I suppose you mean "Are cats as safe as monohulls when used for crusing?"
Comparisons may be hard because coming to grief on a mono usually means sinking (sometimes without a trace) while coming to grief on a cat usually means floating around on the upturned cat. Both low probability events
, but one is much more severe than the other. I do think that mono sailors tend to overestimate the value of the stability curve. Sure, vanishing stability is 125 degrees on the design, but when you put several tons of stuff on the boat, all of it above the CG, radome on the mast
, dingy on davits
, etc., you don't have the same stability curve you started with. And, do you really keep all the dorades bunged shut and the hatch
boards in when sailing in the tropics? Most people don't.
A statistical answer is going to be hard to come by, but I've never heard anyone claim that cats are over represented in offshore
accidents. For any offshore passage
longer than 5 days (ie. beyond the weather
forecast) I doubt that there's much difference in safety
. In either case, the most common scenario is the crew abandoning a seaworthy
For coastal work, or short hops, I think that speed is a huge safety
advantage. For example if you're sailing from Australia
to New Caledonia
in a fast cat (4 -5 days) you can make the entire crossing in one weather
system which you can monitor
15 different ways prior to jumping off. A slower boat (7 - 8 days) can start in good weather, but will have to take whatever comes along for those last three days.
Having two engines (hopefully with fully a redundant charging
system) is a huge safety benefit, probably more significant than anything else in this post.
Safety at anchor
is probably more signifiant than safety at sea and here, I think that cats have a huge advantage here as they can anchor
in 4 feet of water
with bomb proof 10:1 scope
, get the best shelter, and remain clear of (most) other boats.
And lastly, having a boat that is easy to board from the water
is a huge safety advantage. It is regrettably common to drown because you can't get back aboard your boat. Transom steps seem to be pretty universal on cats.
But all these advantages are probably quite small compared to the effect of prudent seamanship on any sort of boat.