I seem to be struggling with the main premise of the original post, namely the need to avoid involving the gunwhale when reefing. This isn’t usually a problem, is it? If you slacken the kicker, tension the reefing line, then loosen the halyard, the boom is only ever at or above its normal height. Shaking out a reef is the same sequence in reverse. There’s a bit of tweaking in reality, but I can’t help thinking that a topping lift is another extra complication. (I find a certain beauty in simplicity in a small boat).