Entering into a cat versus mono and large versus smaller boat discussion is very dangerous but I do know a lot about spouses afraid of heeling.
She hated heeling but all our experience was aboard smaller trailerable boats or fast, light sailboats. I got her aboard a small cruising cat and found out the sharp, quick motion on some points of sail with the right wave action causes real bad sea sickness
So I got a very heavy, slow Westerly , monohull
. It sailed like a pig but had a long reputation of sailing in rough weather
. Her fear of heeling went away. That may be related to the fact that it took a lot of wind to get it to heel above 15 degrees. It also had a very smooth motion in waves. No seasickness, no fear, life was good
. But.. I couldn't stand up nor lay down in a bunk and stretch out, it drove me nuts. Did I mention it sailed like a pig?
We moved up to a Pearson
34 mono. It heels a bit but is big enough that it feels safer when heeled. The Pearson
is the boat we are going cruising in. Many would say it is too big/small, too light, not a blue water
boat but neither was the Pardey's and they sailed around the world. We're just going to go up and down the coast anyway.
The problem is your wife is trying to guess what boat will make you go with her. Having been there and bought two boats I sold at a loss before I found one that works, I would suggest what others have mentioned. Charter
a 38 to 42 foot mono and a 38 to 40 foot cat. Then you will know without your wife buying
a couple of boats and loosing money
on them to get it right.
Having watched the big/small and mono/cat debate, I have learned one thing. The type of boat you buy is dependent on what makes you happy. There is the right boat for you and your situation and no one but you can tell you that.
If I had it all to do over, I would have directly went for a 34 to 39 foot, heavier, shallow draft
boat with a lot of sail area and skipped the steps in between. Of course a boat like that I can actually buy may not be around.
General notes on personality and boat types. Former power boaters like cats. People who like comfort like cats. Racer
types like light cats or light monos. Traditionalists like heavy monos. Those worried about the perfect storm like heavy monos. Those short on money
like whatever they can get and that is where I fit.