I don't like deck
stepped masts. Having said this I have to confess I have a boat with a deck
and can find nothing wrong with this. I guess my bias comes from having had keel
stepped masts for twenty years. There's pros and cons, some say if the rig fails it's better to be deck stepped then you can heave the works over the side. With my keel
stepped boat I've taken the mast
down about 30 times(winter storage
and going through the NY State Canal System) and it's easier with a keel stepped, undo everything, go to the crane, and pull the stick out. On the other hand with my deck stepped boat I don't intend to ever unstep the mast, but if you do, you have to make sure you're fast to the crane before you undo the shrouds. If I liked a boat I would not let the fact that the mast was deck stepped deter me. In the final analysis the rig is designed to do what it has to do, deck stepped or keel stepped I don't think there's a lot of difference.