The easiest way to improve performance on any boat is going to be a nice fair, slick, racing
bottom, good sails and a serious weight loss program. The good news is that most of this is not overly expensive, the bad news is that you have to have the right attitude and most cruisers don't.
Most cruising boats have horribly rough bottoms, years of bottom paint
buildup (heavy and high drag) I see it all the time, a new glass boat will come into the yard for commissioning with a perfect gelcoat
bottom, by the time they have sanded it, applied 5 coats of barrier coat and bottom paint
with a roller it looks like a freakin sidewalk whereas if it is a racer
extra effort is put in and it ends up smoother than a nuns bum.
You need decent sails for whatever rig you have and a reasonable quiver of them, old stretched out sails and just a single
headsail choice on a furler
, while easy to use rob you of performance. New performance oriented cruising sails make a huge difference.
While you may think you cant reduce weight much you would be wrong. A ruthless attitude in this department will probably pay bigger dividends than anything else you can do and will yield greater bridge deck
clearance, less wetted surface etc. I would suggest removing everything from the boat that is not fastened down then evaluate whats left that came from the builder
, often times hundreds of pounds can be trimmed out without affecting structure at all, as an example on my Gemini
there is a partition that separates the head
from the fwd stateroom that is built out of 1/2" crap plywood
, properly tabbed in but then it is faced on both sides with 1/4" teak
that is just fastened on with a minimal amount of screws, sooo, a total of 1" of plywood of which 50% is wasted weight contributing nothing to structure so its gone, the boat is full of stuff like that, my point is there is weight to be saved if you are ruthless, and then as you start reloading your personal stuff, if you don't use or need something, leave it off and if you can replace an item with something lighter, great. Once you adopt this attitude you will be amazed at the performance improvement without resorting to rerigging. Fore and aft trim is another area to address. On cats, because they tend to have a lot of storage
aft people fill up the lazzarettes and cockpit
lockers and then hang a rib
and wonder why they are slow, get some weight out of the back of the bus, on the Gemini
we noticed that when one of the crew took his deck
chair and went to the foredeck we picked up 1/2 a knot
so we put the dinghy
on the foredeck, moved a few other heavy items from aft up fwd until the tips of the transoms were just kissing the water
and then we could maintain that improvement without a person up there.