I think it's a little more complicated than just your cruising grounds. If you are buying a used boat, and you find a great one, but it has a shoal draft, do you skip it or buy it even if you don't NEED shoal draft? If you are a racer you skip it. If not, then what?
Do you ever anchor out, or anchor and swim off the boat? The shoal draft will allow you to get closer to shore.
If you really value performance, the shoal draft won't point as high. Is that going to bother you?
For me personally, my last boat had a deep draft (5' 2"). My current boat has shoal draft (4' 6" or so). My last boat would point higher. My current boat allows me to anchor 20' off the beach.
I wasn't looking for a shoal draft boat. In fact, the listing on my boat stated it had the fin keel (5' 6" draft). When the boat was hauled for the survey I told the surveyor that the keel looked like the shoal draft version (wider and shorter). He took his tape measure and measured it at 4' something. The owner said something was wrong, she KNEW it was the deep keel. The surveyor gave her the tape measure and said "measure it yourself." It IS the shoal draft.
I still don't know which one I like better, but I have the shoal draft.
Day To Remember, 1986 O'day 35 For Sale
Deep Blue C, 2002 C&C 110 For Sail
Mt. Sinai, NY
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