Smack, rail crew play a critical role in balancing a boat going to windward. They make a big difference. On windy days, we will collect extra guys whose only function is to sit on the boat (and drink beer and eat free sandwiches.) Fleets like the Farr 40 and some of the Jís have restrictions on number of crew members or max crew weights in order to eliminate the advantage of extra crew members. Cruising or sailing shorthanded is at a disadvantage insomuch as they canít trim for speed like a boat with a full crew.
Besides.... It gives us fat guys something to do and makes us feel important!!!