I am still in the learning stages with my boat. A SO 469 I bought this past year. I recently sailed a 5 day keg from Virginia to the Bahamas and now a few more days here in 20+ kt winds. Perhaps from my old racing experience I found myself carrying more sail then needed. Surprisingly the boat picked up a good bit of speed with a reef or two even in 18kt apparent Perhaps I should have studied the polars more? Anyway... with less heel I go faster and it is a lot more comfortable.
I have a SO 42 DS, and we typical run into 20+ knot winds coming in and out of the Los Angeles Harbor, the home of Hurricane Gulch. The boat does sail faster with shortened sail in those conditions as it is more upright. At 15 to 20, we will typically carry one or two reefs in the main and maybe one in the headsail. At 20 to 25, we will sail on headsail only, and with two reefs in and close hauled we will do 6.5 kn. Some of the other posts I have seen say to reef early, even at 15 knots.
About 6 weeks ago in 20 knots at 90 degrees apparent, we touched 8.5 knots, with full main and jib. We trimmed the main with the traveler down to leeward, and sheeted in. Trimming the main with the main sheet alone leads to a twist with the sail rubbing against the spreaders.
Yes I am learning the same thing. I had one overnight with good wind that we sailed under reefed main alone and the boat felt well balanced. Surprised me since so many boats I have sailed required some jib to balance well. Thanks for sharing your similar experiences. Fun learning this stuff.
with my 2008 39i (recently tuned) i can hit 8.5 under full sail (full main no reef , full jib ) with 20kts pointing about 40 degrees off the wind, but as soon as we point higher than 40 degrees with wind 25 kts a full mainsail overpowers the boat, shoving the stern around, and it heads up into the wind... with a reef or 2 the boat balances out and is much easier to sail at still does close to 8 kts.