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  #21  
Old 01-20-2004
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C&C or Catalina

I do find it interesting that the new Island Packet 37 is the Catalina 350 layout.

What were they thinking?
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  #22  
Old 01-21-2004
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tjr3c,

You asked why I believe that Hunter was the first US company to have a boat certified by the CE. Several years ago, I was asked to moderate a discussion between the participants on the Cruising World Bulletin Board and Hunter Marine. There had been a lot of negative opinions of Hunters expressed by people who really did not have a lot experience with Hunter. Over a period of a couple weeks questions were emailed to me, and I forwarded them to Hunter Marine. Jim Bohart who was working in the Reseach and Development Department at Hunter was kind enough to answer these questions for the CWBB''ers. Here are two of the questions and answers.


“The EU STIX standards only examines the potential of a boat to sustain a knockdown and the likelihood that a boat will survive a knockdown should one occur in the conditions included in its rating range. While the current draft version of the proposed standards attempts to rate the structural elements of the boat, it really does not address construction standards in any real detail or the type of structural requirements that would be necessary to survive a major knock down. [This question is aimed at such items as the large Plexiglas panels used in late model Hunters and the resultant large cut outs in the deck and house that these require. This question is also aimed at such vulnerable areas as the hull to deck joint, cockpit and deck areas, as well as, the general hull design standards.] There has been a lot of new data being gathered on the real loads encountered at sea. Does Hunter feel that they have designed the structure of their boats to withstand the kind of massive loads implied in the kind of pounding a boat can take in a storm?”

And their answer was as follows:
We feel that the design and construction of more than 27,000 boats has given us experience and knowledge that is incomparable. The severity of a storm is of course somewhat subjective and varies from observer to observer. Take it that we design and test our boats to meet and be safe at any time. I am sure that those that have survived the sinking of a craft thought that their vessels was the safest thing afloat...then it happened. We do test for that sort of thing. Steve Pettengill’s job title is: Director of Offshore Testing. He does try to break the boat. I know of no better person to do so. Remember he spent one Thanksgiving upside down in Great American off Cape Horne in 100kt winds and 75’ seas and has more offshore experience in very light weight boats than most. We will discuss construction further when we get to those specific questions you asked later so as not to be redundant.

Question: Will Hunter submit their boats for certification under the new EU standards?

" Answer, Hunter was actually the first American company to have a boat given an Class ‘A’ rating under the new CE Directive for Recreational Water Craft. Hunter participated in a preliminary program that took place during the Directive development process. The program was intended to test the proposed standards on boats that were actually in production. We were the only American company that chose to participate in this pilot program. We submitted all of the supporting data on one of our boats that was then in production and were the first US produced boat to receive a Class ‘A’ Open Ocean rating. It should be noted that some sections of the Directive have been watered down since then. Currently, all of our non-trailerable boats over 30 feet are capable of meeting the CE Open Ocean rating."

Granted this came straight from someone at Hunter reseach and development and not from an advertising person at Island Packet (a company that feels it must lie in its ads about the sail area of their boats.)


You may have come to the "undisputed conclusion that Catalina is the way to go" so let me dispute it. In a casual survey of marine surveyors here on the Chesapeake Bay, Catalinas came in third on build quality issues. According to these surveyors, Beneteaus built in the past 10-12 years and Hunters were seen as doing a better job of producing boats that meet current UL, ABYC and ABS standards. Catalina was seen as a third place finisher.

Last year I was severely criticized for saying that in helping a couple friends who were looking to buy used boats, I was on a bunch of 10 year old Hunters,Beneteaus and Catalinas, and of the three the Catalinas really seemed to show thier age worse than the other two. After that chastisement, I spoke to a number of brokers and marine surveyors. I asked them all the same question, "You folks see a lot of boats over the years, how do the big three boats seem to hold up over time if you compare say a 10 year old Hunter to a similar age Beneteau or Catalina?" And what came back was pretty much in agreement with my statement that Catalinas did not seem to hold up as well as the other two manufacturers with at least two brokers saying that they had a harder time getting older Catalinas to pass survey. (In fairness there was some criticism of Beneteaus sprayed on interior finishes which are hard to refinish and so can look a little beat up after a while. Then again Catalina has just gone to as similar finish.)

