I keep seeing reference to the Alberg 30 as a great single-handed offshore boat. Having spent gobs of time on these boats, I just don't get it. These boats have enormous weather helm, and don't track worth a darn. Upwind they are very poor in a chop or in big seas pitching themselves to a near stop and they are very prone to broaching in quartering and following seas. For their displacement they have limited carrying capacity due to their short waterlines. These are beefy boats to sail requiring large sail inventories and frequent sail changes to deal with the kinds of changing consditions one is likely to encounter on the kinds of trips being described above. Their short waterline and pinched transom make carrying a dinghy very difficult. But beyond all that, these boats just were not all that well built and they are now 40 or so years old. The ones that I have been on in recent years have been real wrecks, with the exception of a couple that had been taken apart, in the case of one, the rudder and rotted bulkheads replaced, internal stiffeners added in the bow and run, and both were generally upgraded and restored for racing purposes.
I also want to touch on the fractional rig discussion. Fractional rigs were the typical rig employed in small working watercraft and for cruising boats in the days before there were racing rules. For example go back and look at any of Alden or Rhodes' pre WWII cruising sloops or ketches, or small cruising boats like the Folkboat.
It was only with the advent of the CCA rule (and later IOR rule), which did not include the full overlap of headsails and spinnakers that masthead rigs became popular as CCA rule beaters. The masthead rig only existed because it could beat the popular racing rules of the 1950's through 1980's.
Its only when the rating rules went back to including all sail area in the rating calculation, that fractional rigs came back into popularity in race boats. They came back for the same reasons that they make sense on cruising boats namely a smaller more efficient sail plan, and greater ease of tacking and jibing, combined with the ability shift gears more quickly without doing sail changes.
Robert Gainer's experience with a superbly balanced fractional rig is more the norm than the exception.
Modern fractional rigs do not have jumper struts or running backstays. The exception to that is that offshore, some fractional rigged boats employ runners in very heavy going in the same way that cutters are forced to use runners for their staysails in heavy going. In the case of the Fractional rig the geometry of these runners are such that they do not need to be slacked and made up on each tack.
Today, many of the best of the current generation of cruising boat designers have returned to the fractional rig for its ease of handling. simplicity, lower cost, reduced stress on the hull and deck, and its ability to deal with changing conditions more easily. I am not sure how helpful this will be but below is an exerpt from a draft of an article that I wrote for another venue that talks about rigs.
"Cutter and Sloop rig
These are the most common rigs being produced today. In current usage these terms are applied quite loosely as compared to their more traditional definitions. Traditionally the sloop rig was a rig with a single mast located forward of 50% of the length of the sailplan. In this traditional definition a sloop could have multiple jibs. Cutters had a rig with a single mast located 50% of the length of the sailplan or further aft, multiple headsails and in older definitions, a reefing bowsprit (a bowsprit that could be withdrawn in heavy going). Somewhere in the 1950's or 1960's there was a shift in these definitions such that a sloop only flew one headsail and a cutter had multiple headsails and mast position became irrelevant. For the sake of this discussion I assume we are discussing the modern definition of a sloop and a cutter.
Historically, when sail handling hardware was primitive and sails were far more stretchy than they are today, the smaller headsails and mainsail of a traditional cutter were easier to handle and with less sail stretch, allowed earlier cutters to be more weatherly (sail closer to the wind) than the sloops of the day. With the invention of lower stretch sailcloth and geared winches, cutters quickly lost their earlier advantage.
Today sloops are generally closer winded and easier to handle. Their smaller jibs and larger mainsail sailplan are easier to power up and down. Without a jibstay to drag the Genoa across, sloops are generally easier to tack. With less hardware sloops are less expensive to build.
Sloops come in a couple varieties, masthead and fractional. In a masthead rig the forestay and jib originates at the masthead. In a fractional rig, the forestay originated some fraction of the mast height down from the masthead. Historically, sloops were traditionally fractionally rigged. Fractional rigs tend to give the most drive per square foot of sail area. Their smaller jibs are easier to tack and they reef down to a snug masthead rig. Today they are often proportioned so that they do not need overlapping headsails, making them even easier to sail. One of the major advantages of a fractional rigs is the ability when combined with a flexible mast, is the ability to use the backstay to control mast bend. Increasing backstay tension does a lot of things on a fractional rig: it tensions the forestay flattening the jib, and induces mast bend, which flattens the mainsail and opens the leech of the sail. This allows quick depowering as the wind increases and allows a fractional rig to sail in a wider wind speed range than masthead rig without reefing, although arguably requiring a bit more sail trimming skills.
While fractional rigs used to require running backstays, better materials and design approaches have pretty much eliminated the need for running backstays. That said, fractional rigs intended for offshore use, will often have running backstays that are only rigged in heavy weather once the mainsail has been reefed. The geometry of these running backstays typically allows the boat to be tacked without tacking the running backstays.
Masthead rigs came into popularity in the 1950's primarily in response to racing rating rules that under-penalized jibs and spinnakers and so promoted bigger headsails. Masthead sloops tend to be simpler rigs to build and adjust. They tend to be more dependent on large headsails and so are harder to tack and also require a larger headsail inventory if performance is important. Mast bend is harder to control and so bigger masthead rigs will often have a babystay that can be tensioned to control pumping and to induce mast bend in the same way as the geometry of a modern fractional rig. Dragging a Genoa over the babystay makes tacking a bit more difficult and slower. While roller furling allows a wider wind range for a given Genoa, there is a real limit (typically cited 10% to 15%) to how much a Genoa can be roller furled and still maintain a safely flat shape.
Cutters, which had pretty much dropped out of popularity during a period from the end of WWII until the early 1970's, came back into popularity with a vengeance in the early 1970's as an offshore cruising rig. In theory, the presence of multiple jibs allows the forestaysail to be dropped or completely furled, and when combined with a reefed mainsail, and the full staysail, results in a very compact heavy weather rig (similar to the proportions of a fractional rigged sloop with a reef in the mainsail). As a result the cutter rig is often cited as the ideal offshore rig. While that is the theory, it rarely works out that the staysail is properly proportioned, (either too small for normal sailing needs and for the lower end of the high wind range (say 20-30 knots) or too large for higher windspeeds) and of a sail cloth that makes sense as a heavy weather sail or which is too heavy for day to day sailing in more moderate conditions. Also when these sails are proportioned small enough to be used as heavy weather sails, these rigs will often develop a lot of weather helm when being sailed in winds that are too slow to use a double reefed mainsail. Like fractional rigs, cutter rigs intended for offshore use, will often have running backstays that are only rigged in heavy weather once the mainsail has been reefed. Unlike the fractional rig, the geometry of these running backstays typically requires that the running backstays be tacked whenever the boat is tacked.
Cutters make a less successful rig for coastal sailing. Generally cutters tend to have snug rigs that depend on larger Genoas for light air performance. Tacking these large Genoas through the narrow slot between the jibstay and forestay is a much harder operation than tacking a sloop. As a result many of today's cutters have a removable jibstay that can be rigged in heavier winds. This somewhat reduces the advantage of a cutter rig (i.e. having a permanently rigged and ready to fly small, heavy weather jib).
Cutters these days generally do not point as close to the wind as similar sized sloops. Because of the need to keep the slots of both headsails open enough to permit good airflow, the headsails on a cutter cannot be sheeted as tightly as the jib on a sloop without choking off the airflow in the slot. Since cutters are generally associated with the less efficient underbodies that are typical of offshore boats this is less of a problem that it might sound. Cutters also give away some performance on deep broad reaches and when heading downwind because the Genoa acts in the bad air of the staysail. "