What are the critical modfications do you think he (we) should undertake first?
Put a pair of EPO rudders on the boat (either first or second generation), install a 6:1 double sided downhaul system, get Harken main and jib sheet systems if not already there, and put a bungee cord from the front crossbar to the diamond wires to keep the jib sheet from getting hung up. After that, the boat is more or less ready for nationals level racing. Not much else needed on these boats.
Zubie, this is great advice, except I don't believe that the EPO rudders are necessary, for your current level. If you are racing at a high level, then I would consider them necessary as they do help quite a bit.
And just my 2 cents about the shock cords.
Since I primarily race I stick to class legal options, which means Harrys method wont work for me. I can see where it has its advantages, and disadvantages, but its still not for me.
I have however made the class legal setup to work they way I think works best.
The biggest disadvantage to the class legal setup is wear and tear on the bungee, both from it being stretched while being used, and from sitting in sun getting UV damage during the winter.
The first thing I do is make a loop for the bungee clip on the trap wire to attach to. Then I jam the rest of the bungee through the hole in the lip. *For the front trap wire run the bungee to the rear of the boat. For the back trap wire run the bungee to the front of the boat. Doing this allows a larger radius for the bungee to curve and come out the lip hole.
Next: Instead of trying to fish the bungee through the eyelet that is attached to the hull lip (which is a PITA), I run the bungee over the eyelet get some tension on it, and tie a double overhand knot, then push it back up into the lip.
I do this for 3 reasons:
1. Its easy to do, you can do the whole boat in 15-20 min.
2. I can adjust the tension on the trap line by using only one knot, the bungee tends to stretch as the summer goes on..
3. I can easily remove the whole set up for winter without having to cut the bungee, and reinstall it in the spring without having to buy new bungee.