Thanks for the replies. I guess I wrote that incorrectly. I reefed while hove to. If the are 8' swells and they are breaking;
1) I will not be out in a catalina 22.
2) If I get caught in them while out I will be actively sailing to survive.
I think I understand the dynamics of the sails a little better now. Let me run this by anyone to see if I am right;
Catalina 22 with Mainsail and 90 working jib.
As the wind increases, the mainsail overpowers the jib shifting the point of effort aft. This causes the boat to try and round up into the wind (weather helm) and makes it impossible to balance. By reefing the main, the mainsail more closely matches the power of the jib, allowing the boat to balance. Furthermore, the luff is shorter and therefore lower, shifting the power producing part of the sail more towards the lower, center of the boat.
It would seem that the #1 word regarding sailing is balance. So, at what point is a storm trysail used? What balances against that?
I understand why modified full keel boats like Tritons, Albergs and such heave to more efficiently than a fin keel, or in my case a swing keel. The shear mass of what is below the waterline would dictate a larger and more effective slick. I am actually suprised that my C-22 heaves to at all given the small amount of hull that is actually under water. I think with a big enough outboard this thing would actually plane.....