Having sailed fairly extensively on both a sloop
and a ketch, the ketch wins for shorthanding without a fight. The number of advantages (ability to outmaneuver the weather
before I go to sleep by dropping sail area early without sacrificing speed, smaller sails
which are more easily handled, sail redundancy in case of rigging
more balancing options which increases safety
and lastly the heavy weather
performance/safety options are simply incomparable) simply crush the disadvantages (a slight loss of top end speed, a minor-but-significant-enough-to-discuss rigging
cost increase and perhaps less windward ability...perhaps).
The tall sloops are the race
winners, that's for sure. But people sometimes lose perspective on what's important in a cruising sailboat. We all know that a Lamborghini will outrun a Toyota Prius every time they engage. There are simply no circumstances where the Prius can win. But!
You don't want to commute in a Lamborghini for a few reasons, not the least of which is fuel
economy. There are also good reasons to go with a Volvo
instead, as they're ridiculously safe in collision
testing, even though their fuel
economy isn't as good as the Prius.
Top end performance isn't the be-all, end-all of cruising sailboat criteria. It probably doesn't even enter the top ten, let alone the top five.