So tjr3c, while I personally have no horse in this race, it seems to me that your attacks on anyone who is critical of Catalina really strikes me that if anyone is being ''self-serving'' here it is you and that you do not really have an understanding of what a CE certification really means and how a boat manufacturer gets one. The standards are available on line. You should at least read the ''purpose'' section. The CE certifications do set a minimum set of standards for boats intended to venture into the four levels of exposure, but it does not actually certify that a boat is suitable for use in the exposure for which it is rated in much the same way that US milage ratings do not guarentee that your particular car will get that mileage or that it will be comfortable to drive while doing so.

Jeff
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  #23  
Old 01-21-2004
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Jeff,
What prompted me to enter the fray to begin with, were your unkind remarks about the seaworthiness of the Catalina 350. Your comments were in direct contradiction to everything I have seen in print. Many boat manufacturers use the CE rating as a selling point. It says something about what the boat can withstand. I have shown ads, articles about Island Packet''s CE -A rating, the Gib''Sea 41'' CE-A rating and of course, the Catalina CE-A rating. I have shown that the CE-A rating means "Open Ocean rated". I have shown that it means "Can handle a minimum of Force 8 winds and 13" seas". You are entitled to bash Catalinas if you want, but I am entitled to point out the facts about the CE-A rating that they have. Now, in terms of the Hunter spokeperson that you quoted, let us examine his words to see if he was perhaps, fudging it a bit. Here is an exerpt of what he said in your last posting-

"Currently, all of our non-trailerable boats over 30 feet are capable of meeting the CE Open Ocean rating."

Notice that he says "capable". That does not mean that they HAVE the rating of CE-A. As a matter of fact, I just went to the Hunter Marine site, and did a lookup of the specs of the 306, and it is listed as having a CE-B rating. Was your spokesperson talking through his hat? Was he lying? Ws he bluffing? Go see for yourself. At least when Catalina says they have the rating, they really do! Hunters are nice boats. I have studied them to a certain degree and I have been aboard and have admired their interiors.
In the last series of boat shows, I boarded both Hunter and Catalina. One thing that jumped out at me was the sheer number and size of winches offered on Catalina as compared to the Hunter. I was also taken by the massive construction of the Catalina as compared to the Hunters. Maybe those factors have something to do with off shore ratings( among other structural things). In this months issue of "Sail" magazine on page 35, Hallberg -Rassy also touts it''s CE-A rating and I quote;

"Hallberg-Rassy CERTIFICATION: Each boat is delivered with a CE certification and a CE plaque for Category A (unlimited Ocean Voyages)."

Obviously they are quite proud of their "A" rating by CE. This is the same rating that the Catlaina 350 has (not just capable of). I rest my case.
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  #24  
Old 01-22-2004
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I probably should have explained that the online discussion (from which was the quote in my prior post was taken) took place 6 months to a year before the EU finalized the Directive and actually began certifying boats. At that point in time the only boats that were certified were boats that were submitted during the pilot program, At that point in time Hunter beleived that they were the only US company that submitted a boat to the pilot program. I attached that quote to answer your question regarding why I thought that Island Packets claim that they were the first US company to obtain a CE Open Ocean rating was bogus.

So to answer you questions, "Was your spokesperson talking through his hat? Was he lying? Was he bluffing?" To begin with, this was not a salesman but one the top people within Hunter''s research and development department. He was not talking through his hat, he was not lying, he was not bluffing, He was stating the facts as they existed at the time, which were that he believed that all non-trailerable Hunters over 30 feet were capable of meeting the then current standards. They were not certified because you could not get a whole line of boats certified yet. The 306 is a very new model and did not exist at the time of this discussion. While this may be splitting hairs, Mr. Bohart said that all Hunters over 30 feet were qualitified and if you look at the literature, the 306 is actually under 30 feet in length.

