thanks for the reply. It is a very fun cruiser/racer boat indeed! It is an aluminium mast and it is pretty bendy. At least compared to the other (cruiser) boats in my harbour. I am pretty sure that the mast doesn't come down if you don't get the runners on, but I am not taking any risks there
I know the runners really do make a difference in speed, this is what the North timguide is telling me:
In light airs you sheet to the middle or just to windward of the traveller. The foot is eased so there is a lot of camber in the sail, the same with the cunningham. The halyard is loose, just enough tension as necessary to make the small wrinkles at the mast disappear. The running backstay is also loose and there is no tension on the checkstay and top mast stay.
In medium airs you sheet in to the middle of the traveller. The outhaul is tightened until near the black mark on the boom. Cunningham adjusts the camber. The halyard tension is close to the black band at the top of the mast. The backstay has medium tension, the checkstay has a bit tension to stabilise the mast curve. The top mast stay is loose. Kicking strap
is only used reaching or running.
In heavy airs you sheet 15 cm down on the traveller. Outhaul is set at maximum to the black mark, cunningham adjusts the camber. Halyard max to the black band, the backstay is set to maximum. The checkstay still adjusts the mast curve, therefore it is tensioned a little. The
mast top stay is loose. Kicking strap is only used reaching or running.
I am going with this for now, hope to find out more this year during class racing!