I sailed my 33 foot monohull
almost exclusively singlehandedly for over twenty years of living aboard
. I now sail my 45 foot cat singlehandedly and have lived aboard it for close to twelve years. Singlehanding
is a great practice because it forces you to get used to thinking things through in advance. It also requires you to figure out the sequence of actions that makes them "easy". And when you have done this, you can singlehand either type of boat. I do think the lack of heeling is a great advantage when singlehanding. Someone mentioned the size of the sails
.....my cat has an 880 sq. foot mainsail
. With the correct size winches, I don't find this a problem and you can always get electric
winches. On the other hand, there is something to be said for being able to manhandle your way through any emergency
failure but that is more a function of size than the number of hulls.
Based upon my two boats, anchoring was easier on the mono. Picking up a mooring
is easier on the cat. Maneuvering under power is much easier in the cat. Under sail, maybe a tiny bit easier on the mono, but she was much smaller. Each had its challenges when docking. My cat is vastly easier to dock
on the starboard side due to the helm
position. The mono had no such bias, but docking on the portside was easier due to considerable propwalk, sometimes welcome, sometimes not. Docking a flybridge cat singlehanded can be a bear since you are too far away from where you need to be, if the helm
is amidship, and restricted in your access to the opposite side, if it's not. You need to be able to dock
or leave a dock without shoreside assistance. The ads don't mention that, preferring to concentrate on lines being all led to the helm; to my way of thinking, that's irrelevant, at best, and is also frequently an unnecessary complication. YMMV.
Dealing with a dinghy
, particularly singlehanded, is easier if you have good davits
. Most cats do. Not many mono's do, until you get up there in size. This is a major consideration if you are going to cruise
It is generally, though not always, easier to sleep comfortably on deck on a cat. Again, size also matters.
To consider a boat truly suitable for singlehanding, I think you need to be able to dock or undock without shoreside assistance, anchor
or moor without assistance, and raise sails and trim them by yourself. I would not consider a many flybridge cats to be truly suitable for singlehanding. You are just too far away from where you need to be when you dock without assistance, and maybe at other times, too, depending upon the boat.
Living on the cat is much easier. I think the cat is safer, not because of any perceived tedencies of either type to capsize
or sink or not. Either boat can do either thing, but neither thing happens very often in any boat. The causes of most peoples' injuries on a boat have much more to do with the boat's motion and its propensity to heel. That's how you get boiling water
on you, or slip, or go overboard
. In these regards, the cat is much safer. Personally, and on my two boats, I am much better rested on the cat, and that translates to safety
. I used to regularly lose one pound a day when underway on the mono, no matter how much I ate. My body was always bracing itself, even when asleep. I don't lose weight on the cat because it doesn't require as much athleticism.
I loved and still love sailing my mono, but I love sailing the cat even more.
Good luck. Love the one your with!