So by sheeting the main in and out and changing my upwind sailing angle very slightly I found I had a fast sailing mode in the lulls and the gusts, a powerful combination on the race course.
(I was using 13 metres of Marlow Excel Fusion 6mm as my mainsheet, rather thin for some but excellent for maximum feel downwind and easy flowing through all blocks.)
At 45 seconds to go before any race start I always set up my sail to ensure that at go I was at my perfect setting and going my fastest. Here were some settings that worked well for me during the event:
In the light 5-10 knots going upwind I had a medium tension kicker setting (usually pulling around 40cm through the deck cleat), no tension at all on downhaul (more on that in the section below) and a surprisingly loose outhaul (usually a hand length and a half. Some might say this was too deep but being one of the bigger guys in the fleet I found it allowed me to point higher and it just felt 'good').
Downwind I kept the downhaul off completely, left the outhaul the same one and a half hand length deep but released the kicker off all the way (I quite liked a loose leech which felt great sailing by the lee).
Fully hiking weather + a bit more = depowering time. In the 15 knot gusts you wanted to be depowered but in the 10 knot lulls you killed your height and speed if you depowered too much. Combined with the difficult Hayling chop and that threw up some challenges.
I found that a tight kicker (approx. 60cm through deck cleat), a outhaul approximately a hand length deep and a light-medium downhaul setting worked well. On the upwinds I was keeping the mainsheet pinned in but actively playing the downhaul, releasing in the lulls and tightening in the gusts.
Downwind I released the downhaul completely, let the outhaul off to be one and a half hand lengths deep and released the kicker about 45cm so that it wasn't too loose whilst surfing waves.
I found that at these winds upwind I was fully depowering so I had max kicker on, a hand length deep outhaul when I wanted to point high, flattening off to half of that when I wanted to go low and fast, and a lot of downhaul on. The more overpowered you are the harder you pull the downhaul and kicker on! Other than that hike hard, move back in the hiking strap slightly and keep the boat flat and it feels like you can get the boat planing upwind. Very fun.
Downwind I released the downhaul and kicker a lot and if it wasn't too hairy the outhaul would come off too!