In response to your question, from my limited understanding the answer to the Question of does CE class A rating mean that it is guarenteed not to sink is "NO". The CE class A rating means that the boat is constructed to certain norms, such as the hatches and vessel is capable of withstanding 4 meter waves and force 8 winds. This rating for recreational vessels was based upon an agreement made between EU countries and manufacturers. What we as catamaran consumers should
ask for is a much higher standard than CE class A ratings provide. Catamarans can be constructed to the standards of the Safe Return to Port Rules of the Maritime Safety
Committee. Simply put, these rules state that a vessel should be able to return to port under its own primary propulsion
in event of flooding of any single
water tight compartment. For sailing vessels primary propulsion
is considered to be engines as wind
force and direction is always uncertain. This simple rule
sounds like a perfectly reasonable request of a catamaran buyer.
It might not make you feel very safe, but just this simple rule
is applied now only to passenger vessels greater than 120 meters, only goes into effect his year, only applies to new construction and frankly few existing passenger ferries meet it because they have their engines co-located in the same compartment.
Contrast that with an African Cats
design or PDQ
(and there are a few others). It's engines are in seperate water tight compartments with seperate fuel
systems. Should even a mid hull
breach occur, that particular hull would flood only I believe 18 inches or so for the PDQ (I don't know the specs for the African Cat) but the boat would still be able to return to port using its other engine
. In other words, a 40 ft catamaran designed with safety
as its first aim, can provide the potential safety of a 120 meter plus passenger liner. I think that's the true bottom line that we as consumers should be asking for. Some boat builders are leading the way in this design, and an educated public rewarding that sort of design specification through their dollars I think would justly reward those designers. After all, these designers have obviously sacrificed their ability to provide charter
boats with massive amounts of births and offer instead safer designs for private owners with fewer births and greater structural bouyancy and larger water tight compartments.
You will never see the Safe Return to Port rule applied by the CE to regular recreational vessels because only a few people die when a recreational vessel sinks and almost no monohull
could ever be constructed with seperate engines in seperate water tight compartments. But we can hold catamaran manufacturers to a higher standard as its possible, its currently being done, and frankly its the best choice for an owner venturing into blue water with his family