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It's very important that it locks in the down position especially in heavy weather because if you have a knock-down and the keel slides up into it's bay, it will take considerably longer for the boat to stand up again.

I also fear the reality of the keel being seriously damaged in a grounding (having lost a fixed-keel boat through that once before) but then I guess that fear could just be due to unfamiliarity with the workings of a drop-keel.
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