You are going through all the queries I had when I started (I think we met when you were prepping the forestay for trailing in Ullswater).
I have also done away with the split rings on the genoa clevis pins – using spring loaded drop nose pins instead (I have roller furling – not reefing). At the top I have used garden wire to secure them (can’t manage it at the bottom) so I do not drop it in the event of a sail change on the briny. Makes life so much easier and again (as with fast pins) once under tension there is precious little chance of it coming out. I did consider a snap shackle but it made the luff wire longer and I cannot move my highfield lever to compensate. Thus a snapshackle (which would raise the foot) was ruled out although it might be marginally easier for sail changes.
If you want a picture let me know – but it is dark now!