Re: Full or fin keel?
BryceGTX must have missed my point. We all make tradeoffs to suit our needs. The cabin layout and storage space of our Clearwater 35 is less than that of an IP 35/350 (and many other 35 footers) but it is not "extremely" restrictive. Unless you needed the shoal draft, you would likely pass it over for a boat with a more conventional layout. We wish we didn't get shoal draft at the expense of interior space, but that's life. We--that includes my wife--like our boat overall and after 16 years aren't about to trade it in.
Having the boat at our shallow water dock about 150' from my front door is a lot more convenient and a lot less expensive than keeping it at a marina. The reality is that there is limited choice in ocean-capable boats that can come to our dock at a normal low tide (2.5' @ MLW). The Shannon Shoalsailer, the smaller Southerlies, the Seawards might get to our dock most of the time, or maybe some of the smaller catamarans. But, since we get to see our boat every day in season, looks matter. The Clearwater 35 is arguably one of the prettiest shoal draft boats in this size range and that matters to us
Comparing the Clearwater to an IP is apples and oranges. A clear differentiator between our boat and an IP--other than the interior space--is sailing performance. My Clearwater 35, as with most well-designed fin keel boats in this size category, will outpoint the IPs. Coming home to Mystic from Nantucket, Martha's Vineyard, Cuttyhunk, or Newport, this is the difference between sailing and motoring. This is very important to us--particularly my wife, who hates to motor.
Another factor is that anchorages are bigger when your boat can float in 2' of water. Cuttyhunk is one example, where the shallow end of the rental pilings is 4' at low water. Also, there are Cuttyhunk town slips with less than 4' that are the last to be taken on a busy weekend. And don't forget the increased opportunity for gunkholing, like in Hadley's Harbor.
I've seen my share of high winds, but unless we are talking off the wind, I'll stick with my Clearwater, which is much easier to control than the IPs I've sailed. I attribute this to the keel/rudder configurations--with the fin keel providing more responsiveness when needed. When it come to safety below in a seaway, the more confined space in my Clearwater becomes an advantage. When it comes to tropical storm weather, you won't get me out there on any boat, including the Mirabella V.