I've got a feeling that they are just being lazy. Having said that, I had a Columbia
26, years ago, that was dangerous sailing with the main up. Winds off of Honolulu can be quite gusty. When hit by one of these gusts, the boat would heel and the rudder
would stall out resulting in an uncontrolled round up. Nearly t-boned a 50'+ gold plater that I sailed by to have a look. After that, I was afraid to sail the boat with the main if there was any chance of encountering another boat.
I might have gotten by if I'd always sailed with a reefed main even though it wasn't needed except in gusts. Unfortunately, the boat had roller reefing, may the old main boom roller reefing rest in hell, that was a pain to do, resulted in a terrible setting sail and permanently ruined the sail in the process.
The slot between the main and jib
definitely result in better performance. I wouldn't sail that way because I'm kind of anal about getting the best performance I can. With all the reefing lines run to the cockpit
, I can tie in a reef in a minute. Also, with lazyjacks, can drop the main at will if I need to. The main also gives additional triangulation to the mast
. There have been a number of boats that have lost
their backstay but kept the mast
up because of the main tension on the stick.