I sincerely suggest that you look at the actual CE Directive for Recreational Water Craft for yourself instead of relying on hype from boat builder advertising. From your statements it would appear you clearly do not seem to understand what the EU certification process is intended to do.

I also think that you are mistaken when you characterize my comments as ''unkind''. I don''t think they were unkind at all, they simply reflected the reality of the design philosophy expounded by Catalina and the realities of the Catalinas relative to C&C''s.

Jeff
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Old 01-22-2004
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TJR:

I''m afraid you''re missing the point. Regurgitating marketing info that a boat is CE ''A'' rated, when you can''t articulate what that means about how the boat is built and/or sails, isn''t clarifying anything for anyone. I''m sure you want to believe the 350 is a capable offshore boat, and yes, we can all see that Catalina and legions of other builders hold CE ''A'' ratings for some hulls. It''s the linkage of what that rating means to what the boat is capable of that is missing...and your posts aren''t getting us any further along on that issue. Did you look at the suggested link?

Ratings aside - and since we can''t all go out and test boats together - note the above post that suggested looking at how the 350 is laid out vs. how a boat needs to be used, offshore. To my knowledge, the CE rating system makes no requirements on the functionality of a chart table, mandates no level of utility for a galley, requires no specific criteria be met on the location and/or suitability of a head, and stipulates nothing about the number of seaberth vs. number of crew...or what even qualifies as a seaberth. How one navigates, sleeps, cooks and relieves him/herself are all relevant to offshore sailing in my experience, but not insofar as obtaining a CE rating is concerned.

Jeff:

Just in case you''re beginning to wonder, your posts are clear and on-topic, even if you and TJR are hollering past one another on the issue.

Jack
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  #26  
Old 01-22-2004
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Jack,

This reminds of a funny incident that occurred when Ayn Rand was being interviewed by William F. Buckley many years ago. Ayn Rand and Mr. Buckley were actually having a fundimental difference of opinion on a topic. After the intellectual equivilent of ''hollering past each other'' on the topic, William F. Buckley politely said, "Miss Rand, Per the current vernacular expression, ''we seem to be having a failure to communcate''".

Ayn Rand looked him squarely in the eye, and said, "Mr. Buckley, I am communicating perfectly adequately. You are simply failing to comprehend."

That said, I do feel som frustration at not being able to explain the issue in a way that Tjr sees where you and I are coming from. As we have discussed in our offline correspondence on the topic of CE standards, while the standards are intended to quantify certain ''quantifiable'' aspects of what makes a vessel safe to venture offshore, it fails to actually set the kind of comprehensive standards that would completely define all aspects of what makes vessel suitable to venture offshore. It also fails to have the kinds of checks and balances that guarentees that what appears on the forms actually occurs in the specific boats being built.

I can''t recall if I had given this example in our exchange on this topic or if I was talking with someone else on this topic, but the CE standards are somewhat akin to the old Lloyds standards. You would routinely see references to boats being designed "to Lloyds Standards", which mean that the design met LLoyds standard. You would also see boats that claimed to be ''A100 approved'' which meant that drawinsg were subitted to Lloyds and these drawings were approved. The vessel was then supposedly built to the approved Lloyds A100 standard. Lastly, you would see boat that had been Lloyds A100 certified, which meant that the design had been approved by Lloyds in advance and that a Lloyds certified inspector had observed the construction and certified it as being in accordance with the Lloyd Standards and the approved set of design documents.

