Re: How do you feel about catamarans?
I think I know the boat in Chicago. If she is the same, (she was at the same yard we had our boat in at the time) I heard it that she was bought out of a boat show, sent to Pensacola, had Randy Smyth do some rigging changes (does she have a carbon sprit with textile rigging and nets forward?), had the boat painted blue, and then she was sent up via the river waterways to Chicago.
It is my opinion that your observations are spot on. The new trends are for very open cockpits, massive flat windows, high booms, and enclosed panels under which important running rigging is run, and forward cockpits. All of which equal to me a very unseaworthy combination. Outremer seem to be the exception to that, at least in the new boats we saw at Miami. That said, a lot of these 'things' get across on their own bottoms so they can cross at least once.
Me, I bought an older boat, and even with her warts, I'm glad I did.