Learn to Reef Early ? Like as soon as you start to think I wonder if I should reef . .
And maybe consider how you stow gear
, if it is possible to change stuff around. On my early shoal draft yacht everything was designed to stow low and centre. On the next one, stuff was higher (I imagine, for convenient access). After a while I hauled out and modified stuff. I moved my water
, anchors and chains to the bottom centreline (where possible) on the second shoal draft boat. It made a lot of difference to the 'feel'. No improvement in speed, just felt secure and comfortable.
Of course, my boats were usually only around 26 foot and I was only sailing 80 - 100NM offshore coastal passages in tropical storms and among shallow reefs
mostly, at each end of the trips, but swapping from fin keel, to shoal keel and fin keel, the only change in habits was how much sail was up in strong conditions, and how much weight I could keep as low as possible.
I imagine for long ocean passages the considerations would be similar.
With the fin keels, where I carried stuff didn't seem to matter much. And I often left sail up when i definitely shouldn't have.