I wrote my comment, as it was my take that someone following the diagram to put together a preventer might go wrong, perhaps seriously wrong, if following the diagram.
You are right, in my understanding, to take your preventer line to the bow as, among other attributes, it gives by far the most forgiving angle to absorb loads which may be asked of it. The diagram has lines to the bow and to amidships. It sounds like we all agree that the preventer should go to the bow. It also sounds like there is general agreement to take the preventer to the end of the boom. This is in contrast to the diagram where the attachment point is well away from boom end. In my comment I was referring to the diagram and only the diagram, at least as I interpreted it and only to those aspects I considered problematic.
Your defense of using the toe rail may be completely warranted when the toe rail in use is at the bow and the forces are significantly softened by the advantageous angle, as you accurately noted. There is the added benefit of the load being largely in shear to the fasteners, hopefully bolts, that are securing the toe rail.
I, however, was only referring to the use of the toe rail as depicted in the diagram. In the diagram the pennant goes from the attachment on the boom to a snatch block on the toe rail near amidships. (This loads the fasteners at their weakest: eg not in shear.) This amidships position escalates the forces dramatically. The angle of this pennant to the amidships toe rail is quite dis-advantageous compared to the one you refer to when taking the line to the bow: the forces would be similarly quite different. For the vast majority of the time, these forces are pretty minimal and easily handled. However, when the forces are generated by the onset of an uncontrolled gybe that you wish to prevent, (or dipping boom end in the water) the shock load forces will be momentarily huge. Many toe rails are aluminum extrusions and are not designed to take those kinds of loads in that direction. There are few toe rails that can tolerate that shock load and I write, in part, to discourage readers from thinking that they can use their amidships toe rail to stop an uncontrolled gybe.
Similarly, I would discourage any boat from having their preventer go to any location but the end of the boom: I believe a mid-boom attachment of a preventer is a recipe for a broken boom.
Those are the major caveats I have to following the diagram.
And Bill, I very much support your comments that for an offshore boat; that having an easily deployable preventer line is an important safety item and, in my casual observations, is too little used.
Let me also say a couple of words about your aside that I am (possibly) alarmist and overly influenced by the John Harries’ Attainable Adventures Cruising web site. When I write about procedures and gear and design for cruising safely, I am writing for offshore voyaging boats. As such, my focus is on what is in the reasonable realm of possibility in a boat at sea for a couple of weeks or two or longer. I do not want a boat fully prepared at all times for the worst possible scenario, a hurricane for instance, but I do try to write for those possibilities that do occur with some degree of regularity on a passage making boat. For a preventer system, that would include an unplanned gybe in winds of 20-30kn caused either by a passing nighttime squall and wind shift or by helmsman inattentiveness. It is for that degree of safety that I write for, that gear should be designed for and for which I believe every offshore boat should be prepared to deal with at all times
My take is that John, and generally the AAC contributors, write their articles and comments with a similar degree of carefulness in mind. And although I have disagreed with John and AAC at times, I do not find the site alarmist and that when it comes to engineering and assessing systems, such as the loads being discussed above, they are quite accurate.
That said, lets move away from talking about people and judging their motivations, alarmist and otherwise, and look to the specifics of what makes for a solid preventer system.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy