- as long as you're sailing single-handed.
And that's the key. I was sold one (Hobie 17) by an unscrupulous Hobie dealer when I said I didn't think the 16 was big enough for my family, but I was afraid I wouldn't be able to right the 18. We very quickly out grew it.
They are fun boats. The best in high wind-they keep on their feet when the 16s are capsizing all around. In light air though, they are very slow. And more than 2 medium sized people on board and you sink the hulls.
And the 17 came 2 ways, both with wings and pivoting centerboards. The SE which has no jib, and has a boom (that sweeps the deck-you have to roll under it) and the Sport with a jib and boomless mainsail (has a short "boomlet" that doesn't connect to the mast).