The OP asked for actual experience.
Skippering a West to East trans Atlantic delivery
of a Lagoon 400
one early May I got stuck in a very nasty four day storm with wind
aft at well over 50 kts, seas to match, and even larger seas abeam from even worse weather
to the north of us.
Needless to say those seas were huge, confused, and breaking. Running off with only a tiny bit of foersail unfurled, we had two waves break on us from abeam on separate days. The best way to appreciate the experience is to imagine sitting on the boat
on stands on the hard
and being hit broadside by a cement truck going 35 miles per hour. The violence of the event was incredible. I believe that our heel angle exceeded 60° on both occasions.
We were also pooped once, with the tender
and cockpit (really an outdoor saloon) filled. About twenty gallons of water found their way under and around the closed aft sliding door and down the companionways to the bilges before the cockpit drained aft and through the deck
By the time we made the Azores
chaps were in tatters, there was damage to the stack pack and other outside canvas
, and I had to replace some chafed reefing lines from earlier in the storm. Just about every boat that arrived in Terceiera in the days before and after us had received major damage. By comparison we came off pretty well indeed.
These were by far the worst conditions I have ever experienced or expect to see again. With the exception of the passages between Madagascar
and South Africa
and that to New Zealand
I see no need for a prudent cruiser sailing typical cruising grounds who is not bound by an unreasonable schedule to experience the like. If you are heading to Tierra del Fuego or the Antarctic I can give you a lot of reasons to choose a boat other than a production cruising cat.
I relate this long winded tale by way of saying that a well made, carefully sailed catamaran
will get you home as well as a well made, carefully sailed monohull
. I will grant you that the Lagoon 400
is a reasonably proportioned boat and I'm not so sure we'd have done as well on some of the more freakishly tall models on the market today. I will say that the vast majority of the, "A following sea will carry off the tender
, smash the saloon
slider, and sink the boat," crowd haven't got out of their armchairs to sail a cruising cat in challenging conditions.