Oh, forgot to touch on the CG question. You mention the heavy spars on a B32. This would be the aluminum spar I can lift by myself? And I'm no powerlifter. Ironically, I was moving the spar for a C&C 29 recently, and despite alleged improvements, and a smaller footprint, damned if the thing didn't actually feel noticeably heavier. Matter of fact, when I lowered the B32 mast I did it myself handling the rope by hand, but with the C&C mast, my dad and I were very nearly whipped by the 29's mast, and we needed to use one of the 29's winches to lower the thing to the ground. That sucker was a lot heavier now that I think about it! I'm wondering just how much lighter the spars are for the other boats. They can be made only so thin, and still have to be an appropriate length (and yes, I know there are some ways to get away with a slightly lighter mast, keel mounting being one way). Maybe I'm confused on the CG issue, but with 2 tons of lead in the keel (about as low as it can be placed) to constantly act on the righting moment, seems to me, the vertical CG would be pretty good (I'm also aware of the heavier decks due to an absence of balsa wood). If balsa had been used, the vertical CG would be slightly better, but not dramatically. Granted, I have seen one owner move his battery bank into the cabin to improve trim on a B32. I have actually moved one of these boats on a trailer, and there's no doubt (for me) where the weight and CG are.
The low companionway sill isn't just a B32 sin. It is, however, a relatively simple thing to remedy, and if going offshore, just another item on the "to do" list.
Now, on shifting gears.....how hard is it to pull back as conditions dictate? Are you saying that in the heat of the moment, when you're already in trouble, it's difficult to change gears? Reef points? Storm jib? Why? Because the boat is being tossed? Were the situations you've mentioned the result of racing a stock boat, where it really could have benefitted from some better equipment, i.e. racing equipment? Regardless, you're alive, and I take it the boat didn't sink, and you haven't mentioned anything about broken equipment since I popped in, so it must be a pretty decent little boat. That brings up an interesting question. Have you ever been in a sinker? What boat was it, if so, and what caused it?