Note: I started this post on 7/7/2011 but didn't actually finish it until 1/24/2012.
A few races into the season have proven a couple things. First, I know how to cruise my boat but racing is a whole other story. Second, Jep doesn't do all that well when trying to point high into the wind.
One addition I was planning on completing next season but accelerated the purchase TODAY was an adjustable backstay system. Depending on wind and sea conditions, having an adjustable backstay can give you a significant advantage in a variety of situations. Specifically, it aids the boats ability to point.
After studying and playing with a number of backstay systems on various boats I race against, I opted to go with a block and tackle backstay. I purchased a Ronstan Series 50 multipurpose block, a Ronstan Series 40 fiddle block, another Ronstan Series 40 fiddle block with a becket and cam cleat, 5/16" New England Sta-Set line with red fleck and 3/8" New England Sta-Set X double braid. The whole system cost about $200 (including an eye splice).
The system has worked wonders for my ability to point! I was blown away the first race I loaded up the backstay. Boats that I could never hang with were now in reach. If you currently have a fixed backstay system, I highly recommend installing a simple system like mine. See the pictures below.