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as said above, on a P26 you want to reef the main (1st reef) if you have 15kts plus... sailing on main alone will be much lumpier usually than sailing on reefed main & jib... you can also try jib alone, esp. if you have a furler and can adjust for conditions.
I rarely even use my genny anymore on my P26, I run the working jib (100) 99% of the time, the gain in performance (slight) w/ the genny is outweighed (IMO) by the bigger hassle of tacking the genny, not being able to see under it, etc. At 15-20 kts you'd want the genny reefed/furled anyway so you're better off in those conditions with a reefed main & working jib.
I have no trouble making hull speed or more (7kts+ with tide) on my P26 in those conds. (15-20 kts, reefed main, 100% jib). I did a 200-mile solo trip down the Potomac and back 2 weeks ago and was doing 5.3-5.5 kts with that setup against a 1kt+ tide in 15-20 gusting to 25.
The P26 is very stable, with the rig trimmed right it should round up on the big puffs, as someone pointed out. It's a beautiful thing to be able to rip along at 7 kts with a touch of weather helm and two fingers on the tiller holding it steady.
Last edited by fendertweed; 10-13-2008 at 04:57 PM.