The EC directive is the equivilent of being Looyds approved but not certified (despite the word confusion that might occur here),

Best wishes,
Jeff
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Old 01-22-2004
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This discussion goes on and on and I have read these threads for sometime and held back from posting but I think it is time I chimmed in. Two summers ago I sold our previous boat and went into the mode of boat search. Over the course of a 3 month period I had accepted offers on a Cat 380 (deal fell through between two independent people (no Brokers) because PO was difficult to work with)and Beneteau 381 failed survey due to delam rudder and PO wouldn''t replace as needed (boat did survey well other than this issue.

After the Beneteau deal fell through we looked at a Hunter 356 and ultimately bought one. Part and parcel of this purchase was a contingency that it pass survey. Boat came in and not only flunked survey it was so bad Hunter took the boat back to Fl and off the dealers hands. There were more voids in the deck than solid areas. I might say Hunter was GREAT about this and supposedly cut it open and determined the problem was due to bad resin. As a result of this experience I opened my search again and looked at a Cat 350, which didn''t impress me mostly due to the layout. The build quality looked fine but my wife and I just didn''t like the boat. While shopping we looked at a Cat 36 MKII which we did like. After trying unsuccesfully to get an acceptable deal on a 36 from our dealer we relucktanly agreed to try another 356 after many assurances from Hunter that my previous experience was not the norm. 356 #2 comes in and although the deck was much better there were still some voids 15-20 mostly deep in the laminate, but their were three or four voids under the surface of the non skid. The dealer agreed to fix them and Hunter agreed to double the warrantee and we were ready to go ahead and I lost my job. As a result the dealer graciously let me out of the deal.

We ultimately bought a used 36 MKII. This long drawn out experience gave me a lot of insight into the big three.

My thoughts:

as for stuctural quality I would rate them Cat/Ben/Hunter. Cast Iron keels played a huge inpact on this rating and the overall design of the boat and rig had a major influence.

Systems design/accessability Hunt/ tie Ben/Cat. I must say this is based on my boat not on the 350 or newer designs, the newer models of the cats seem better and on these boats I would say they equal the Beneteau''s. Hunter was far superior as to the basic systems design, very well thought our and innovative.

Interior finish/workmanship Ben/Cat/Hunter, Hunter has made major inroads in this area in the last few years, But overall still lags behind alittle.

Rigs and Hardware: Cat/Ben/Hunter without a doubt Catalina''s rigs are beefer and the hardware is bigger and better on the cat.

With all this said, you are getting what you paid for, a MASS PRODUCTED PRODUCTION BOAT THAT IS MADE TO A PRICE POINT. Don''t loose sight of this, if you like the B&R rig, arches and creature conforts go Hunter (just get a survey before you close. Imagine how I would have felt down the road when a buyer had the boat surveyed at resale!!!!!) Like mahogony and lots of wine racks and a more European look go Beneteau. If you are more traditional in your taste go Catalina. It all boils down to what you like and want out of your boat. I for one would not want to take any of them out in the ocean alone CE rated or not.

Moral of the story GET ANY BOAT YOU PURCHASE NEW OR USED SURVEYED!!!!!!!! My dealer tells me 1 in a 100 new boat buyer surveys a boat. Boy 99 idiots out there.
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Old 01-22-2004
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http://www.ays.com/certification.htm

