Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: New England
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Easy way to tell if it has an iron keel...bring a magnet along... if it is lead, the magnet won't stick or be attracted to it...if it is cast iron, it'll stick pretty well.
I'd recommend you read the Boat Inspection Trip Tips thread I wrote as it will help you get an idea of what condition this boat is really in and whether it is worth looking into further.
As for going bluewater with it... I wouldn't do that, at least without some fairly heavy modifications to the boat. It wasn't designed as a bluewater cruiser AFAIK
. It could probably do it, given the proper weather window, but it certainly isn't going to be ideal for such a passage.
As for the Bahamas, a 5' draft will require you to be extra vigilant in your reef passages and while sailing the banks, but should be doable. At least one friend of mine has done the Bahamas in a deeper draft boat than that.
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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.