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  #11  
Old 01-19-2004
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C&C or Catalina

This may help explain what the CE rating system is or isn''t. It comes from a website of a Florida dealer of Island Packet yachts.


What are CE standards?
Since June 1996 all boats sold in the European community have had to meet this set of standards covering design, materials, construction and stability. Island Packet Yachts underwent inspection and were given Category A ratings (for unlimited offshore use) by the International Marine Certification Institute (IMCI) and were the first US sailboat builder to be so certified.
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  #12  
Old 01-19-2004
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As I understand it that is not precisely true. It is my understanding that Hunter was the first US manufacturer to have its a boat certified as a Cat A.

Jeff
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As I understand it that is not precisely true. It is my understanding that Hunter was the first US manufacturer to have its a boat certified as a Cat A.

Jeff
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Here is further clarification on what it means to be rated CE-A. This comes from a review of Gib-Sea 41. The Beaufort scale is referenced here and I apologize for not being able to remember what the Catalina display reference to the beaufort scale in an earlier posting, but here it is. Force 8 and waves of 13''. This is what the CE-A rating that the C350 has, means. It''s not opinion, it is fact.

Here''s the quote.

"We did hit the wave troughs with a thud now and again, but the Gib''Sea 41 is built with offshore seas in mind. The design carries a Category "A-Ocean" rating from the CE, their highest offshore rating. Briefly, the boat must be designed for extended, self-sufficient offshore voyages with winds in excess of Force 8 and wave heights in excess of 13 feet."
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As you recall, Hunter was the first CE -A rated US sailboat. (All of a sudden CE- A ratings carry some weight) Do you have anything to substantiate that claim? Let''s see it! I am not an expert on this, I just pulled CE rating stuff from a Google search. The Island Packet advertisement speaks for itself. Do you have a comparable Hunter advertisment? As far as I know, the advertisement is true , otherwise the dealer is deceiving the public in a big way. What proof do you have to that the IP was not the first US CE-A rated sailboat? I have no way of knowing. I do however, believe the statements of Catalina which I have seen in person. The C 350 is CE-A rated. It can easily beat around your cape. It can withstand Force 8 winds and 13'' waves.
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Whether it''s rated offshore or not is rather immaterial. One need only look at the absence of anything usable as a seaberth, and the minimal tankage for a boat that size to realize it is not meant for extended offshore sailing.

Any boat is only as capable as her skipper and crew, but after a year of boat searching, it seems apparent to me that the "Big 3" production builders are building for the "casual" sailor. They stress ammenities and liveablity, and sacrifice seaworthiness to that end.

I own a Hunter 26, and while I like the boat, and enjoy it, that''s because I use it as it was intended. And while the "Big 3" may make boats certified for offshore, I really don''t believe that is their intended purpose. All boats are a compromise, but in the case of the "Big 3" I believe they compromise on the side of "at rest", rather than "in motion".

Fair winds,

John
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First, a disclaimer, I''ve been acused of all types of things by "real" sailors for my defense of Catalina''s. I''m in love with the 270, and I''ve spent more time on assorted Catalinas then any other boat (and the boat I own is NOT a Catalina) So, I''m a fan. That being said:

-- Quote --
Unless he is the designer, he has no basis other than personal opinion, to make the following statement: "The Catalina 350 is designed to do two things be cheap and offer a lot of room. All else is secondary.
-- End Quote --

Forget about the 350 specificly, and lets look at the entire line:
http://www.catalinayachts.com/about.cfm

From Mr. Buttler:
"When I founded Catalina Yachts in 1970, my goal was not to become the largest sailboat builder in the United States. My goal was, and still is to build good boats that are a good value for our customers. "

He builds boats that will stand up to more than 90% of people will throw at them, and he builds them cheap enough that working stiffs can afford a new one without selling their home landside. They''re not the offshore yacht of choice, and there are thousands of stronger boats out there. Catalinas are built to a price point.

I live not 10 miles from the Catalina Factory. I know people who work there. They''re proud of the products they make. Most of them own catalinas. It''s like people who got scoffed at for owning a Tin Lizzy. You know what, it wasnt the best car of the time by FAR. but it''s something "real people" can afford, and it''ll do more than most people want. No boat does everything well.

So, as much as I love Catalina''s, I''ve gotta back JeffH up on this. One of the main reasons I love the Catalinas is that they give the accomidations I want, in a package I can handle, at a price I can afford. And that IS their primary focus.

