In general, I find larger boats much easier to sail than small. Sailing small boats in SF Bay is serious sailing. Until you get caught in some truly awful weather
off shore you probably won’t experience much that you find as challenging on a larger boat.
A cruising cat is a different animal. A large boat doesn’t give you as much “feed back” as a smaller one and a cat gives you much less than a monohull
. While I am happy with my choice of a cat because of comfort and safety
, I do miss all those signals a monohull sends, such as heel and weather helm
. You need to develop new instincts.
You mentioned taking a sailing class. There are large catamaran
sailing courses available on the internet
. The skipper
in such a class will probably explain differences in cats vs. monos and train you in appropriate actions.
Just as an example, in a sudden gust a mono will heel over and effectively reduce sail area and spill wind
from the sail. A cat doesn’t. It may accelerate suddenly but the rigging
takes the full load. You can’t wait for the boat to respond to the change, you have to act or you can damage some expensive items.
As far as getting experience, make friends with larger boat owners. Many of them are looking for crew every weekend. Alternatively, charter
. When we started giving serious thought to buying
a cat, we chartered one for two weeks to make sure. Chartering is of course the more expensive route
I hope this rambling helps.