My partner and I sail an IOR racing
boat... hardly the ideal 2-up. Big sails. Relatively high friction main halyard (no batt cars). Big (to 150%) non-furling (twin foil) headsails. Runners and check stays. i.e. everything that isn't ideal for short handed sailing.
1: Be conservative with the sail choice. Our boat, despite its age, design shape and weight is damn quick. We don't need to over-canvas to go fast. Hell, we have plenty of boat speed when slightly under-canvassed. We alwasy err on the side of caution when selecting what sails to hoist / when to reef, etc
When wind does build unexpectedly, and fast, and assuming for the sake of argument, we had full main, large overlapping genoa and were running, our preferred course of action would be as follows (assuming sea-room to manouver)
1. Get rid of the genoa - drop it to the deck
- Lisa steers and lets the halyard down (with a wrap or 2 around the winch), I look busy on the foredeck. Get the sail either strapped securely to the deck
, or if it is really blowing, get it below deck. It is usually possible to complete this process while still running, by shadowing the genoa behind the main, otherwise, come to windward first (you have to make this decision before you start - you do not want to be coming onto the breeze with the genoa partially dropped)
2. Reef or drop the main as required. Once the headsail is secured, go bare-headed while sorting the main. If in doubt, get rid of it all (bare poles is fine, if necessary start the engine for manouverability). We have 3 deep reefs
, so it has to be blowing pretty damn hard before we have to worry too much. We really do have to go head to wind for this. Between the runners'checkstays and the relatively high-friction luff groove, we can't do it any other way. 2-up, I go to the mast, Lisa steers and lowers the main halyard to get the chosen the reef cringle on the goose-neck horn. I then come back to the cockpit
and (a) tighten the halyard, then (b) bring in the reef line to snug down the leech reef. Yes - this process can be soething of a sh1t-fight, but it gets the job done.
3. Once the main is sorted (reefed or down and tidy on the boom), choose an appropriate headsail - #3, #4 or storm jib
. Get that on deck and hoisted. Again Lisa steers and pulls halyard while I try to look busy on the foredeck and at at the mast. When it is almost full hoist I come back to the cockpit
up to the requisite luff tension (if you are going to be bearing away back to a run, you shouldn't need too much anyway).
Frankly, running, I am more than happy to go downwind with just a headsail. In 30 knots of wind, we would run at 7-8 knots with just a #4 up and no main. If running deep, we might choose to pole-out. I feel safer running in a decent sea with a headsail "pulling" rather than a mainsail "pushing" - less likely to jibe. We have sailed downwind in 35 knots in a decent sea, with double reefed main and no headsail, but apart from hitting stupid fast speeds (up to 18 knots), it is bloody hard work, and scary as hell, and required some pretty fancy steering to (a) not jibe or chinese and (b) not get broadside to the sea.
a) Go bare headed
b) Reef or fully douse main, as appropriate
c) Set a small headsail, sized as appropriate