I also have a swing keel and am new to sailing and have my boat in Charleston! I have a Beneteau
31 foot and it seems to sail great with the keel up. In fact I have only been offshore
once and that was the only time I left the keel down all day. With the keel up and one reef in the sail, it seems very safe in strong winds of 19 knots (strong to me). The heel was not excessive. I think the narrow iron swing keel on mine does not significantly affect the stability since with it up, it is still 2 feet below the waterline and the fixed part of the keel is much more massive.
We should get together and sail in some skinny water!