the Sunfish Class has voted to allow the use of 2 halyard lines, and an additional line for a Jens rig – all to allow for a more simplified method of depowering the Sunfish sail for heavy winds (official release). it is often beneficial for lighter sailors, who don’t have as much body mass to balance the heavier wind forces on the sail (and hence the reason I’ve never had to use it…).
here are some of the specific rule changes.
3.7.2 One or two halyards may be used. Halyards may be of any length and diameter. The running end of one halyard may be used to create a boom vang and/or to pull the boom out in light air. A single purchase loop may be tied in each halyard to help draw the halyard tight, provided the sail can be quickly lowered in an emergency.
3.7.3 A rig to lower the point at which the upper spar lies against the mast (known as the “Jens Hookansen Rig‟)may be tied with an extra piece of line used solely for that purpose. The rig must be tied in such a way that the sail can be lowered quickly and easily by releasing the halyard(s).
here is a bit more information on the Jens rig (via MSYC blog):
A Jens rig, named after Jens Hookanson who used it in winning the 1976 Sunfish North American Championship (at age 16!), lowers the point at which the upper spar is attached to the mast. This leaves more of the upper spar unsupported. In heavier winds, the upper spar can bend more, twisting the leech and “spilling” air. Since the upper part of the sail is depowered, it is easier to hold the boat flat without easing the sail out. Therefore pointing is not sacrificed.
here is an excellent video (about 10 minutes long) with demonstration of the “Gust Adjust” – a class legal version of the Jens halyard setup for your Sunfish rigging.
Greg Gust also just won the Sunfish International Masters earlier this week – I think he knows what he’s doing!