Here .. Pull this
Join Date: Jan 2007
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The keel is a pain in the butt to deal with, but you can probably fix it. You will have to run a new cable while the boat is in the water and then dive down and attach it. It's not too difficult, but if you can't do it yourself, it will cost a fair amount of money.
As far as safety goes...there should be some kind of locking mechanism to keep it down, so find it and see if it works. If the lock is there and operating, then it's not likely to come up while you are sailing.
I would be more concerned about the sails. Tape is not likely to hold for more than a few hours - days if you are very lucky. Sounds like you will need new sails.
Unless you are getting this boat for next to nothing (under 1000 dollars) then you are paying too much. Personally, I would keep looking for something a little smaller and in better condition. There are too many boats out there in good condition to settle for something that is going to be a headache.
The sails alone are going to cost you between 2 and 3 thousand dollars to replace, and it is a big crapshoot to buy a boat without looking at the hull when it is out of the water.
When you get up to 25 feet in length there are usually fittings that go through the hull somewhere, and you need to see them from the outside as well as the inside to assess their condition. There can also be problems with the fibreglass.
At the very least, if you don't haul it out, make sure that you sit on the boat in the water for a couple of hours asking the owner questions, doing anything to pass time. You want to determine if there are any leaks, so check the bilges as soon as you get there - mark where the water is - and then check again in a couple of hours.
Good Luck !