THat is what I have always used (3rd reef). I have spoken to many circumnavigators whose trysails never saw the light of day. Sems light airs are the bigger problem.
I have heard similar, so when we commisioned our new main we got a third reef put in.
I am not a fan of sails forward of the mast UNLESS they are in addition to a main to balance the boat. Exception is when running in seas which is different as an accidental jibe is more of a concern for us and the leward helm s less of an issue. We sail with kids so everything sems shorthanded, as do you I believe.
Yes. Reefing while still singing along to Sesame Street is nearly worthy of it's own thread
Do you have slab reefing, inmast, or what? I cannot remember. If inmast, we mark on our reefing line different sail options (100%, 75, 25, etc). THis can account for different reef poits, but with a inmast, you have infinite options. But it is good to know approximately where the two balance the boat. This works if you also have a line on your jib reefing line that coordinates with the main. THat is what we do, anyways. If slab reefing, I hate going to the mast/boom and securing it down in a blow (which always seems to come at night). Get hairy and requires anoter person on deck (at least that is our rules).
We have single line reefing. It is run so that theoretically we can do it all from the cockpit, but in reality it is better with someone at the mast.
On our trip across the gulf, we had the jib back fill and I had to go forward in large seas to undo it. It was very hard to keep from going airborn when the boat fell off the seas. I cannot imagine trying to rig or take down a gale sail in those conditions, which inevitably would occur. Versus at the mast, you have something to hold on to and you are in the center of the boat with less motion. Plus, you don't have the green water coming over the bow trying to take you over. THat is my reasoning (plus the weather helm). We can balance our boat with the jib too, but often find the main is sufficient and a lot less work.
I would love to hear some positive comments on the Gale Sail from those that have used them in a hard blow. I am also curious if they had a bad leward helm and were forced to balance the boat or fight the rudder all night?
That is precisely my concern, that when required it would just be too big a PITA. We have backwinded and wrapped our Genoa and tangled/messed up our Genoa sheets in moderate seas before( Don't ask it wasn't a good day) and spending 5 mintues on the bow in these conditions was umm fairly unpleasant. I struggle to comprehend what the bow would be like in gale or storm conditions.
We have used the third reef a couple of times in conjunction with a hankerchief of unfurled genoa in squall conditions. I have also practised hoving-to in heavy air with this arrangement, and while it works, the reality is that a bonafide storm jib obviously would be an improvement.
Being novices to heavy weather sailing, I am just curious to hear what people have found works for them.