Should I put a carbon rig on my new sportsboat?

Ben Hall answers...
Ben Hall joined Hall Spars & Rigging in 1984. The resident speed freak, Ben races the A-Class catamaran, and is a three-time North American champion. His envelope-pushing masts have led to tooling innovations for a wide range of craft. He is also Hall's leader in many development classes, including the maxZ86 and America's Cup rigs. Hall Spars & Rigging manufactures high-performance, autoclave-cured carbon fibre masts, booms, spinnaker poles, and reaching struts for boats from 40 feet LOA to Super Yachts. Hall Spars & Rigging introduced autoclave curing to spar making in 1992, and lead the industry in tonnage of autoclave-cured laminates. Hall’s knowledge, experience, and processes are unrivalled. Hall’s 100% autoclave curing has no equal when it comes to ensuring strength by eliminating voids and optimising fibre straightness. With factories in the U.S. (20-meter autoclave) and Holland (40-meter autoclave), Hall creates spars for clients around the world. Hall is the provider of spars to Alinghi, Swiss Challenger for America¹s Cup 2003. Iain Hall asks: I'm close to placing an order for a 40 foot sportsboat (SA/D about 29 and 4 tonnes displ). I'm contemplating whether it would be better to order the boat with a carbon/pbo rig, in order to further optimise performance. Is it likely that the cost benefit ratio will make sense, bearing in mind a likely rating hit? Dear Iain, In the ideal world, there's no question that a sportboat deserves a light rig. In the real world, you'll have to consider your budget and rating rule before making a decision. The budget decision is straightforward: If you're on a tight budget, aluminum may be your only choice. The rating issue is a bit more complicated, you need to look at how the rule treats carbon. With some rules, such as IMS, carbon is rated fairly. The mast is weighed, its center