http://www.thehullcompany.com/newyachts.htm

Jeff and Whoosh,
I do understand what you are trying to say. I have visited the website you refer to. It appears to be a bad translation of something that is peripherially related to our discussion and goes on and on , page after page. I simply do not agree with your position and the run -on web-site did not help. It almost seems to be someones private analysis of what they think CE means. It looks like a legislative draft, not meant for prime time. It is a pity that you put all your eggs in that deplorable basket. You seem to be saying that the International CE rating system is a sham rating system. I understand that you disagree with their ratings (unless they apply to boats you like). I refuse to accept that you two guys somehow have become your own international rating Association with no credentials and no formal testing of the boats you so hate to admit- are good boats. Your credibility evaporates when you assert that Hallberg- Rassy, Gib’Sea, Island Packet, Catalina are not seaworthy. That is essentially what you are saying when you discount the CE-A rating. Many boat manufacturers are proud of the CE rating along with the other Certifications that are available, such as ABYC and NMMA. Catalina of couse, has been certified by all of the above. Apparently the only certification Catalina has not achieved, is the personal opinion of Jeff and Whoosh. I understand that you opine that the 350 is a fat, interior designed boat. It also passes international and national muster as an ocean rated vehicle. Catalina manages to do it without misleading the public too. I will allow Jeff to retract his earlier statement that all Hunters over 30’ were CE -A rated. I went to Hunter’s website and found that the Hunter 306 was CE -B rated. Jeff quickly adjusted saying that the Hunter 306 is really under 30 feet. I can’t subscribe to the Jeff/Whoosh system of rating boats on personal opinion and manufacturer lies, (like the Hunter 306). Instead, I prefer to rely on National and International agencies like the CE rating, ABYC, and NMMA. You can continue to operate under the “Ostrich Manuever” if you like. Bury your heads in the sand, and pretend that national and international boat rating standards don’t exist, and that the only rating system worthy of belief, is the Jeff/Whoosh system of personal opinion, personal bias, and total ignorance of international and national ratings. I ain’t buying what you are selling. It just doesn’t hold water. In light of recent discussions and discoveries, let me ask you the follwing question. Based on what we now know about national and international ratings, manufacturer hype, and advertising, which boat would you rather take across the Atlantic, a Catlaina 350 (with its CE-A rating) or a Hunter 306 (with its CE-B rating)? Would you also choose the Hunter 306 over an Island Packet and a Hallberg -Rassy? If so, you are hoplessly close-minded and in need of brain transplants. As I understand it, Hunter and Jeff claimed that all Hunters over 30’ were CE-A rated, only to find that Hunter falsely advertises that the 306 is really not 30’ 6”, but actually closer to 29’. When I buy a boat, I want to know that its dimensions are as advertised. Obviously 306 means something to buyers. I wonder how many buyers actually thought they were getting a 30’ 6” boat that was CE-A rated. You can poo-poo the CE rating but at least it is something that a buyer has to set basic parameters. Otherwise, all prospective boaters will have to contact you two experts. I doubt that would work and I doubt that your advice (based on the propaganda espoused thus far) would be reliable. Check out the websites at the top of this posting to gain further information about rating systems.
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Old 01-22-2004
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Again, you miss the whole point. Ratings, at best, say what the rated object is CAPABLE of, they have nothing to do with what it is INTENDED for.

Perhaps you would care to share some of your sailing qualifications with us. Most who read this BB are aware of JeffH''s and Jack''s. What might your''s be?

Fair winds,

John

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Old 01-23-2004
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The Lloyds Standards
Understanding the Lloyds yacht rating systems

1998
by Chris Caswell



There is probably no nautical topic where more myth, fable and outright misrepresentation exists than in the "classification" of yachts. You''ve probably seen the advertisements that proudly state that a yacht is "Lloyd''s +100A1" or "ABS-classed," but even the owners of these yachts often don''t fully understand what it all means.

Lloyd''s (Lloyd''s Register of Shipping) and ABS (American Bureau of Shipping) are two of the most prominent of the dozen classification societies in the world. In essence, these societies are independent technical organizations that establish and administer standards for the design, construction and periodic re-survey of ships and other marine structures as diverse as oil rigs and bridges.

To fully understand what these societies provide and how they operate, you must understand that the terminology in this field is exacting, and not always what it may seem. First of all, classification of a yacht warrants that it has met all the standards of a society, both before, during and after construction as well as passed rigorous ongoing surveys during the life of the vessel. Other levels of approval are called certification, which involve fewer areas that are examined, or do not include ongoing surveys. Classification continues throughout the life of the yacht (unless it fails a survey), while certification attests to the condition only at the time of delivery.

