So I worked up the courage to get the main sail out and give it a whirl. There were several things that stopped me doing this beforehand.
Firstly I wanted to get the hang of using the fore sail, tacking, gybing and getting used to the angles and trimming possibilities.
Secondly, when the boat heeled it would frighten me. I knew that the boat wouldn’t just tip over, but that didn’t stop it feeling like WAS going to tip over. I needed some time to get used to it.
Little did I realise until after using the main that all my issues would be solved.
I was having problems sailing to windward, the main sail fixes that making it a breeze to get decent speed when close hauled with minimum fuss. With a genoa alone the helm required was significant and was a bit of a fight.
I was having trouble getting the speed required for tacking in light airs. The main sail gives me that speed, and the jib can just be used for manouverability.
I was haivng trouble getting my hands free from the tiller to adjust the genoa’s sheets because Esprit would just head up into the wind immediately. The mainsail balances the helm wonderfully so I can tinker here and there.
All in all using the main sail is the best idea I had yet and after a bit more research I am confident that I can pilot Esprit safely even in moderate seas. The main is held to the runners in some cases by cable ties, true, and I am sailing with a permanent reef so there is no chance what-so-ever of me banging my head off the boom. This is a compromise I am more than happy with.
I may even replace the cable ties one day.
Here is the video! Under the harbour bridge and back. You can see the heel as I go upwind, and I kindly cut out the long boring tacks so the video is just one long, intense thrill ride. Hang on!