Originally Posted by captainmidnight
What this says about boat speed is simply not true, until it's windy enough that you're reaching hull speed and then your typical cruising boat is going to get all rolly DDW
I don't make this stuff up.
I have been racing with jib and main, and regularly beating assyms, for thirty years under different rules. Some clubs gave different handicaps for different sails, but, in one-design racing, other clubs gave one handicap for all entrants, and it was up to the racer to decide which sails to use under the applicable racing conditions. My home club during most of those years didn't limit the length of whisker poles.
Sailing is all about adapting and configuring the boat and sails to the conditions. If you're racing with spinnaker, for example, and it blows out, you don't drop out of the race. You put up the sails you have and change your race plan and tactics, and try to figure out how to carry on and be competitive with the sails that you have. You try to find a different, faster sailing angle, or stronger winds with a more favorable slant. You mentioned running DDW in winds strong enough to push the boat to hull speed. In those conditions I often don't use a pole at all, depending on all the conditions. The pole is usually set primarily for two reasons: (1) to keep the jib from collapsing frequently and then re-filling with a loud snap, but I've learned that you can trim the main and jib so that the jib doesn't collapse and re-fill; it stays full all the time; and (2) to maximize the sail area that is exposed to the wind, but, when you're already running hull speed or more, you have to ask yourself what you stand to gain by increasing the sail area. Depending on the length of the race, you might not gain anything. If you don't need the pole to maximize sail area, and you don't need it to keep the jib full and drawing, why bother setting it?
In short-distance, around-the-buoys club racing, you have to consider the time lost by spinnaker boats in rounding marks and raising and lowering sails, often while heading off in the wrong direction, versus the ease of handling jib and main, and the fact that the JAM can be trimmed and begin drawing almost immediately, and in the right direction. In most club racing, the fundamentals of setting and lowering the spinnaker often result in time consuming mistakes. In a short race, those frequent mistakes can easily cost the race.
Many racers only "know" one way to do things. When we talk about sailing and sail trim, there are a gazillion "rules of thumb" that we all follow, but, for every rule of thumb, there are many exceptions, and many racers don't get beyond the rules of thumb.