I'm wondering what I can do to improve performance on my big liveaboard cruiser, pictured above. I recently sailed to the US for the wooden boat festival in Port Townsend Washington from Victoria, and even with a pretty clean hull (free dove on it for 4 or 5 hours total to get everything as scraped off as possible) and good wind, she has been acting like a pig.
Can't seem to get her above 5.5 knots upwind under sail, even in good wind, eventually it pipes up enough that it's time to reef and still I won't break that. Really would think I can get at least 6+ on this kind of waterline and a decent sail plan. 55-60 degree tacks on a good day. I can't use the (full size) tiller and have to use the hydraulic wheel as the weather helm is very high, to the point where even with the outhaul and halyard tension high to flatten the sail I have to ease it to the point of luffing to get anything close to reasonable forces at the helm. The rudder is always about 7-9 degrees to windward or more to counteract that, which isn't helping at all.
I'm sure some or most of it is fixable or "user error".
Don't usually use the staysail inshore because I am almost always singlehanded.
She's definitely in cruising trim, with all kinds of spares I need and some that I don't, but I really question how much that makes a difference on a 35' boat with a nominal 17,000 lb displacement. I am considering getting rid of the entire stern pole arrangment (dinghy sits on cabintop forward of the mast), as at it currently holds is a defunct radar and a very old wind gen that would be better replaced with some solar panels down low. Possibly the Bimini as well, as I only use it when at anchor anyhow and it could be replaced with a Sunbrella boom tent to similar effect for those instances. I figure possibly all that windage at the end of the boat and the weight up high is contributing to the weather helm problem?
I'm currently unable to rake the mast more forward due to running out of room on the turnbuckles in the jib furler, and there's already noticeable prebend that I haven't changed, as that should flatten the main more. Any suggestions would be lovely!
Attached are some pictures sailing. I do love this boat but I hate turning on the engine every time I sail upwind. My last boat was a Ranger 29 I took to the Alaskan border and back solo, and I'd love to make this one manageable and sailable in even a similar way. Freja is a good home but so far at least not the best sailing boat.