Question: Can you explain the standing rigging configuration on the Antares 44?
Answer: The “simple” explanation for the rig is that the two sets of diamond shrouds are provided purely to keep the mast itself from bending under the variety of loads experienced with different sail configurations and sets. They allow the mast section to be kept to a practical minimum size. The diamonds cross in the middle to avoid having to carry vertical wires from one spreader to the other and then down on to the deck.
That option (vertical wires) is often seen in monohulls where it is not particularly problematic, but if we did it, there would be a major obstruction on deck immediately in line below the spreaders. Looking around in a marina, you could see a number of 1, 2, 3, and even 4 spreader rigs, those above 1 being primarily on monohulls. Some multihulls have single spreader configurations, hence no “crossings”. The engineering of their spars is possibly done to different parameters.
The 44 mast was engineered by Selden with the stipulation that we required a single set of shrouds and a single forestay, plus we expected the spar to stand, regardless of conditions, and remain as light as possible. It could have been done more cheaply I suspect but we have never lost a spar and the simplicity of the primary support is worth achieving. You may brag that the Antares 44 vessel has “double diamonds” and hint at a racing heritage.
As catamarans do not heel but rather “stand to the wind”, the rigging loads are approximately 33% greater than a monohull. For this reason we need rigging sizes more commonly seen on 60′ monohull vessels. The shrouds are 5/8″ Dyform wire which is a premium cable that has been consolidated down to that size, making it considerably stronger than 5/8″ conventional wire. Without it, the wire and turnbuckles would have been 3/4″, about the size and weight of a large cruise vessel. This site has a good diagram; http://www.sailingservices.com/standrigging/prod_1x19wire.htm