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There are a few manufactures out there who have been building centerboarders for decades....Bristol, Hinckley, Tartan, Morgan Etc...
I own a Tartan 37 with a board, draft is 4'-2" and she can sail quite well with-out the board down. The CB gives her pointing ability, but no noticable stabilty gain.
If money is a great concern, look at an older Tartan 34 or a Morgan 34, both only draw about 3 1/2 feet with the board up.