Jack, this is a very poor way to exchange views. You missed completely my point and probably that was my fault. Let me try again.
I don’t think the RCD was implemented as a Trade Barrier (there was almost no US sail boats in the EU market, and the situation didn’t change with the RCD). I think that has to do with a global policy (sometimes a true obsession) in ruling everything and giving information to the consumer about everything. This legislative “obsession” has to do mainly with safety and ecology and normally it is a pain in the ass, resulting mainly in a lot of paper work.
Regarding RCD it is the same thing, as you say, manufacturers had certainly influenced the draft in the definition of the categories (and I have said in a previous post that I consider the standards for A class/unlimited inadequately low) and on site compliance visits are mainly a paper work affair.
What is very interesting in the RCD is a small but very important part that escaped to the burocrats and that is Stability. I am not talking about the standards of stability for each class, but in the way it is measured in each boat. This part of the problem was “given” to the British technicians that had a lot of experience in the matter (RYA and RORC) and they have made an outstanding job.
What you have now, is reliable stability information on each model of boat, because they need to have all the data to be classified. I am not talking about classes, I am talking about true and raw information about every aspect of the boat stability (initial, reserve, AVS, GZ, RM curve) that is public and available to you. With this information you can
make your standard and look at the type of boat that suits you.
They have even devised, for the consumers that don’t know what to do with all that data, a smart and relatively accurate way to estimate the global “value” of the boat stability (STIX).
To understand why I say that the stability data is relatively sound you have to consider this:
The process of measuring all the data that permits the evaluation of a boat is not made occasionally in the factory, nor is it made by burocrats. It is a technical work made only one time for each model and part of the measures are taken in the water with inclination tests. Later in the factory, one or two times a year they check the conformity of the production with the test prototype.
Those measurements are not made by the builder but by independent, technical and very specialized private agencies holding a permit given by the EU that attests their independence and competence to do the job. The measures are made according to a very precise set of rules defined by ISO 12217.
I don’t know how things are made there, but it is not believable that one of those agencies would “fake” measures. It would lose its license and be prosecuted. Any obvious fake would be very noticeable to competing brands with similar models.
You seem to think that the builders have a commercial interest in publicizing stability data.
I only know two builders that publicized these data, both uppermarket really ocean going boats with very good stability. Boats with very good stability are very expensive, because mass is part of the equation and it doesn’t make sense to make a very stable boat without making also a very solid one.
Big builders, like Beneteau, Jeaneau, Bavaria never publicize the stability of their boats and you only get stability data if the seller realizes that he will lose a potential client if he doesn’t provide that information.
The RYA has been complaining (without success) for a long time, saying that those figures should be mandatory in the publicity of the boats, as it is in cars for consumption and emissions.
Finally things begin to change because British Sailing Magazines started a policy of only testing a new boat if they have access and can publish the Stix and GZ curve. German magazines seem to go the same way.
Sorry for the long post, but I believe that these data, if accurate, will give everybody a better understanding of the different boats and will help everyone to chose the right boat .
Of course, it is only a part of the picture, but an important one.