Originally Posted by Jeff_H
This is strictly my opinon, but here goes, while double (or more)spreader rigs make sense on race boats, really big boats, and boats which are dependent on overlapping headsails, they do not make much sense on cruising boats. Double spreader rigs are much harder to tune and maintain, with more parts to fail. In my mind, cruising boats should be simple and reliable. The main advantage of a double spreader rig is allowing a narrower shroud base, and/or a smaller mast section. If the design is arranged so that the boat does not need to use larger overlapping (the shrouds) headsails, the spreaders can be wide enough to get plenty of mast support without double spreaders and the boat will be a better cruising boat.
Jeff, I find these comments interesting as our Bristol 45.5 has single spreaders in spite of having a very tall mast (just fits ICW) and a working displacement of around 40,000 lbs. We sort of stand out from other older cruising boats in the 43-47 foot range that we have seen that all have double spreaders. We certainly have a large, overlapping genoa, even the #2, but do have an enormous mast section. I never question Ted Hood's design ideas and in this case, as in just about everything on the boat, it works. We even point quite well with the 12' board down.