I've found the main tricky to raise that last foot or so, too, but haven't had quite as much trouble as Scott and Ohio. Have you guys tried the method CL mentions, i.e. taking the halyard as far forward as possible? That's always done the trick for me--and if I don't do it, I find the halyard hangs up in the locking clip. I also bought some stuff called Fastrac from Layline. It's a lube you apply by running a small square of "luff" up and down the track, and it seems to help. The problem you describe sounds like the metal "bolt" at the top of the luff is getting hung up at the transition from the nylon track back to the metal track near the top of the mast. Maybe gently prying open (or perhaps grinding) just the bottom of the upper metal track a bit will help ease the transition without compromising its "grip" once the sail is fully raised.
Yep, that problem of not being able to tack the Getaway in the chop seems pretty well documented by now (see my other posts on the subject). Your experience sounds just like mine: tried once without the jib, thinking that might improve weather helm, but it just wouldn't go. Seems we need the extra speed/pointing ability the jib provides and need to backwind it to bring the bows around. Also need to get weight forward and remain on the new downwind side until she comes about--but not too far unless you want to go swimming! This is a technique that will require some refining--if anyone figures out the "ultimate" Getaway tacking solution, please share!
Wish I had a good sailing story from this weekend, but mine's only a reaffirmation of the ubiquity of Mr. Murphy. Saturday it blew plenty hard, but I couldn't go out and play. Sunday my bud and I hauled the boat all the way to the lake to see a sight rarely seen in OK: mirror-smooth water in a dead calm. Didn't even put the boat in the water. Monday, business as usual: winds strong enough I needed to lean into them on the way to the jet, but anything over 10 knots is a waste for flying purposes. Sigh...
But I have high hopes for the 3-day weekend!