Originally Posted by BarryL
I don't think there is any real significant advantage or disadvantage of deck stepped vs. keep stepped mast. Yes, a keel stepped mast is more likely to let rain water enter the boat, either through the mast or where the mast passes through the partners. However, a good mast boot will most most / all of the water. On the plus side, the keel stepped mast is probably stronger than deck stepped. It is also way easier to get the wiring from the mast into the boat (no connectors going through the deck). You don't need a compression post inside the boat.
The structural advantages of the KS mast seem a wash to me. And no offense, but those plus points seem a little dubious. Sure, once you put a mast-sized hole in your deck it's easier to get wires through, and yes, you don't need a compression post because you've got a much bigger post-like mast running through your cabin. Like saying chopping off your hand has removed the need for a glove.
But it does sound like the water thing--which was my only consideration--may be less than I thought. I might put that question out on the board separately.
I am indeed trying to move to a newer boat, but I'm also trying to keep an open mind. The "newer" desire is partly about design, etc. and also about trying to get a boat before water has gotten through the deck fittings, sun has had it's way with the gelcoat, and PO's have had less time to make questionable repairs, etc.