Discrepancy between ISAF Offshore Special Regulations and Norm ISO 15085?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by Michael Vetsch, Jun 29, 2006.

  1. Michael Vetsch
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    Location: Switzerland

    Michael Vetsch New Member

    I am helping a boat builder in deciding which guard-rail (lifeline) type (low: 450mm or high: 600mm) he has to install on the sailboat he builds. The boat’s overall length is exactly 8.50 meters (this adds some salt to the topic). For the European market the boat will be certified for CE Category C.

    According to ISO 15085 table 4 on page 7a low guard-line (450mm) is sufficient for Category C as long as the boat has an overall length less or equal than/to 8.50 meters.

    According to the ISAF Offshore Special Regulations like for Category 4 a low guard-rail (lifeline) is only allowed for boats with an overall length of less than 8.50 meters. Boats with a length of 8.50 or higher need the high guard-rail version: see paragraph 3.14.5 (Table 7) of http://www.isaf.org/offshore/2006/OSR2006_Mo4_250106.pdf. This ISAF special regulation explicitly mentions the ISO-Norm. It says: ”Attention is Drawn to ISO 15085.

    For the European CE certification, only ISO 15085 counts and therefore a low guard-rail will suffice.

    On the other hand, for racing according to for example the US PHRF system the above mentioned ISAF special regulation usually applies. Therefore the boat would need high guard rails. But the ISAF regulation bases itself on ISO 18085. Is the ISAF regulation wrong and contradicts the ISO norm in this particular case?

    On a similar note: The ISAF regulations use meters for measuring length. But they also provide an approximate value in feet in parentheses. For example it says: 8.50m (28ft). But 8.50m is less than 28ft. Which number would count in the case of a dispute? I would assume the number in meters. And ISO norms use metric units only (no mentioning of feet). Would this mean that ratings of boats in the US would have to be done using metric units? Just curious.

    Thanks, Michael
  2. marshmat
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Ontario

    marshmat Senior Member

    Hi Michael,
    I'm no lawyer, and to properly resolve this apparent contradiction would seem to require one.
    However, one can easily apply a bit of boating sense to the legalese and see that since a 450 mm lifeline doesn't even meet knee height on the average male, it will not be of much help in the type of situation that requires a boater to use the lifelines. I would consider the 600 mm version, which reaches to slightly above the knees, to be barely adequate for a small yacht.
    As for measurements, as far as I know the inch-foot measures in brackets are there as a courtesy to old-fashioned Americans; I'm pretty sure the actual rules are in metric regardless of where the race is held.
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