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Old 12-31-2006
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SailorMitch SailorMitch is offline
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The depth restriction you face is fairly common here on the Chesapeake. In part, you need to consider how big of a boat you want. These days, people start with boats 30-40 feet quite often, so don't be afraid of getting in over your head. You already are looking at some boats with center-boards, and that is a definite way to go. Also look for boats with winged keels. I've owned 2 Pearsons with wings and think they are great on the Chesapeake.

Frankly, a boat to look at is what I currently sail -- a Pearson 33-2 (meaning the 1986-1991 models.) The earlier models have keel/centerboards that draw under 4 feet. The later models come with a wing keel that draws 4'2". I sail out of the Patapsco and do a lot of gunkholing, so shoal draft is important to me. And yes, I run aground at least a couple of times a year and have always gotten the boat off the bottom by myself, usually in very short order.

Other boats to look at that come with K/CB's are Ericsons and Sabres. Lots of coices out there to fit your needs.
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