It looks like the 18 footers don't have dousing lines on their spinnakers, as many other boats with asymmetrics do. Is that to keep the spinnaker clean and fast when its flying, or can they really drop the kite as fast without it as they could with a retrieval line and chute?
Also, what's the deal with 7's rig? It looks like it has a leading edge sleeve with cams for the battens, like a moth or wind surfer rig. Are they the only ones with that type of setup?
....I believe a few boats have incorporated the luff-sleeve,,
...to use a dousing line on the chute,,you'd likely need a retractor sleeve down the length of the cockpit,,which would create something of a trip-trap on an otherwise clean cockpit-deck--the 'grabbit-stuffit' method would also reduce any snagging and friction issues with both the retractor line and sleeve itself,,,,and much less of an issue for a 3 team than 1or2.
.....I'll bet that the separate tack-line gets -popped- about the same time as the 3rd crew is in position for the pull-in-allowing the inhauler-guy to quickly have a large part of the chute in-hand
That's true, it would make a big lumpish obstacle in the cockpit, which would be a hindrance, or would require reworking the bow section of the deck to be like the 49er, but I don't think that would be legal.
In one of their leeward roundings, I saw the middle man on 7 pulling something hand over hand, which I assumed was the retrieval line, especially since he was pulling so much. Must have been one of the sheets, though...