I live in south Florida and I am currently considering a sailboat for trips to the Bahamas and possibly in the future farther Caribbean islands. One boat I came across that I am considering is a 1976 Tartan 37. I was very high on this boat until I was told that the centerboard no longer drops and has been glassed over. It is now in a constant 4' 2" draft.
How much does this affect the performance, comfort, safety, and construction of the boat? Also, Does it make it significantly less seaworthy? Would the boat be likely to capsize in heavy weather?
I am also considering a late 80's Tartan 31 with Schoal draft 4.5'. Would this be a better choice?
I'm not a designer, and I'm not even very smart, but I wouldn't buy a boat that was designed and built with a centerboard that someone later glassed over. It's kind of like when people ask me about increasing the sizes of their standing rigging when it's time for replacement. I usually tell them that someone a lot smarter than me and them designed it that way for a purpose and it has served well for many years. Why change it?
Bob Perry, a well known and respected yacht designer has recently joined our ranks and I bet he would be able to answer your question more intelligently. You might want to send him a PM.