|I have sailed on several small boats (around 24 foot) with fractional rigs and used reefed sails regularly. This included being fully reefed on main in Bass Strait and on Port Phillip Bay in 45 knots (BOM reportd wind speeds not guesses). |
I could not imagine a RL24 having sufficient stability to permit sailing in storm conditions. On my RL24, the storm strategy is simply to drop all sails below and use the engine. If that fails and I can't sail on the bare pole then the anchor is next.
I do plan to use my cruising main with 4 reefs (the last one is a long way up) but would consider the 4th reef a bit much sail for use in winds over 30knots. With the fractional rig, a storm jib is not really needed and the windage of the dropped sail on the foredeck can make steering difficult in survival conditions.
Do yourself a favour and keep the front deck clear as soon as you start to reef and concentrate on keeping the main intact and working. Small boats with fractional rigs handle alright on the main with lots of reefs. I have worked the foredeck trying to lash down a jib in survival conditions and it is a scary place that I do not want to go again. If you are dropping the jib during reefing, stow it below so you don't need to go forward later.
If rigging a RL24 boom for reefing, it is important to keep the rear end of the boom very high. Low slung booms have a habit of dragging their end in the water when reaching and being dragged back, powering up the boat when the crew does not need any more boat speed. Keeping the boom high allows more heel before the boom drags keeping the crew in control. It is interesting having waves hit the boom forcing the boat to accelerate when you would be happy to just keep it slow and steady.
Concentrate on the reliability of the engine and avoid heavy weather like the plague.