Lloyd''s Register of Shipping is the oldest classification society in the world and, because it is usually referred to simply as Lloyd''s, is often confused with Lloyd''s of London or a variety of other financial institutions bearing the name Lloyd''s. It does share a common starting point with these others, however: the 18th century London coffeehouse owned by Edward Lloyd that became a gathering place for businessmen and shipowners who would arrange to independently insure cargoes and vessels against loss on the high seas. From these beginnings came the Lloyd''s of London insurance operation, but an entirely separate entity was Lloyd''s Register of Shipping, a classification society that set standards for ship construction to aid in the insurance process.

Founded in 1862, the American Bureau of Shipping is no newcomer and, though also founded to reassure insurance companies, it was originally intended only to promote "a high degree of efficiency and character" among the masters and officers of sailing ships. To that end, tests were developed and "commissions of competency" were issued by what was then called the American Shipmasters'' Association. Within a few years, however, the Association had adopted a system for rating, surveying and registering vessels to assure that they were structurally sound and mechanically fit to safely carry crew and cargo.

A classification society is, in essence, a professional third party that assures the owner or buyer of a yacht that the vessel is built to an accepted standard. Everyone else — seller, builder, designer, broker — has something to gain from the construction or sale of the yacht and, therefore, is not to be entirely trusted, particularly when it comes to betting your life at sea. "Regardless of the intended purpose for the yacht," says Bill Crawford of ABS, "we review the plans and survey the yacht with the 100-year-storm in mind."

Let''s look at classifications first, since these top ratings tend to be fairly similar regardless of the society, while the various certifications vary widely. A Lloyd''s classified yacht is said to be Maltese 100A1, which is usually written +100A1, while ABS offers two separate designations. An ABS-classified sailing yacht is ABS Maltese A1 (+A1) while a motoryacht is termed Maltese A1-AMS (+A1-AMS), the difference being the surveying of the main propulsion system on the motoryacht, or annual machinery survey (AMS).

Each of these classifications requires that a full set of plans be submitted for review and approval, and a surveyor is present during most of the construction process as well as for the sea trials. All material used in the boat is tested and, in the case of aluminum or steel yachts, each plate must have a society approval stamp and each welder must pass rigorous tests. During construction, samples of random welds will be X-rayed and, if a weld does not meet society approval, the plate is removed and a replacement is done correctly. For fiberglass yachts, the surveyor takes careful note of material storage methods, lay-up procedures, curing times, and then performs hardness tests on sample sections.

To keep a yacht "in classification," it must be inspected on a regular basis, usually annually, or whenever changes or damage to the yacht might affect the classification. For the yacht owner, it is a continuing assurance of compliance to standards and it serves as an independent check on his captain and crew, but it is not an inexpensive undertaking.

For owners who simply want to assure themselves that the yacht was properly designed and constructed, most societies offer lesser ratings.

The Lloyd''s "Building Certificate" and "Hull Construction Certificate" do not involve ongoing classification surveys. ABS, on the other hand, offers a "Hull Certificate" in which they duplicate the classification process up to the point of delivery, at which time ABS involvement ends. Unlike Lloyd''s, ABS also offers a "Plan Review" that takes the same hard look at the hull design and construction plans that they use for a full classification, but no construction surveys are performed and machinery systems are not included. All Sabre yachts have undergone ABS plan review, and several other builders have had plan review on selected production boats.

Lloyd''s does not offer approvals of any builder''s plant, while ABS will certify a builder to be "ABS-quality." Tillotson-Pearson, for example, is ABS certified, although the yachts they produce are still carefully monitored during construction before the ABS +A1 classifications are awarded. Christiensen Yachts is the only U.S. builder of megayachts to ABS classify every yacht (except one that went with Japanese NKK society classification to that country) and they keep a furnished office for the ABS surveyor who is almost constantly on hand. Dave Christiensen estimates that the added cost is about 3 percent of the total, and probably adds 300 to 400 manhours of engineering time to prepare extra drawings and plans.

