Tolly, it strikes me that there are 2 things which tend to bring down the 'quality' of the interior/construction of most production cats:
1. Weight. Weight is often cited as the real enemy of performance in a cat, and consequently, the seemingly incessant demand by the public for greater interior
volume has led to lighter-weight construction/materials in the interior.
. Obviously, there is a greater market for less expensive boats. Since the cost of production of a multi is typically much higher than a mono (huge and elaborate molds, more sophisticated materials to keep weight down, larger manufacturing facilities because of the size of the molds; greater costs associated with shipping
, redundant engines etc) the price
must be reduced somewhere. Yes, it is often found in the fit, finish and solidity of the interior.
In the past, there were a number of cats that were manufactured with very solid, if not necessarily luxurious interiors at a competitive price. The Prouts, Catalacs, Solaris yachts, for example, all were built to Lloyd's 100 A1 standards and this meant that interior bulkheads/cabinets were properly tabbed into the hull
itself; it also meant thicker marine plywood
for all structural bulkheads as well as durable hardware
like fixed portlights
frames and tempered glass. The combination of this and narrower BOA meant that the boats were rock-solid and tended not to suffer from racking or flex at the bridgedeck, even in the worst conditions.
This kind of construction is typically quite expensive, however, because it is much more labour intensive (as well as material intensive, due to the relatively greater scantilings required by Lloyds). When the French and others started producing cats at a comparable price that had much more interior space (and sometimes performance potential), albeit with less structural integrity, the market responded. So now we are typically left with cats much as you describe them (at least in the moderate price range - interior volume can be kept up while keeping weight down, at a price).
It may well be that some day a market will return for a narrower, solidly constructed cat with a 'Prout', or heavily stayed cutter
rig. One where the owner would prefer more solid materials and a more solid build in the interior (and elsewhere) - and
be prepared to sacrifice some performance (and even some space) to get it. An ocean going boat with strength, durability and a rig that will take you anywhere - at a moderate price. I guess I am thinking of something like the resurgance in the early 1970's of heavily built monohulls intended purely for long-distance cruising - remember the Westsail 32 ( although the cat I am thinking of should be able to perform much better in a variety of conditions than the Westsail).
Anyway, for now it seems the market has spoken - and the demand is for lightly built, relatively poorly finished cats with huge interior space and reasonably decent performance in light air.