller) to keep the boat on a reasonable heel angle during gusts, etc., not the helmsman. If the helmsman overrides the mainsheet trimmer the boat will be slow and will skid off to leeward when the boat is 'overpowered', and the mainsail will then be seen to be 'backwinding' especially if the 'slot opening distance' isnt continually 'adjusted' (by mainsheet and jibsheet trimmers).
'windshifts and gusts': WINDSHIFTS ... clouds and gusts. - SailboatOwners.com
Shoreline and land effects: WINDSHIFTS - land & shoreline effects - SailboatOwners.com
Gusts and shifts, using the compass: WIND SHIFTS..... using the boat’s COMPASS to know WHEN to ta - SailboatOwners.com