A relative newcomer on the American yachting scene is Det Norske Veritas, a Norwegian classification society that has an extensive background in small pleasure boats in Scandinavia. Since 1969, the company has issued small craft type certificates, much like those provided by the American Boat & Yacht Council, in Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Iceland. These certificates assure that the craft meets certain construction and design standards, as well as the legal requirements of the Scandinavian countries. More than 600,000 small craft have been type certified, involving 1,300 different models from 400 builders.

DNV offers the same full classification as Lloyd''s and ABS and, like ABS, they offer an "Approval In Principal" of plans, which is neither a classification or certification, but simply attests that the plans meet the DNV rules, a procedure that is growing popular in Australia.

The differences between the various societies in ships, where insurance is unavailable unless the vessel is classified, usually are minimal and shipowners often select their national society for ease of access and service. In yachts, however, the differences are not so clear and it usually boils down to which society will give you the best service.

One noted naval architect, who asked not to be mentioned by name for obvious reasons, said that ABS is easier to deal with than Lloyd''s if you want to try an unusual design or construction process. If you can back up your idea with facts and figures, ABS will approve it while Lloyd''s tends to take a more conservative view of any deviation from the norm. Part of this, of course, may be due to the distance involved, since all plans must be approved at the Lloyd''s offices in England, while ABS is based in New Jersey.

ABS has also made a concerted effort to reach the yachting market, and ABS representative Bob Curry worked extensively with the Offshore Racing Council''s Technical Committee and several naval architects, notably Gary Mull and Olin Stephens, to devise fair and realistic scantling rules for offshore racing yachts. The result is a comprehensive guide, "Building And Classing Offshore Racing Yachts," that is both up-to-date in terms of technology as well as in a simple engineering format for designers to use.

It''s obvious that the classification societies exist in the shipping industry for insurance purposes to provide a uniform worldwide standard, but why is this needed in yachts where a normal surveyor could provide much the same service at far lower cost? For one thing, yachts have become small ships with all the myriad systems and complexities that would be beyond the grasp of any single surveyor and, second, with the growing variety of materials and techniques, the societies provide an information service that shares the success of certain methods and remembers the failures of others.

Very few European large yachts are built without classification, simply because yacht buyers abroad are often involved in shipping, so classification is a way of life and they are comfortable with the procedures.

For that same reason, American builders have been slow to encourage the use of classifications because buyers aren''t familiar with them and, almost to a man, they all claim to build better boats than required by the societies. Whether that is true or not is just as debatable as whether a buyer would want a boat built to society standards. One well-known builder noted that it is impossible to build the high-speed motoryachts, now so popular, to classification because of the sacrifices necessary to keep the weight to a minimum. The societies, on the other hand, point out that they have been classing high-speed patrol craft and other speed-oriented vessels for many years, and suggest that the builder is probably cutting many corners in search of an extra knot or two.

Does a classification help sell or insure a yacht? Maybe and maybe not, depending upon the circumstances. One Florida yacht broker agreed that having a Lloyd''s- or ABS-classified yacht would encourage most insurance companies to offer lower rates but, at the same time, the owner would pay more than he saved in maintaining the classification and having the annual survey so the ultimate out-of-pocket expense would be higher.

At the same time, brokers seem divided on the resale value of a classification. "If I''ve got a yacht that is classified, then it''s a real important feature. But if the yacht I''m selling isn''t classified, then it doesn''t matter," one confided frankly. Several brokers, however, did point out that it''s very difficult to sell a large yacht in Europe without a classification or, at the very least, an original certification.

One area where a classification can be of real value is in a lawsuit or a dispute over insurance settlements. If you lose your yacht and it was classified, the courts tend to listen to the testimony of a centuries-old classification society that has been intimately familiar with the vessel from the plans stage, and which has surveyed it regularly.

Whether you need classification or not on your yacht will depend on your needs and budget. But knowing exactly what classification or certification means will keep you out of deep water, too

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