The 'Prout' rig has actually been used by a number of builders of serious cruising cats over the years (including my own Solaris Sunstream 40) and has the following advantages:
1. The mast is stepped at the aft coachouse bulkhead, likely the strongest athwartship point in the hull.
2. All lines are essentially 'led aft', as the halyards etc. automatically terminate at the foreward end of the cockpit
3. The substantially smaller mainsail
permits easier hoisiting without the need for electric
4. The larger foretriangle permits a 'solent' or cutter
rig, with a dedicated staysail stay further inboard, as it should be. On my boat I have a pre-rigged staysail that is of much heavier and flatter design and construction than one would want on a furling genoa
or working jib
5. Furling foresails are easier to reef (and much cheaper to rig) than furling mainsails.
6. Less reliance on the main means that they are often cut with less roach - this permits my boat to have two backstays
instead of none ( as well as four shrouds, the forestay and the staysail stay - decidedly stronger!). It eliminates one of the insurance
industries concerns about catamarans - that they lose their rigs more readily than most monohulls.
7. Because it is not a fractional rig with a reduced foretriangle, and because of the ability to fly two foresails, the mast can be lower. This in turn lowers both the center of gravity and the center of effort, increasing stability.
Now for the negatives:
1. It is more difficult to tack a genoa
through the gap between the forestay and staysail stay (although on my boat, there is a about a 7 foot gap at the foot of the sail).
2. Windward performance of the rig, as with any cutter or other lower profile rig, is less efficient.
3. Large, flat-top mains are fantastic sails
in reaching conditions - and again, will typically outperform a cutter rig.