Try the link above for more info on the Newports. When I looked at the site there was a description of a shoal keel as well as the regular one. 3'6" would be about right for a shoal keel but I couldn't find the actual spec for it. As for a Newport the answer would be "it depends". What are your cruising grounds and how do you want to sail the boat? If you are in Puget Sound and the using the boat in the summer you'll be fine. If your sailing on the Oregon coast in winter I'd find another boat. You will need a very good surveyor. Newports were built to a price point. They are notorious for leaks around chanplates, deck fittings etc. The last two Newports I looked at had rot on the bottom edge of the main bulkheads and in the deck core. I am handy enough to do the needed repairs but I decided against it because in the end no matter what I did to the boat it was just a Newport with a (deserved) reputation for being built cheap. That was me, your deck leaks might have already been fixed and the boat would be a good sailer to learn on and enjoy cruising. If you like the boat, it surveys out well, and your doing primarily summer coastal cruising, go for it! It will be a fun and nice sized boat for you.