First, we have a nomenclature issue. To some a very close reach might be with a chute, with the apparent wind forward of the beam (No Escape). That is an apparent wind based definition. Others (most multihull
sailors) define a close reach as just below full and by, true wind substantially forward of the beam. The first course for which we crack the sheets
just a little. Fast multihullers use this "true wind" view because the apparent wind never goes behind the beam except for a few seconds mid-jibe (and some tack down wind--my last cat did--And I considered the apparent wind 50 degrees off the bow/true wind 135 a broad reach).
a. Reef earlier. Particularly below the line of death (wind aft of the beam), there may be no answer and even professional crews dump. On a large tri this is going to be expensive and potentially life threatening. Reef earlier. (beach cats/tris--go for it!!)
b. On a very close reach on a very fast cat, the correct answer is all of them. There is NO REASON they should not all be ready to fly in a few seconds, with a man on each sheet. If you can not place a man on each sheet, see "a."
c. Heading up--perhaps slowly--is often a part of the strategy, because the wind is increased and you are going to want to come up to get the main down.
d. Bearing off is generally the first reflex on a broad reach, but at some point it doesn't solve the problem; if the jib is fully blanketed and you are still over powered, blowing the sheet is not going to solve the problem.
d. If bearing off is the strategy on a deep reach, do NOT ease the main at the same time; that only increases projected area.
e. If the buried bow has cause a pivot (probable) you are looking at a very fast angle of attack change, release everything.
f. Though releasing the jib is one "right answer," if the jib is very small that main is the big engine
. It may be more important to dump the main AND traveler than the jib. Additionally, if the main and traveler are dumped, a small jib very nicely closes the slot completely, depowering the main. So it really depends on the size and position of the jib.
g. The worst thing you can do is release the jib a little; all it does is get full and open the slot.
Perhaps the most important thing is for the crew to be well-secured to work stations. Often they fail to release sails
because they are thrown across the cockpit
by the rapid deceleration. This is a problem on beach cats too. They should braced in place and have the sheet tails in hand. Tails should NOT be in the self tailers, but around the drum with no more than 3 turns, and into a cam cleat.
As for risk to the mast dumping the main; this is a normal thing for fast multies and is not a risk. The mast is stayed differently from a mono and the traveler gives much better boom control. Not an issue.
When sailing fast cats I always like the crew to have either beach cat or skiff experience. There isn't time to think this through or for tentative actions. In the video, for example, the chute should have been flogging already in the first photo
, or collapsed with the boat dead down wind. No hesitation or waiting for the skipper
to give directions.