I don't understand why one would want to take away heads'l area for main area in a cruising rig design. With a masthead rig and a solent stay one can have a convenient roller furling
heads'l for wind
under 25 kts and a hanked on stays'll for winds higher.
Having cruised two boats with a solent stay it is obvious to me that pointing in heavy wind
and seas can be done with the stays'l. In fact, my latest stays'l has battens in it with a roach and it pulls from 12kts of apparent wind up to over 40kts right into the wind. To me this is a safety
and convenience factor. I notice that with a good fully battened loos-footed main the sail performs well over a wide wind range before having to reef yet because of the mast
the sail is on the verge of stalling when the stays'l is pulling well in heavy winds.
Would a fractional rig do that? Maybe I'm naive. Help me to understand. Downwind in large seas it is easier to "fix in place" with a downwind pole the heads'l and more difficult to prevent the main. If one increases the main size and decreases the heads'l size the problem is worse. Wouldn't that make a fractional rig less desirable?