There were not many out over the weekend, what with the strong winds, and of those who ventured out I wonder how many of them managed to make sensible progress to windward with well furled genoas. But showing my age.... in the ‘good old days’ we always had a quiver of headsails, no 1 light, no 1, no 2, working jib and storm jib. The down side, apart from the storage on board of all these sails, was that it meant time on the foredeck changing headsails as the wind strengthened, the big advantage of course being that one’s pointing ability did not fall off as you reduced area and sensible progress to windward could be maintained!
Nowadays with roller reefing headsails, to reduce area all we do is luff to take the load off the sheet and then pull the furler line, however the big downside (even with a well shaped genoa with foam luff to aid flattening) is that the ability to claw to windward dramatically falls away the more you furl and if the wind is of a strength that only a pocket handkerchief of a headsail is required and we want to beat to windward what do we do then? Crawl forward and rig the inner forestay (assuming one is fitted) return to the cockpit and once again crawl forward this time with the storm sail bag in our teeth, remove sail from bag and then hank on (having watched the empty sail bag disappear overboard) attach sheets, assuming you managed to take them forward at the same time! Time spent out away from the security of the cockpit 25 mins minimum? Or take a Storm-Bag forward (jib sheets are part of the ‘package’ and already attached) attach tack of sail, wrap storm bag round furled genoa, attach spinnaker or spare genoa halyard to head of sail, retreat to security of cockpit and hoist. Time spent on the foredeck 5mins max, and as for pointing ability, excellent!
"....We studied the installation of a removable inner forestay: hard and heavy, with the building of a structural fixing point on the deck, on the mast, a halyard and probably the adding of runners... We then thought of long and exhausting manoeuvres with two crew handling a bag on deck, finding the sheets... The choice was simple, we opted for the Storm-Bag: we did not regret it..." Capt. Blind