When people dream about sailing, they often picture a steady breeze and full sails set as they power through the seas. In a dream world, this may be fine, but in our world, ideal sailing conditions refer to winds that allow us to get to where we want to go as quickly and comfortably as possible.
We have found that when we are full sail, the winds are actually a bit on the light side and we aren't going as fast as we could be if we had more wind.
To us, ideal sailing conditions often involve a reefed sail plan. If we are reefed, we always have more sail available to us than what we are using. This means that if we feel the desire to go faster, all we need to do is set more sail! If you are full sail, then you have no recourse left, you are already at your maximum and have nowhere to go from there!
In this situation, we were close reaching under our staysail and our mainsail with one reef in it. We were still able to achieve 5.5 knots with ease without heeling over much at all. This keeps the boat level and life aboard more comfortable as we don't have to worry about stuff sliding off of horizontal surfaces in the cabin.
The only way this could have been more ideal is if we had been on a broad reach, there the seas come from behind and help push you along, instead of beating into them as you work to windward.
All in all, when there is plenty of wind, you can reef down for comfort and still maintain your boat speed through the water. This will keep you moving fast, morale high, and dream sailing a reality!