While 175 degrees of positive stability seems beyond belief for almost any boat, there are some items in his designs which Brent has described that do contribute to a higher limit of positive stability than might otherwise be expected. In other conversations, Brent has pointed out that his masts are also steel and that they are welded closed at the ends so they contain air and add inverted righting buoyancy. He also assumes that the pilot house will be dogged shut in heavy going and the volume of pilot house will also help right the boat.
Outbound, are you in Maryland ?
There was a great article in December 89 issue of Cruising world on the subject of capsize. It gives the stability curve of an older design as having positive stability to 180 degrees. It was common on those older, narrower, deep hulled boats . Don't know if the article was archived. It shows how a slightly heavier rig actually reduces the odds of capsize, as Bob pointed out on the origamiboats site. The article points out how, when a wave hits a boat broadside, it takes longer for the mast to be set in motion than it takes for the wave to pass. Target archers use this principle with long stabilizers on target bows.
The steel tubing we use for masts is 6 inch OD with an 11 gauge wall, 7.54 pounds per foot, only slightly heavier than a solid 6 inch fir, or the 5 1/2 inch by 8 1/2 inch by 1 1/4 inch wall box sections commonly used on boats this size. When we began using steel masts, the material for a steel mast was $300, an aluminium extrusion, $6,000. Only two boats have had their steel mast changed for aluminium. Both had much larger tubing, 6 5/8th by 10 gauge wall, 9.35 lbs per foot. Both said the difference would have not been worth it had they had the lighter 6 inch tubing. Both said the difference was minimal. People who have done Pacific crossings and circumnavigations with steel masts have not felt the need to switch to aluminium. Two are just finishing circumnavigations at the moment.
Bob confirmed this, when earlier in this thread, he mentioned a client who spent a fortune on a carbon fibre mast ,only to find the difference in sailing was barely noticeable. The numbers were impressive, the reality far less so.
Yes aluminium is better choice, if you don't have to give up a lot of cruising to pay for them. Used aluminiumn masts are becoming far more available and much cheaper, but if you don't have the money or the mast, a steel mast will get you cruising for the time it takes to find an affordable aluminium mast.
Maybe,like most, you wont feel the need to change it. Very few have.
My aluminium hatches are as watertight as the lid on a pressure cooker, making wheelhouse buoyancy a major factor in ultimate stability , not an option with sliding hatches.