Articles like this actually seem to tell us more about the biases and possible resentments of the author than they do the actual risk comparisons between monohulls and catamarans. It is especially frustrating when the author is someone who may actually have access to objective data with which honest empirical comparisons could be made.
But, he doesn't give us any such data or empirical analyses. Instead, he gives us a series of "stupid is as stupid does" anecdotes in which the fault for the claim can be readily attributed to operator error. The only time I saw anything even appearing to be a numerical comparison was:
"During a heavy thunderstorm in a single
June, 2005, afternoon, a charter operator in the western Caribbean
strikes to nine charter catamarans and one monohull
moored in the same area."
Now, this implies that that catamarans were 9 time more likely to be hit than the monohulls. But, we don't know the relative numbers of the different types of boats that were in the same area. If there were 90 cats and 10 monos there, then the odds of being hit were exactly equal -- 1 in 10 for both types. We don't know how many of them had some form of lightning protection, like a Strikeshield.
From the anecdotes alone we can see that the experience of the person (presumably) in charge is likely correlated with the likelihood of an accident
. This is news? We don't let 12 year olds drive cars, and I don't pilot 747's, all for the same reason. But, he doesn't give us anything useful from his observations. Like:
Are captains who have Yachtmaster certificates less likely to have accidents than captains who have ASA
or US Sailing certificates, in like boats?
Or, are catamarans build prior to 1990 more (or less) likely to have accidents within 5 years of initial commissioning than catamarans build after 1990?
Or, when in accidents, are catamarans more (or less) likely than monohulls to sustain a fatality?
There are so many good questions that could be answered by the insurance
industry, if they would only choose to do so, and share the information.
One company I do like and that is distributing at least some of this kind of information is BoatUS. They put out a quarterly magazine, Seaworthy
, that is very helpful compendium of "things gone wrong, and how to put them right." http://www.boatus.com/seaworthy/default.asp
is a professional publication that does not engage in pejorative language -- it does report the facts. I do wish, though, that they would use their database to help with some of these other questions, though.
Q: What is the #1 factor in boating
fatalities? Not the type of boat, not the weather
, not the number of years experience of the owner/operator. A: Alcohol.