Thanks Kent and Mark.
Kent, I find that the angle where I can maintain control of the blue line goes down as the wind speed increases. Around 20 knots apparent, there is little control after about 10 degrees aft of perpendicular. Is this consistent with your experience? I try easing the sheet but at that wind speed, there is still lots of pressure on the sail and therefore on the sheet at the shiv. In fact, the pole starts to move forward.
Mark, how exactly do you use the boat hook?
I have had two episodes of drama. Once in the middle of the night I lowered the pole, started a takedown and it crashed loudly on the hull. Needless to say, the shock to the sleeping crew was not appreciated. Second time, I raised the pole and it crashed against a shroud. Most recently, I have started bending two halyards to the rail just abeam the dodger, raising the pole, and then gradually releasing the blue line. With this method, the pole hits the halyards and stops less abruptly and with less potential for damage. But I keep thinking there must be a better way.
Thanks gents. Much appreciated.