Keel/Centerboard boats have been sailed around the world. They really aren't much different to handle most of the time from a keeled boat. They have a bit more maintenance, since the centerboard pivot mechanism needs to be looked after, but also have a few advantages over a regular keel.
First, they can go in to more waters more safely than a keel boat—due to the reduced draft allowed by retracting the centerboard.
Second, they can alter the helm balance of the boat by adjusting the centerboard's position. Raising it slightly moves the center of lateral resistance aft, lowering it more moves it a bit forward. This can help reduce or eliminate any lee or weather helm issues a bit more easily than on a keel boat.
A centerboard boat often can have better windward performance than a shoal keeled boat with the same draft as it would have with the centerboard retracted, since the centerboard adds lateral plane area below the water.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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