Here's what Quantum Sails has to say on the subject.
Full text here: http://www.quantumsails.com/pdf/Crui...0Inventory.pdf
The number and location of reefs in the mainsail deserves thought. A third reef is a consideration for
offshore work, but I would recommend two reefs at slightly deeper locations than normal, approximately 15% and
32% of the luff length. Normally reefs are at roughly 12% intervals. With offshore sailing in mind deeper reefs make
sense. I would shy away from a third reef, and opt for a storm trysail instead. The third reef will decrease the overall
durability of the sail (by adding weight to the leech), and necessitate hardware changes to the boom to allow for a
third reef line. I guess the bottom line is have you ever tried going from a second to a third reef? The struggle
involved would suggest that being more conservative, and taking away more area with the second reef makes sense.
Storm sails are in order for sailing offshore. A true storm jib with piston hanks for the inner forestay is the
only way to set the sail when the boat is equipped with a furling system. Realistically, it will be difficult, if not
impossible to change sails otherwise. The sail should be no larger than 5% of I squared in area, with a luff not to
exceed 65% of maximum available. It will probably need a tack pennant to raise the sail up so that it can be sheeted.
Few boats are set up with jib track far enough forward for this small a sail. A special pad eye may need to be installed.
A sailmaker needs to look at the geometry and sheeting options as part of the design.
For coastal passages of intermediate length a deep reef may suffice. Recognizing the fact that in sudden
squalls the mainsail will probable be dropped completely. It is only for sustained high wind conditions, when the
boat must be hove too, or sail upwind that mainsail area is needed. If built, a storm trysail should be no larger than
17.5% of P x E.
The final luff length often puts the head at the spreaders, or the termination of intermediate
shrouds for additional support. The tack is on an adjustable pennant which allows the sail to setup above the flaked
mainsail, and also controls the sheeting point. The foot is usually a foot or two shorter than the mainsail foot. The
boom is set on deck or cabintop when the sail is in use, and it is sheeted to the toe rail. The storm trysail should have
a separate track so it can be left with the luff attached at the base of mast, ready to go. Changing mainsail luff slides
when it gets windy enough to use the trysail will not be a task you want to take on.
Storm sails are largely intended as insurance. If there is a significant stretch of open ocean to cross, I'll take
out a policy and be thankful when I don't use them.
I agree that a third reef is rather useless and a deep second is batter...if you need more than that...take the whole thing down!
Since you will have a nice smooth running system with battcars, the cockpit solution is better and safer...believe me...you don't want to go on deck any more than is absolutely necessary in gales/storms. It is downright scary and I would encourage you to also think about a heavy duty roller furling staysail rather than something requiring deck work. Nevertheless if you DO decide you need a storm jib...take a look at the ATN gale sail which can go over your roller furling.
I would hold off on a trysail track and purchase until such time as you decide to start crossing oceans...they are really a last resort sail for extended extreme conditions and you should be able to avoid such conditions on short passages. But...there is a measure of extra safety in having one...so it all depends on what you feel comfortable with yourself.
The sail inventory/deployment discussion is interesting but the goal is never to have to use those sails and extreme reefing! Being a weather fanatic is way better than having experience in rigging a trysail in 45 knots!