I'd be interested to know from those who build/repair/understand rigging, if the following setup on a "bluewater" boat sounds correct:
Boat in this case is a 42 foot masthead sloop (modified fin keel and skeg hung rudder) of excellent reputation. All standing rigging is wire. But the following don't add up.
1.) deck stepped mast
2.) double spreaders (not swept back)
3.) all shrouds (uppers and lowers) connect to a large single chainplate each side in line with the spreaders.
4.) there are NO fore and aft lower shrouds
5.) it is a cutter rig with removable staysail stay
6.) standard heavy single forestay and single backstay
As I looked at the photos of this boat it struck me that it might be at a high risk for rig loss. This due to the fact that since the spreaders are not swept back creating a secure "tripod" to stabilize the rig there would be nothing much to stop the rig from going overboard if part of the rig failed. There are no fore and aft lower shrouds to keep the rig upright should part of the rig fail (headstay, backstay). All shrouds connect to one beefy chainplate. Why would someone design rigging in this way without any fore and aft lowers? Is there something I'm missing? These boats are known to cross many of the worlds oceans but I'm thinking whoa, without a keel stepped mast the rig depends on complete non-failure of just about any part of the standing rigging. I would have thought that due it being a deck stepped mast fore and aft lower shrouds should be mandatory.
...scratching my head.
Just curious, what kind of boat are you talking about?
While the configuration you describe is not the optimum or most bulletproof for offshore, I wouldn't necessarily rule it out for sailing anywhere... It's pretty much the same as I have on my boat, for example, except I have a baby stay to help prevent pumping, and I always put on the running backs when the breeze pipes up...
I replaced my single pair of chainplates with new that are considerably oversized. Properly engineered and constructed, I wouldn't worry too much about relying on a single chainplate, that's what many of today's boats with spreaders swept aft do, after all... I really don't like deeply swept spreaders for offshore anyway, they can be problematic when sailing deep downwind, inline spreaders are much friendlier, in that regard... Besides, even with a 3 chainplates per side, if you lose the uppers, there's a good chance the mast is gonna fold in half above the lowers, anyway, perhaps even with a keel-stepped rig... I believe that's what may have happened to Patrick Childress recently on his Valiant 40 in the South Pacific, when they lost their rig above the spreaders...
As always, tradeoffs... Sure, I like to have a pair of fore & aft lowers on my boat, but it's not gonna keep me from going offshore... Good maintenance and inspection of the rig is probably far more important, anyway... Using materials like Dyform wire, and mechanical rather than swaged fittings, is worth a lot, in my book...
One thing I do notice very often on boats with fore and aft lowers... It is exceedingly rare that the chainplates are properly aligned with the load of the shroud, anyway, which can negate much of their strength... To do so, one usually has to either angle the bulkhead they're attached to (which very few builders are gonna do), or bend the chainplate at deck level... I'm always surprised at the failure of builders on even boats of the highest caliber and bluewater reputation, to get this not-so-minor sort of detail right... And, 'correcting' the mis-alignment by throwing in a toggle is NOT the proper way to do it...
Now, don't get me started on some of the chintzy backstay attachment points I see on many production boats at The Shows, these days, and how unbelievably half-assed some of those arrangements might be, if you're thinking of sailing offshore... :-)
Yeah, I know, with swept spreaders the loads on the backstay are minimal to begin with, blah, blah... But I wish someone would tell some of the builders today, that U-bolts are NOT the same as chainplates... :-) Or, if they do insist on using u-bolts, can't they at least align them properly to the load? It's not like it's gonna COST more to do that, after all...