It's a shame when an idea gets written off on the basis of implementations which did not work, without taking account of ones which did. It's a bit like saying swimming is a bad idea, because of swimmers who drowned...
If properly designed and purpose-built and properly set up, a slab reefing genoa which is built with the strength of a #3 (and reef points at that location) but which shakes up to a #2 can, in my experience, be a real (and durable) asset on a hanks-only boat.
This is especially feasible on smaller boats, below say 32' (where offshore sails
tend to be heavier in relation to the loads), but it have seen it done successfully on boats up to maxi
size, with good material selection and careful detailing.
Provided the tack downhaul (preferably at least 2:1, in which case it can come back both port and stbd) and halyard
come back to the cockpit
, and sheets
are left attached to both clews, it's eminently possible (and supremely satisfying) when coastal sailing on a tender
, smaller boat with several on watch, to reef for gusts and shake it out for lulls, with less effort and flogging than when trying to do that with a roller furler
, and with better sail shape and arguably less unfair loading, especially at the head
(which is always a problem for using a furler for reefing).
It's not necessary (at least on smaller boats) to use a winch
on the halyard
, just overhoist and then use the multipart downhaul to achieve luff tension, also by hand.
There's no need to bundle up the spare bunt of sailcloth on the deck
for such situations; simply snug up the windward lazy sheet to stop the lazy clew flopping about (and to stop the foot going overboard
between stanchions and scooping up the bow-wave).
And to anyone for whom the above sounds like a lot of work, it's always going to be a lot of work getting a boat answering to this description to windward in a breeze. I'm pitching my post at people who don't mind a bit of work, provided it makes the boat go where you need it to go with efficiency and despatch.
I don't have anything against furlers, BTW. Not the ones which work well ...