Racing sailboats is like racing anything else. Ultimately it all comes down to horsepower to weight ratio. In some instances, you can add horsepower. Bigger spinnakers, larger mainsail roaches, or longer spinnaker poles may be in order. But the cheapest way to improve the ratio in your favor is to remove weight. It’s the only part of the game that is free! Racer/cruisers are notorious for being heavier than advertised and for collecting additional weight over time. Empty everything out. Don’t ask if you need it, just put it on the dock. If you are getting really serious and are using a rule where you will be physically measured, you might consider taking out doors, cushions, bow thruster, anchor windlasses, furling systems, stoves, – anything that is legal. Take your cruising gear and store in carefully marked containers. When you are ready to go cruising, put the cooking gear, the spares, the bedding, the books all back on.