Well who knows if you bought one or not, but as this thread comes up in the first few hits on Google Ill toss in my two cents.
The centerboard was factory installed. The boards could be fiberglass or bronze. There might be a few steel ones that have been used for replacements after the fact. Bronze is preferred but it corrodes and bends if abused. Fiberglass shreds and absorbs water. I have not heard of a plywood board on one of these boats. Some boats have a block and tackle to handle the CB pennant, mine has a winch that I replaced the old tackle with and I like it better. These boats sail fine in calm waters without the board. I hardly ever use it, and it needs to be coaxed down anyway after all these years, its fiberglass and probably has absorbed water. Offshore to weather you would probably want it. You can also mess with the trim by adjusting the board up or down. Make sure the board is down if you want to sail an anchor out. The boat will be delighted to do this for you, just make sure you have all your ducks in a row up front with the anchor rode!!!!!
I dont know the exact specs but the boats are HEAVY! They have an easy motion in a seaway. They do not heel excessively. If the covestripe is in the water, your lugging sail. These boats are known for a heavy weather helm. I enlarged the rudder on mine and that helped, along with shortening the foot of the mainsail a few feet. The larger rudder is fine for shallow waters but would not do for offshore work. Most of the later boats were rigged as either a yawl or a ketch. Some were sloops or made into sloops when owners removed the mizzen. The mizzen in the yawl rig is more of a steering sail anyway. The rudder stock is bronze and impossible to locate a replacement. It breaks off right under the counter of the boat. Once that happens, you must either cast a new one yourself, or fabricate one out of stainless stock. I personally hate inboard rudders.
The machinery space is very cramped. Some boats had the stuffing box outside the hull due to space restrictions. Mine did. You would have to dive down to tighten it. They often had atomic 4s in them, as mine did before I tossed it.
Some of these boats are prone to blisters. Mine has them. The hull is so thick it probably does not matter. I fix a few every time I haul out. As stated elsewhere, the finish varies on these boats. Mine was one of the first few, produced by Glander himself, as far as I can figure out. Possibly hull number three or four. The quality of the original woodwork was excellent. Quality of materials are excellent. My boat has all bronze hardware, even the pulpit is bronze. The original spar was a wood box spar, but it suffered rot and had to be replaced with an aluminum one.
The interiours on these boats will be cramped by todays standards. These boats lack the freeboard of todays modern designs. Thats good since they dont compromise sailing ability. Mine has wide side decks that limit interiour space, but the later ones with the fiberglass deck and house, have narrower sidedecks, and a more workable galley then mine has, where it is crammed in the back of the cabin to one side. The fiberglass trunk cabin is ugly though. creative paint and trim work can help.
These boats sail great. They are very similar to the Finnisterre yawl and Doubloon, featured in Heavy Weather Sailing by Aldridge Coles I think.
How safe are they in heavy weather? Not inherently less safe then any other moderate design, and undoubtedly more safe then any number of fin keeled low wetted surface boats. I dont think laying ahull would be my choice. I think id want to keep her moving off the wind, possible with a drogue like the Jordan Series Drogue towed off one quarter. Id keep the board up since it is unballasted anyway.
In nicer weather these boats are perfect ladies. Faster then stuff like Westsails, and better looking (my opinion ^_^) and with shoal draft. (less space though) In calm weather you can row or even swim them around an anchorage. I routinely tow mine with a two horse dinghy engine from one side of the anchorage to another. Mine has no engine and is sailed through the anchorage and up to the mooring without a 2nd thought, with just the main, usually. The larger rudder helps a bit here. In strong winds I have sailed a beam reach with just the mizzen up at around a knot and a half.
The things to look out for are similar to other boats of this age and type.
Rudder stock. Check for pink discoloration that means dezincification.
The rudder blade on mine was attached via long drift pins into the stock.
Id want to check those pins by now.
Hull to deck joint. Bronze bolts probably corroded by now
Centerboard. check for binding, bent board if bronze.
Ballast. Some boats had iron ballast. thats less good then lead.
interiour. Check bulkhead tabbing to the hull. Ive seen some that were coming adrift.
In buying one of these boats, I would avoid anything that looked like it was built by an amateur. Too often they have to be gutted due to use of cheap materials and subpar woodwork.
There was a series of five or so AFT CABIN models built of these boats. These are VERY hard to find and dont come on the market often. They are very cute inside and the work was well done. There were built for an airline company. There are wheel steered. Most Tavanas are tiller steered.
These boats can still be found cheaply in S. Florida if you want a fixer upper.
there is one located by Gilberts Resort near the old Jewfish creek bridge as of 7-'10 that looks like it needs some loving. Some of them can be found tied up behind houses where their aging owners do not sail them any more.
I would rather have a Tavana then just about any similar monohull around.