Undoubtedly two of the most important characteristics of a Rib are speed and flexibility, to which the excellent handling in difficult conditions is due.
However, to achieve optimum handling, we first need to ensure that the Rib is suitably set up. Even if we are the world's best master with the best boat in our possession, our handling on a rough sea will be doubtful if the setup is not proper.
It's not possible to expect the boat to perform well in bad weather if the engine has been mounted very high or the propeller is too long. No matter how capable and experienced we are, we're bound to end up disappointed.
Concerning the engine mounting height, we must to have as a basic principle that the deeper the lower unit in the water is the greater the thrust, and the better the response at low rpm will be. This also ensures higher angles of trim, giving us maximum control of our bow. Therefore we are able to keep it in the right relationship with the dominant type of wave formations in each case.
As far as the propeller is concerned, we need to choose the right 4- or 3-blade propeller with a large diameter, a short pitch and the highest cup possible.
This combination ensures the best possible thrust, great acceleration at low rpm and maximum grip which are all essential when travelling on rough seas.
Just remember that to climb a tall wave we need as much thrust as possible to overcome the high level of resistance; mounting the engine low on our transom and using a large diameter propeller guarantees that. The great acceleration a short pitch propeller gives will be very useful since we'll need to avoid the peaks of waves crashing into the boat, and in general will increase the flexibility and speed of our manoeuvres, which is really important, and one of our greatest weapons against the heavy weather.
So low your engine (this would be a great use of power lift), change your propeller to one with a larger diameter and shorter pitch (anyway you should always have a second propeller on board) and get ready to face the sea respectfully!