Thank you! I am so glad I found someone with this boat; apparently the manufacturer is out of business.Yes, the sand is ballast. I removed it (175lbs) and replaced it with 350 lbs of lead for Long Island Sound. I put a beam across the boat under the deck, under the mast and supported it on the ends with vertical wood struts. I filled all the storage and cavities with foam. Improved rigging, sails, installed large cockpit drains, etc.