Thanks David, and I of course agree about the inaccuracy of so many press reports. And Elie, I have no idea how you feel you are able to conclude from the fate of one boat that capsized in one area, that in similar circumstances the following is true:
1. big cats would probably capsize or break something. 2. a monohull
would at most put its sails
in the water and quickly recover. Here are some things to consider:
1. Just as not all monohulls behave in the same way, it may surprise you that not all cats behave in the same way. The Outremer is clearly designed to favour performance over comfort and has an incredible record
to prove it. Rather than comparing it with an ordinary monohull, it should really be compared with an all-out racing
machine such as an Open 60 (which should come close
to mirroring the performance of the Outremer). This means, amongst other things, a much greater sail area/displacement ratio than their slower cousins (and an increased risk, if sails are not reefed in time, of capsize).
2. Large Cats generally are far more resistant to a knockdown/capsize than a monohull (and this would include Outremers).
3. What will cause a capsize in either boat will depend not only upon the design, but also upon the seamanship of the skipper
- ie, too much sail up, taking large seas beam-on etc.
4. In conditions that capsized (or pitchpoled) an Outremer, we can safely assume that the monohull (sailed with a similar degree of competence/incompetence) will not merely have a knock down, but will have also capsized/pitchpoled. Indeed, since the monohull would have capsized in conditions that would have left the Cat completely upright, in the same conditions the mono may have had numerous 'knockdowns' or capsizes by the time the cat first succumbed.
5. While the cat cannot right itself once inverted, the monohull should
do so eventually
- and I say should, because some modern racing
monos (such as the Open 60's) have a huge period of inverse stability. They must rely upon a conscious skipper
in the inverted craft to use hydrualics to swing over the keel
if they are to right themselves. If hydraulics fail (or the skipper is knocked unconscious), the boat is likely to remain overturned until it sinks. Other performance oriented monos (including some used for 'performance cruising') with wide beams and flat sections aft are at risk of precisely the same fate.
6. Even if the monohull that has capsized does not initially sink, it will almost assuredly have suffered serious damage. It is extremely likely that the rig will have failed (and holes caused by the pounding of a still attached, but fallen rig against the hull
of a boat has led to many sinkings). Further, the hatches/portlights may have imploded leaving gaping openings for each passing sea; this too increases the risk of sinking. At the very least, the boat will almost assuredly be loaded with water which entered through the companionway
lockers etc. This leaves the boat much more vulnerable to further capsizes and an eventual sinking.
All of the foregoing is the reason that current
studies indicate that you are no more likely to capsize in a modern cruising cat, than you are to sink in a monohull. And like most of us, I would rather be on an inverted cat that is still afloat with a liferaft
available for redundancy, than on a liferaft
with my 'redundancy' on the bottom.