Originally Posted by smj
Since monohulls have the same chance of sinking as cats do flipping which would you rather be on? Plenty of people have been rescued of inverted cats, it makes for a great news story. The still floating cat also gives rescuers a visual to start their search, not the same with a sunk mono. Crews of inverted cats have been known to retrieve stores of their boats, not the same with sunk monos. Crews on cats have tied their liferafts of to the inverted boat with a long line, try that on a sinking mono!
If there was such a big risk of a cat flipping and lives being lost why do insurance companies consider cats to be an equal or better risk than a mono. Surely of all people they would know the risks?
If you build a cat and a mono without floatation of the same material then cats have a higher chance of sinking by any assessment, as they have two hulls. A breach in either hull will sink a cat if it's not compartmentalized or lacks positive floatation. There are many cats that have neither and they can, and have sunk commonly enough.
There are some silly comparisons of holed sunken monoís with inverted unholed multihulls that do the rounds. The types of arguments you posted above abound. They ignore all the other scenarios that occur in any SOLAS assessment and neither are they based on any sensible statistics based on well found crusing boats of both varieties.
Any Comparison should consider a matrix of possibilities with the variables being damaged , undamaged , knocked down or rolled and recovered, and knocked down permanently inverted and then holed and floating and holed and sunk.
Cats sink in collisions unless they are subdivided watertight, or have positive floatation. The same goes for a monohull. Itís disingenuous to use arguments that require one craft to be damaged to get a favorable comparison with another craft thatís undamaged albeit inverted (and also a wreck) .
Not only is an inverted cat a wreck itís an inaccessible wreck without risking your life further. Recently south of Kangaroo island South Australia in moderate sea conditions it took fit men 4 hours of repeated diving attempts just to get the EPIRB from the immersed bridge deck. That cat flipped after hitting a semi submerged object which it apparently 'tripped over'.
Inverted cruising cats in rough weather invariably kill most of their occupants because there is nothing proactive possible except finding and activating the EPIRB. Only people inverted in more benign conditions can sit on the upturned hull or dive for supplies or even make the hull in the first instance. Survivors of the wreck are often separated as they swim out shocked and disoriented into heavy seas. Even if they make the upturned hull the chance of remaining on it is slim and even tethers have been snapped and people lost. Others managed to wedge themselves into the escape hatch and watch others washed away one by one as they get exhausted.
Note that trimarans are better inverted survival platforms than Cats and events like the 'Rose Noel' are often taken as an indication that all inverted multihulls share the same characteristics. Cats immerse lower in the water and the entire bridge deck is not only usually awash but the inverted cat usually floats stern down.
As for people ignorant about the high rate of fatalities from cat inversion in heavy weather, I find it hard to believe that the detailed coroners reports and first hand accounts from these events are unknown. Escape hatches have not made much difference either. Anybody should be able to find several first hand accounts and coroners reports if they search.
Importantly the deaths were largely preventable had the skippers chosen to stop and lie to a drogue/sea anchor. I think it's important that cat operators should understand this and not try and rationalize away the risk of carrying on in heavy weather. The same is not true of self righting hulls of any description which intrinsically have a much lower level of risk.