It's not so much the boat that needs to change but your state of mind! Instead of pressing the boat and sacrificing comfort for boat speed, instead of keeping more canvas
up or flying a chute in a strong breeze on the downhill leg....
you reef earlier, buy heavier, more durable sails
that will last the distance, have more comforts onboard, instead of pressing the boat you look after the boat, you don't want to or need to shred a sail, rip a standing block out of the deck
fitting, bash into a head wind
for hours and hours, etc ,etc. Because you're not trying to win a race - you've already won!
You are cruising and living the dream, meeting like minded people, enjoying the destinations, the anchorages
, the culture, the food
. The boat has become your home...
But yes, in doing that you will become a complete sailor and not just a sailor who races....racing is all about constantly maximising boat speed, beating the other competitors and that's a lot of fun. When you cruise there's no one to beat except yourself - because you sure won't beat King Neptune. So you wait for weather
windows, you sacrifice a half knot
for comfort, you feel the rhythm of sea and blend with it, you reef early and don't fly chutes at night (unless conditions are perfect). The finish line isn't the goal, the lifestyle is the goal....
Having said that, I would never own a traditional, full keeled yacht. Because I do like boat speed; I'm just not fanatical about it.