I''m also happy to say that I''ve never had any of the people I''ve delt with try to convince me elsewise. When talking to them about a 23.5, of which they only made three, but they do still have the molds, they were frank with me. They said if I wanted to do that type of sailing, I should look at companies that do that.

I''m happy with them. But neither I nor anyone I know in their organization would pretend that they''re anything more than a good value for what alot of people will realy end up doing.

-- James
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James,
I am glad you aspire to a Cat 27. Unfortunately they are not rated CE -A Ocean. The C350 is rated as such and therefore is built to withstand Force 8 winds and 13'' waves. They are the facts, your opinion is interesting. I need more than opinion.
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John,
Your Hunter 26 may be rated for its "At rest" characteristics, but a CE-A rating for Catalinas bigger than 30'' is more about "at sea" characteristics. I have been studying the big 3 for almost 2 years and I have come to the undisputed conclusion that Catalina is the way to go. Benes rust and don''t match US parts(Replacement wise). Hunters are wimpy. CE- ratings are much more than comfort levels. Can your Hunter 26 take force 8 winds and 13'' seas? Thats what CE-A means. Maybe your boat is CE- B.
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TJR and the group:

I fear some of us are beating a dead horse at this point because a simplistic definition of a CE ''A'' rating has been put into print and, consequently, it''s very inviting to hang one''s hat on it without looking at either the history of the rating''s development or the standards with which ''A'' rated boats must comply. Don''t confuse me with facts, my mind''s made up.

To step away from the the deep end of the issue (What ARE the standards with which a builder must comply?), I think the post above about IP yachts is quite telling: let''s look at it.

"Island Packet Yachts underwent inspection and were given Category A ratings (for unlimited offshore use) by the International Marine Certification Institute (IMCI) and were the first US sailboat builder to be so certified."

There are some learnings to be had here. First, it was IPY that underwent the inspection; no boats are inspected nor is there a guarantee that each boat of a given model will be built the same, nor that the methods used in a model''s construction won''t change over time. Second, the IMCI is the Notified Body I mentioned earlier. They are hired by and paid by IPY to conduct this inspection, mostly of design info and product-related paper flow. NB''s walk a difficult line, as they are in competition with other NB firms and, if they earn a ''too tough'' rep, they will not be hired by other manufacturers. Yet OTOH they must seek to verify compliance. And of course, while they may visit the factory floor their focus is going to be on paper, processes, QA systems and design specs. This is not a bad thing but it isn''t what we''re led to believe they are certifying. (To those who think there''s a *guaranteed* correlation between a design and the factory''s end result, I offer the analogies of the Easter Bunny and Father Christmas). Third, the statement about the builder being certified is overly general and misleading. IPY is not now blessed to put a CE Rating on anything that ships from the factory floor. Instead, they''ve vetted specific designs as specifically built, equipped and sold within the EU. Even if we put great stock in the CE rating, we need to understand the builder is free to do anything - that''s ANYTHING - in the way of equipment changes, structural changes, etc. he wishes for his North American product.

But IMO all of this is secondary to the critical issue: the ''A'' rating enjoys a lot of attention NOT because of what it actually means, NOR because potential buyers and boat nuts like us understand what it means, but simply because there is an absence of any other standard which must be uniformly followed by builders and which ties - however obliquely - to the boat''s actual use on the water. Into this vacuum the EU has inserted a generic, mostly meaningless standard which the major builders have highly influenced from its inception, and which their marketing groups now enjoy leveraging. And generally, we just suck it up.

It is not by accident that not a single boat broker with whom I''ve spoken here in the UK about their ''A'' rated boats can answer questions about the ''A'' rating standards. The entire market - factory reps, brokers, vendors & equipment suppliers, and most of all customers - lack an appreciation for what the ratings truly mean, but we''d rather be lazy and accept comfortable assurances rather than pushing for the detail, doing our own homework and challenging the builders'' claims.

The only good news in all this is that, in general, it seems most of these ''A'' rated boats are not used in ''A'' rated fashion. Put another way - since the tread started WRT a Catalina 350 - perhaps it''s the perfect boat for the typical buyer. Lots of room at a great price just about sums it up. Let''s just not think we''d actually be able to use that chart table offshore in F8+ winds and 4M+ seas, let alone move about the cabin to get to it.

Jack
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