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NB : It's not when reefing that I have the problem, it's when raising the main without reef, and I am trying to pull all 4 reefing lines with their respective frictions.
FOUR reefing lines run back to the cockpit? I'd say that's your problem right there :)

If you're having difficulty hoisting the main, seems to me there's a massive amount of friction built into the configuration of the system, that's not gonna be resolved by a simple switch to low friction rings...

Seems a classic example of the tradeoff involved in the attempt to make something 'easier', so often has quite the opposite result :)

What sort of rope are you currently using? I have Warpspeed for my 2 reefing lines, it runs quite nicely, but I have everything at the mast... Seems a common issue with reefing led back to the cockpit, on most of the larger boats I've run with that arrangement, I might never have gotten the main up at all without the help of a big electric winch :)

Are you sure you don't have other contributing issues? Is your mast track and sail slides clean, and running freely? Harken blocks or similar thoughout the system, and so on? Are all those lines feeding back out through rope clutches? There's a lot of stuff that can add up in that sort of setup...
 
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