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johns64 11-20-2003 06:04 PM

Racing a Beneteau 331
I purchased a 331 about a year ago and I am going to race her in our frostbite series. I am looking for ways to improve the performance of the boat. I am going to add a 155 to my sail inventory. I am looking for suggestions on tuning the boat and possible ideas for modifying the backstay to a single backstay to allow for a larger main. Any help would be greatly appreciated. The lake that I race at is Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas. Our club has a web site which is

aflanigan 11-21-2003 10:27 AM

Racing a Beneteau 331
There''s lots of stuff you can try, but in answer to your question about modifying the rig, it depends in part on whether you race using PHRF. If you modify your rig in a way that gives you a distinct advantage (add a larger main), chances are your rating would change with such modifications. Some racers take these changes gladly thinking that a reduced rating (greater handicap) is a worthwhile price to pay for greater boat speed, to have a better chance of being first to the best wind.

It depends, too, on how the boat is rigged already. Does it have a vang? decent downhaul, outhaul (sufficient purchase?)? Backstay tension adjuster? How new are your sails? How clean do you keep your bottom? (the boat''s, not yours). Do you fly a spinnaker? How about the prop? Fixed? Switching to a folding would again, probably change your PHRF rating, but it might be worth it.

There''s a lot of stuff you can consider doing to immprove racing performance, from ergonomic stuff (making it easier for crew to control sails by properly leading lines, providing the right equipement, etc.) to minimizing weight on board, and probably 20 things I can''t think of at the moment.

Allen Flanigan
Alexandria, VA

StuColeman 05-22-2006 02:58 PM

Upgrading a Beneteau 331 for Racing
Adding a folding prop will give you .3 to .6 more knots over the course which definitely helps. I installed a Martec folding prop on my Ben 331 but it was no easy proposition. When the boat was hauled out and the new prop was fitted, we realized that in the folded position, the prop would hit the rudder. We had to drop the rudder out of the boat and remove the prop shaft to shorten in a bit. Once the propshaft was shortened and the end remachined, the new prop was installed. We've lost about .5 knot in motoring speed but, it is a sailboat after all. With the Martec, there is hardly any prop walk, making it easy to back out of my slip to starboard. While the boat was hauled out, we had the bottom faired and a racing bottom sprayed on. PHRF ratings assume that you will install a folding prop, and you shouldn't be dinged. We saw a dramatic improvement in perfomance and have won a number of races and series with the new configuration.

Stu Coleman

sailingfool 05-22-2006 06:16 PM

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There are a variety of things to do to optimize your 331 to its rating, but you should first have a good idea of how the area handicapper deals with modifications. PHRH_NE has a pretty thorough writeup ( ) as to NE area adjustments. A 6 second penalty for a folding prop is a no-brainer. However, trying to make a 331 model into a race boat by changing it piece-by-pieice is a losing proposition. If you what a race boat, sell the 331 and buy an performance boat like a First series or an older C&C or J or whatever. The 331 is a curising boat, you can dress it up, but it'll never be particularily good at getting out of its own way...and will race to its rating, only if optimized and on a good day.
Add a 155 genoa? Whoever buys the boat next probably won't want it, takes too much crew...
If you go in a direction such as an oversize main, the handicapper should give you a "no-brainer you lose" penalty as discouragement, because PRHF is intended to discourage expensive one-off modifications - they ruin the game for everyone else.

Good luck.

SailinJay 05-22-2006 09:45 PM

Wonder if he still cares after 2.5 years have gone buy since his post.

Trickyricky 08-29-2008 08:11 PM

It may be old but I found this thread very helpfull since I just purchased a 331 recently. I think a folding prop will be one of my first changes.

Thanks for the input


Robert Donaldson 05-03-2010 10:56 AM

Buy a Freedom. :)

jarcher 05-03-2010 10:45 PM

This is cool, a thread that comes back to life every few years...

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