Without a pole, a headsail will collapse and fill constantly if you are sailing lower than about 140 degrees to the relative wind
. It's unnerving and hard on the sails
and rig to have the jib
constantly collapsing and filling. Really fun with an Asymetric Spinnaker
as the sail will sound like a cannon, with equivalent load on the rigging
, when it fills.
Just finished a Transpac with 11 days of running wing and wing on my Pearson
35. Averaged better than 6knots on the Rhumbline to Hilo with winds from 10-15k. Reaching off would have been way slower in progress to our destination
and probably only netted us about a 1/2 knot
through the water
because we'd have had to sail so far off the rhumbline course to keep the headsails filled. You can sail at least 20 degrees and probably 30-40 degrees off the DDW relative wind running Wing and Wing. A longer than 'J' pole or an adjustable whisker pole is really a benefit for reaching up running W&W.
We sailed about 170 degrees to the relative wind and sailed about as flat, with virtually no rolling, as it's possible in the 8' +/-seas. The self steering
did yeoman work as the wind vane
oscillated from lock to lock to keep the boat on course. Sailing slightly off the DDW course may have been the reason for the flat sailing. I didn't have the vanged main fully out because of chafe on the aft lower. The boom was about 45 degrees off the centerline.
On my old Westsail 32, ran with headsails poled out without much rolling. The W32 is reputed to be a roller but ours didn't roll much at all on that long DDW run. We had a reacher drifter poled to one side and the yankee jib
lead to the main boom on the other. Perhaps the grossly different square footage of the two sails
cut down on the rolling moment.