Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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Nominations for top Shoaldraft Cruisers
There are a lot of ways to go here. If cost and appearance is important and sailing ability less important, there were large numbers of keel centerboard boats built during the 1960''s that would make good family cruisers and would be well below your maximum draft. Of course these boats are up in yeares and so maintenance costs will be comparatively high. Although these boats hold their resale values quite well, they are a little harder to resell than more modern designs and you are not likely to see a very large percentage of your expenditures on upgrades come back at resail time. They also tend to have less room than newer similar length boats.
If you were to go the modern boat route, Beneteau First series offers a really nice balance between good sailing ability, better construction than the other ''value oriented boats'' and clever interior layouts.Some of the smaller Beneteaus of the 1980''s and early 1990''s were available as centerboard boats. Others were available as either bulb or wing keels.
As some one pointed out Wing keeled boats can really get planted when they run aground. With all due respects to the Dashews, they are only partially correct if they said both wing and keel boats are hard to unstick. While there is some variation depending on the specific configuration of the keel, recent testing and in a separate insurance industry analysis results suggests that the easiest keels to unstick are bulb keels. Next comes short bottomed fins, followed by longer chord shoal draft fins, followed by full length keels and wing keels being nearly equally the hardest to unstick. Boats like the IP are a real bear to free when grounded and with their post hung rudders being basically the same depth as their keels, thier rudders are extremely vulnerable to damage. This is not a good choice if grounding is a concern to you.