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  • home built Flica 37

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  • 28ft Skoota in British Columbia

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  • 36ft Mirage open deck catamaran

The following question was posted on the Multihulls Magazine bulletin board: Can someone give me some ammunition to throw at a monohull owner who swears that catamarans are much more dangerous than monohulls. He owns a 42-footer. I want him and his wife to charter a 40-foot catamaran in the BVIs and they say no way, that catamarans are far too likely to turn over. I know this is ridiculous, but I need some help. Anyone?

I replied: "Ask your friend to prove his assertion. Point out that NO cruising catamaran has ever capsized when under bare poles. Implication: cats that capsize have too much sail up - "driver error". Tell him about Bob Beggs - 4 Atlantic crossings in 26' open cats, yet capsized a Beneteau 38 monohull in Biscay and lost a crew member. Primarily you friend wants a SAFE boat, ie one that is not risky to sail. I feel the risks at sea are (in order): Personal injury, collision, rig failure, fire, structural failure, capsize.

I once crossed the Atlantic in a monohull that we had to pump every 20 minutes - on the same trip we had a major (electrical) fire and broke the forestay. My cousin was badly injured when she was thrown across the cockpit in the Caribbean on her monohull. Multihulls offer "no bruisin cruisin". It's very easy to fall overboard on a monohull (eg Eric Tabarly); very hard on a multihull. If he won't charter get him to go to the Multihull demo days so that he can try out some cats for himself. Ultimately one cannot answer someone with uninformed prejudice if they don't want to listen."

Remember that most charter boats in the Caribbean are now catamarans. Charter companies would not risk letting people (especially those who are inexperienced) sail dangerous boats.