Looking at 35-38'''' cruisers
I put her on the market right after I convinced my wife to let me go ahead and buy a new boat in late October/November of 2001. Pricewise - you will tend to do better in the fall since no one wants to fuss with a boat they''re selling, or pay for storage. Part of the reason I did OK on the new boat I think is that it was up for sale and unused all summer, and I caught the guy a week before he was due to be pulled for the season.
The centerboard is connected to a long wire pennant that comes up through the deck and connects via a pulley to a length of stout rope. You then use a winch (self tailing) with this rope to pull the centerboard up, and ease it to allow the board down.
For performance purposes, in general the board stays down except for broad reaches and running. Then, since it is no longer helping you it gets pulled it up to reduce wetted surface/drag.
It''s interesting to note that the boat actually sails pretty well to windward even with the board up, but you can definitely feel it "dig in" and point better with it down.
From a racing perspective, I found the board to be a hindrance sometimes. Basically you lose a couple of degrees of pointing ability. 99.5% of the time this doesn''t affect you, but a few times we had some of those "Grey Poupon" moments on the windward leg when we were a foot or less from another boat. That''s when the skipper of the other boat starts screaming at you to "quit sailing down on me" because he doesn''t realize you''re pointing as high as you can. Also you have to remember to put it up and down at the right times, something we didn''t always do (knock on the crew there, not the boat).
On the plus side for racing, where we race every week has some shallows. With that shoal draft I could (and did) take ANYONE downtown on coverage into the shallows. Never mind "we tack when they do", instead it''s "we tack when they run aground". Happened more than once last summer. I''m not eager about re-adjusting my mindset to a 7''11" draft; have to re-learn the bay.
For cruising, it opens up a few areas for you, makes more anchorages, slips, and moorings available, and gives you a little more peace of mind in unfamiliar waters. The thump of the centerboard pushing up is a far better early warning system for shallows then a solid keel slamming home and the boat jerking to a screeching halt. The sailing performance difference in regards to cruising is really negligible.
Overall, for cruising I found the centerboard to be a big plus.
I''m probably one of the more motivated spring sellers, since I''m not going to use this boat even if it hasn''t sold.