Hi Sam -
I never really know what another person's definition of "bigger water" is, but we've experienced a range of big sea conditions as we've put more than 3,000 miles under the keel of our non-stabilized Cheoy Lee 46. The most significant bodies of water we've crossed are the Strait of Juan de Fuca (couple dozen times), Strait of Georgia and Queen Charlotte Strait. We've been out in small craft advisories with 6-8 foot chop, and registered 55mph wind head on once.
Worst situation we ever encountered was crossing the entrance to Hood Canal with 45mph winds on the port beam against a flood tide. Fortunately that was only for a few miles between headlands, but I was very pleased with how the boat handled those nasty conditions. We were constantly heeled over about 10 degrees (more on the bigger gusts) while smashing into oncoming waves at a 30-degree angle. This was the only time we've ever had green water over the bow. The way she tracked felt very similar to the way my full keel sailboats performed in similar circumstances. It was a very crazy 15 minutes (with my wife braced near the galley, keeping the Christmas tree from falling over!), but I never felt like we were even close to being out of control. Essentially, that one stretch gave me a great deal more confidence in our boat.
That being said, she's a very round-bottomed girl and she will wallow beam-to-beam given the right conditions. Of which, we avoid those moments like the plague. Around here (Olympia to Alaska) I am not at all hesitant about going anywhere with her, although as you might surmise we are "weather window watchers" and don't want to tempt fate. We have considered running down the coast to do the Columbia River from Portland to Idaho, and of course would be very careful when offshore.
When we talk about the potential of cruising Mexico someday (the CL46 LRC has a good 2,500 mile range), I would *probably* think about some form of stabilization. But based on our 5 years worth of experience so far aboard this vessel, it would not be necessary.