Actually, on a fractional rig, it can be more dangerous, since the mast may not be supported at the point the forestay attaches to the mast. With a masthead rig, the backstay and forestay attach at roughly the same point on the mast and will oppose each other. As long as the rigging is in good shape, it really shouldn't matter much with either type of rig. The larger forces generated by a masthead rig's larger sail are offset by the fact that the fractional rig may lead to the mast pumping.
Originally Posted by Hartley18
It's probably safer (if it were ever in doubt) on a fractional rig in a blow than with a masthead rig because:
- The forces acting on the mast will be lower down (not at the masthead).
- Fractional rig headsails tend to be smaller than their masthead counterparts.
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