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 Post subject: Plastic or Fibreglass
PostPosted: Fri Jun 23, 2017 4:01 pm 
Site Rank - Deck Hand

Joined: Wed Jun 14, 2017 2:55 am
Posts: 2
I have found myself looking for a sailing Cat after not having been on one since childhood in the 80's, but if have a problem...

I am not sure about these new-fangled plastic boats. Everyone says they are tough, but I see a lot of posts showing cracks around the Trampoline spars, pretty much always followed by a tech guy from Hobie saying you cannot repair them.

Now Fibreglass can be repaired and painted to as strong and invisible. I see 30 year old H16's that are as tight and pretty as new, but the 10 year old plastic boats already look tired.

Am I missing something? Is my distrust unfounded?

PostPosted: Mon Jun 26, 2017 5:23 am 
Hobie Approved Guru

Joined: Mon Jul 14, 2003 7:11 pm
Posts: 5173
Location: Detroit, MI
Technically, ALL the boats are plastic, just different kinds - one is glass fiber reinforced polyester resin; the other is cross-linked ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene.

Most 30 year-old fiberglass boats don't look nearly as pretty as new, and they're certainly not nearly as tight.

I also suspect that you're seeing just a few of the polyethylene boats - the ones that have problems with cracking. Sort of like the people that have a fear of dying in a plane crash - despite the fact that it's statistically the safest mode of travel - because all they see are spectacular crashes.

It all boils down to how well you take care of your boat. You leave it out in the sun, you leave it in the water, you store it under a tree, you don't wash it, you don't cover it or garage it in the winter - yeah, it's going to look beat in a relatively short period.

On the other hand, if you take care of it - well, I've got a 10 year old Hobie 17 that people still think is new. It's been kept in a garage it's whole life. It gets rinsed off after every use (washed after every long trailer ride) and it's been maintained to a high level.

You should get the boat that best fits you - not whether it's fiberglass or polyethylene. Do you want to have relatively low maintenance, durability, the ability to carry a lot of weight (friends) but really don't care about performance? Then a Wave or Getaway is probably best. You want higher performance, lose some of the weight carrying ability, and are willing to spend the time (and $) to maintain a fiberglass boat? Then a Hobie 16 or 18 is probably better.

In any event, you should try out each type before you buy it. You might be surprised at how well the poly boats hold up.

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