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I have a problem with too much "book learning" and not enough practical experience. My husband and I just bought a Hunter 26 with water ballast last year and we sail the Chesapeake (or, a small part of it at the moment). My problem is that I know darn well that water ballast cannot possibly provide good ultimate stability because it''s located so high in the boat compared to a "real keel." Therefore, as soon as the boat really starts to heel (say more than 10 degrees), I''ve got an adrenaline rush and I''m letting the main out just as fast as I can, or worse yet, furling the jib altogether and sailing under main alone. I need to get over this because I know I''m sacrificing speed and performance. Yet, put me on a Beneteau 505 (BVI charter) with a couple tons of iron under the water and I could care less.
Does anyone out there have a realistic idea of what it takes to knock down a water-ballasted boat? If anyone has actually experienced it, I''d love to know the conditions you were in and what happened afterward. Or, if my paranoia is justified, that news would be just as welcome.