Partial response to suggestions
First, thanks. Second, I'll try some of this on Wed when I go out. Third, here are answers/explanations to questions asked:
1. How OLD is your mainsail?
Came with boat. Must be 6 years old or older.
2. Is it a common woven dacron Mainsail with a 'boltrope' at the luff?
Dunno how to tell material, but it has slugs in the mast, not a boltrope.
3. How much backstay tension .... that which tensions the Forestay?
The backstay is not "hard", it has some play, but I don't know how to measure the tension. As I just had the mast stepped & rig tuned, I assumed they knew what they were doing, but...
4. Have you applied max outhaul, cunningham, and halyard to keep the max draft forward of the middle of the mainsail?
I THINK I've applied max outhaul (reefing outhauls have no winches), and halyard (I watch for vertical stretch marks in luff). There is no cunningham on this sail.
Thanks for reminding me about max draft location, which I'll check again. However in a real blow, when I've let the mainsail start to flap, it's clear the sail pressure is well aft of middle, but I"m not clear how much pressure that is. I think the jib is the more likely culprit. But I'll check draft location, esp. going to windward.
5. Does the boat heel excessively as well?
As I used to windsurf and drive fast cars, it's unclear what "excessively" is, as that's part of the fun. I have seen the lee rail buried in water, but mostly it seems about 30* when I'm fighting it. I have had 45* days however. I am aware that heeling is just spilling wind and sailing on the wrong part of the hull, so I am aiming for a flatter response.
6. When do you put the first reef in? And the second?
Last year we sailed an entire race in 24kts+ unreefed, because we didn't want to put in a reef as we turned to the closing upwind leg. We need sail going downwind. However, in cruising of late I single reef when expecting about 17 kts, and double reef if expecting 23 or more. As I'm usually singlehanded without a working autopilot (which will be another post), I tend to persist with what I have, though adding sail seems easier than reefing when I've done it.
7. How much rake is in the mast? Is it straight up or does it lean back toward the stern?
The mast does rake/curve to the stern. How much? - I don't know how to quantify.
I looked at the forestay today and I don't see how to adjust it, because the roller furler is all over it. However, I'll risk 3 turns on the backstay, one at a time, and watch what happens. I will also watch the boat wake, because I like the jib theory, and I'll either partly furl or ease jib sheets and see how that behaves.
I'll update the post with results and hope for more insight...