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Dan, from Solare's firsthand experience with them apparently it is not a deal breaker. Still, I've found that when something is "built to a price" that the builders don't waste a lot of money on things that have no value, i.e. centerboards. Someone must have thought it does something.
You'd have to bum a ride on the same model, board up and down, to see how you feel about that up close and personal.
I'd factor in the cost of repairing it (haul, grind, line, maybe bearing?) and whatever surprises might be in there. Glassing it over sounds like a somewhat overpowering way to make sure it just never needed routine cleaning and antifouling in there.
But when you mention "capsize" that's something else entirely with a centerboard boat. My impression is that fixed keels have always been preferred for crossings where a capsize might happen, simply because a centerboard may become a guillotine slicing into the hull during an inversion. Or at least, a rather rude loud noise.
For shoal waters they certainly serve a purpose though!