It's actually pretty stupid IMHO to recycle HIN MICs. But with three places and 26 letters, you only have about 17000 total combinations.
All good info. One thing I'll add is that the USCG will recycle HIN builder codes if a builder has shut down.
If we could find a list of recycled builder codes, or an HIN registry from the early '80s, we should be able to give this fellow an answer.
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.
—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)
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Still—DON'T READ THAT POST AGAIN.