Hi Martin and all,
I have found, over the decades, that very few cruising sailboats use their spinnaker (or asym, or cruising chute, par-sailor, etc.) much. This goes double for those who sail as husband/wife and triple when passage making where a single person watch at night just feels too risky. Those with racing backgrounds are much more comfortable with chutes.
I believe also that spinnakers, in all their manifestations, are a wonderful coastal cruising sail for couples, but that your decision of running wing and wing on passage is a good one for most couples and conditions. Most well designed, (and not overloaded), sailboats should approach a comfortable cruising speed wing and wing in 12kn (or so) TW DDW and right around hull speed in 14 kn T.
Then, if set up the way you describe, a cruising couple can relax knowing that they can reduce sail (and respond to changes) with total control.
I do wish to underline your description of your set-up:
"a preventer on the main and the kicker quite tight to stop any chafe and the yankee poled out with pole held by uphaul,downhaul and a guy led aft to fix it in position."
It may sound like a lot of work to set up the pole with fore and after guys and a topping lift, but, with a bit of practice, it is quite easy and results in the pole being completely tamed and not the scary spar many treat it as. With the pole fixed, one can roll the jib in or out “dialing in” the amount of sail one wishes.
And using a yankee means the jib is high-clewed and therefore there is little danger of having the tip of the pole rolled into the sea. I use a high clewed jib-topsail to have more sail are available, but the idea is the same.
For more on these thoughts and making wing and wing easy, safe and a comfortably fast way to sail downwind, please see my essay “Taming the downwind whisker pole” in the “Sails, Standing and Running Rigging” section of the Forum.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy