Originally Posted by Mbryant
I would imagine somewhere in the paperwork and or on the boat will be a 'CE Category' specifying the limitation of the craft, I have added the stats below. Most boats of that size would be C or possible B at a stretch. Just bear in mind the boat can generally take more than the crew!!
Category Significant Wave Height Beaufort
A- Ocean Exceeding 4m Exceeding 8
B - Offshore Up to & including 4m Up to & including 8
C - Inshore Up to & including 2 Up to & including 6
D - Sheltered Up to & including 0.5m Up to & including 4
I'm fairly sure it is CE cat C. However this isn't overly helpful in knowing the boats capability because:
1. its cheaper for a manufacturer to rate it a C than B, so if his core market aren't bothered about it being rated B why bother even if the craft is suitable.
2. the capability of the craft will depend very much on the skipper (good skipper can safely manage a poorer craft better than a poor skipper in a great boat).
3. survival and comfort are not the same thing. e.g. you wouldn't want to be sitting on the tubes in 4m waves in a F8 on a 5.5m zodiac for long, but assuming you didn't fall out you would probably survive it. So the boat might be fine for 2 people but not for the full 12 its rated for. (Indeed some manufacturers produce different ratings for different numbers of people as this also affects loading/balance)
4. wave heights and wind speeds aren't particularly easy to describe on paper. Its possible to have high winds and no waves. Low winds and big swell. Short chop or breaking waves. Comfort and capability are different in each. Indeed the difference between heading into and heading with the waves is huge.
When looking at CE ratings - bear in mind that "significant wave height" doesn't mean the biggest waves you'll find nor does it mean that every wave is that big. It is the average of the third of the biggest waves. About 1/10 waves will be bigger than the significant wave height and its not uncommon to get waves double the height.