This is a very contentious issue as I'm sure you know! As a mainly Solent/Channel Sailor, it would be impractical for me to have a cat. Plus I've always thought they do not look right - until recently. I've always thought Hobies were fun mind you.
BUT, if I was racing across the Atlantic to live the good life in sunnier waters, and I could afford it I would now give serious consideration to a cat. The modern designs seem to be able to fit all the cruising kit, acres of space and still sail v.fast downwind, and not too shabbily upwind e.g. the Catana range seem to be excellent long distance blue water cruisers (quite a few entered the last ARC). And if I was actually living full time on a boat, or for most of the time (as I hope to do one day) I would need space for e.g. study/office, workshop, sleeping cabins, davits for RIB, lots of tankage, aircon, watermaker etc. etc.
I suspect the "no heeling" is very popular with families too.
Some years ago I sailed from Gib to the Canaries in a Snowgoose 37. It was a very comfortable boat and most of the time there was little or no wind so we had to use power for much of the time. However one night it did blow up to about a force 6, we had both wind and waves on the beam and the motion was very unpleasant. We were a long way from land and I was acutely aware that these things can flip over! Give me a good heavy monohull every time!!!
Prout have built over 4000 cats. Only 2 have flipped, one because owner modified hulls with keels and the other was being raced. Can't get a much safer boat than that. And yes families prefer not to sail with a 20 degree list. Not many sailors have one leg shorter than the other to compensate!
I'm a Prout owner, but even I dont believe the "only two" comment. Particularly since most of the 4000, I believe, are the earlier small narrow cats.
When I was searching the market for a cat to buy, I only found one seller who was going back to a mono - and his reason was the difficulty of handling a cat single handed in a marina. I can vouch that that is a pain, particularly with a central drive leg.
Of course they can turn over, but I have never understood why sailors are so obsessed about that one point. Mono's can sink (and do) whilst a modern cat is unsinkable. As far as I can tell, the chances of either happening are similarly remote, but I know which I would prefer - clinging to an upturned cat, or watching my mono sink from the liferaft.
And to put another story to rest - I have never, in 5 years cat sailing in the UK, from Burnham to the Bristol Channel, ever paid any extra for a marina berth above the mono length rate. People ask, but a firm response always wins out. Story different in France, mind you.
In summary, and from experience:
pain in confined spaces like marinas
dont go very well to windward in a chop
not a good day sailer / weekender
expensive to buy
safety (no heel, good working platform)
bit faster - but not a lot
good ride, good at anchor
I'd only go back to a mono if I was going back to single handed day sailing, or racing
I could not relax sailing a cat in this part of the Med. The sudden changes in weather would make a cat a liability I believe.
But given a 100k budget for a dream around the world voyage I would seriously think about a modern GRP version of a classic Wharram cat. 50 ft low profile hulls and no bridge deck. This would be a real go anywhere survival machine in view of the submerged container threat.
I've not sailed cruising cats,but used to race Shearwaters as a lad.Great fun for going fast in a straight line [point & squirt] but close quarter tactics? Forget it.I assume a similar situation applies to cruising cats, not much fun to tack up a narrow or busy river.
I have been prejudiced against them since the day I was on my mooring and a Catalac tried to go past with one hull either side.SWMBO was in the heads at the time, never seen her move so fast!
Have sailed Canaries-St Lucia on a Prout 45 and a Beneteau 38.
Loved living on the cat (home from home) but prefared sailing on the mono.
Found the motion underway on the cat awful and unpredictable compared to the lightweight,passage time was faster on the mono.
Mono was relativly cramped,did not have the space for all the toys the cat could accomodate.
Significant factor for me was lack of ''sailing feel'' on the cat and high cost of purchase.
Just my own opinion
I own a Fountiane Pajot 43' Belize. Of course I am baised toward the french manufactured cats. However I can say that I researched the issue of firstly whether to buya mono hull or a cat, and secondly whcih cat to buy.
I looked at the South african, French and other options and chjose the french because I feel they have innovated in terms of cat design. I chose FP because it suited my application. I think the Catana is a better boat, but twice the price.
I live in Spain and keep my boat on the Costa Blanca 60km south of Alicante. If you are ever in this area you would be welcome to visit and go for a sail.
Yes, you do pay more for moorings in the med. This is the one undeniable negative. I pay 50% premium for my permanent berth.
However, I would say the positive aspects far outweigh this one down side. Maybe if you are a confirmed traditionalist or hooked on mon hull racing you may wish to sstay with a mono hull.
There are probably too many reasons to opt for a cat to list here.
Shall be in your part of the world early May. Any chance I could give you a call and pick your brains on the subject of cats. I am looking for a good med live-aboard and the choices are mind boggling, it would be nice to get it right first time. My E-mail is email@example.com.
I've got both, much prefer sailing the mono especially racing, tacks on a sixpence, points well and is generally easy to handle.
For weekending the cat eats it. I can take unlimited friends (both in quantity and morals), booze, and get to where I'm going and back quickly. This is an added safety factor when the weather suddenly changes.
It's a lot harder to fall off when you are drunk as it doesn't rock around too much at anchor. I have lost a number of friends temporarily off the side of the mono at anchor after a few ales but never the cat. There's also plenty of space for horizontal folk dancing if need be.