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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 11:57 am 
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Hobie is obviously extremely successful in their current line of business, which can be describes as selling roto-molded boats, particularly kayaks. They've continued to innovate and created all sorts of unique and fun water-craft that people love, everything from SUP boards to the trimaran / kayak hybrids.

They sell three roto-molded catamarans that pay homage to their heritage as the original 'king of the beach cats'. The Wave is probably the most popular new production beach cat in the world. Many hotels and resorts have small fleets of them for rental, Even so, I bet Hobie sells 50 kayaks for every cat. The Hobie 16 soldiers on as their only fiberglass boat, and the only focused racing boat among their offerings, but its days seem numbered, too. It's iconic, but extremely dated. It's a quaint artifact from an earlier era in design, not a modern boat.

It may be that Hobie may have no interest in developing new cats for their traditional market, it's moved on and so have they. Racing is more competitive at the top level than it used to be. Boat design is evolving faster. In beach cats the "Formula" classes seemed to attract more sailors for the last 15 years, and nemesis NACRA did better in the Formula wars, and then won the Olympic mixed-multihull design competition. Hobie doesn't need to build fast racing cats for their business, and the fast racers have plenty of other companies catering to them. Why bother?

Still, given all that I would love to see Hobie build a new fiberglass boat for us beach-cat lovers. A "recreational racer", that hits in that sweet spot that the best of their designs have always hit: fast and exciting, great for racing, but also durable and affordable. Something that is fun for taking kids or friends out on, but can be campaigned successfully by a couple.

My idea is that such a boat should be built with the long haul in mind. Not that it's the fastest production 18 footer this year, but rather that it's a very well balanced "best of the beach cat" design, one that simplifies with cost/ benefit including ease of rigging and sailing. Build it with a bias towards sea-worthiness, so that it can be used in the ocean and isn't merely a round-the-cans screamer like the Wild Cat. Keep the costs down by avoiding exotic materials and complex fabrication technology. Promote the boat among existing Hobie fleets as the new standard for two up racing, perhaps with a second sail plan for single-handing.

I think such a design, with the promise behind it that Hobie will support the boat for a decade or two, would be attractive to many sailors who have tired of the Formula treadmill, and are looking for the excitement of a high performance racing design, but not in a class that requires buying a new boat every 4 years to stay competitive. As Mike put it on the T2 thread: one design is our friend. Sadly, at the point that Hobie really needed a solid new one-design they chose to enter the Formula Wars and ended up chasing themselves and obsoleting boats before they gained enough momentum to stand alone as a one-design category.

What are your thoughts? Do you think Hobie will ever offer another high-performance fiberglass boat in the USA, or are those days behind us? Is there a set of features that would be enticing for such a boat? What do you think it should be? What current or older design beach cat comes closest to the ideal for a next-generation performance Hobie Cat?


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:58 pm 
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The problem is that that area of the market is already served by so many other catamarans. The instant you introduce such a boat, you already have existing competition. Now you might leapfrog the competition by offering similar or better performance at a lower price, etc. But unless you can do that, the market wouldn't likely be kind.

On the other hand, the one big gap in the market is for a trailerable, performance trimaran in the 16 to 17 foot length. Nothing exists in that range currently (OK- the Windrider 17 but it's not a full out performance boat, and the Astus 16.5 but it has serious build quality issues). If Hobie built something along the lines of the Diam24 in a 17 foot length, that sold for under $20K, they would have their next H16... all over again.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:56 pm 
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Location: Sarasota,Key West FL
I would like them to come out with a performance version of the TI, (with mirage drives), something that’s seaworthy (C rating).
The AI/TI market is huge, but it’s an entry level recreational boat. Sure the standard TI can be hardened and souped up, but man o man is it a lot of work to make it into a performance boat, (I had to re-design completely pretty much everything on the boat to make all mine). Not worth the effort.
All those guys who bought TI’s and used them a couple years, then want for something a little more powerful would be a huge expanding and unique market.
Rotomolding is very old technology with very low accuracy, and wrought with strength issues. Hobie needs to can rotomolding, first because cycle time is 2-3 hrs, which brings up cost and the ability to deliver in high volumes.
There are quite a few newer and better technologies availiable now and hobie is having their ass handed to them because they keep clinging to that old tech. With thermoforming or injection molding you can make a much stronger/ lighter and way more accurate hull in under 5 minutes and the material costs are less than half.
There would be no competition since Hobie is the one that invented the adventure boats in the first place and here we are 12 yrs later and there is no competition of any kind.
The ideal boat would be 21ft long and 12ft wide with 250 sq ft of sail, the center hull would need to sit higher in the water with about 1000 lbs weight capacity. Setup time still needs to be under 15 minutes from trailer.
We can only hope.
I sold my last one last fall ( our 3rd), and just don’t have it in me anymore to design and build another one, ( which is a huge undertaking of mammoth proportions).
I just want to buy one and use the heck out of it, lol.
Hopefully Hobie will come thru.
FE


Last edited by fusioneng on Sun Jul 29, 2018 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:21 pm 
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This question/topic seems to come up every couple years. I would say it is HIGHLY unlikely we will see any new beach cat designs from Hobie, especially in the US. If anything, they are continuing to reduce the number of offerings available (T2 was recently discontinued).

Personally, I think the Pearl would be be an awesome choice. It is a proven platform (Hobie Tiger hulls, crossbars, mast). It has a roller furling screecher/hooter which makes handling less complicted than a traditional spinnaker. Kick up centerboards for easy beaching and a clean deck. And it would fill the void as a one design spinnaker class catamaran of which there really are currently none (NACRA 17 maybe). Anyway, I’m sure we’ll never see it here in the US but it’s fun to dream....

sm


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 5:54 pm 
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srm wrote:
This question/topic seems to come up every couple years. I would say it is HIGHLY unlikely we will see any new beach cat designs from Hobie, especially in the US. If anything, they are continuing to reduce the number of offerings available (T2 was recently discontinued).

Personally, I think the Pearl would be be an awesome choice. It is a proven platform (Hobie Tiger hulls, crossbars, mast). It has a roller furling screecher/hooter which makes handling less complicted than a traditional spinnaker. Kick up centerboards for easy beaching and a clean deck. And it would fill the void as a one design spinnaker class catamaran of which there really are currently none (NACRA 17 maybe). Anyway, I’m sure we’ll never see it here in the US but it’s fun to dream....

sm


Yes, I think you are right on both counts. We're unlikely to see that, and the Pearl does look pretty awesome and the best of the current range for what I'm saying. And after reading this I did a search and found out that, yes, this topic did come up a few years ago. I found this topic: Why not the Pearl? from 2012. It starts out with someone asking a question similar to mine at the top of this thread.

So, I guess if in six years Hobie hasn't seen fit to bring it over it's unlikely to do so now. And it's part of this larger trend, I guess remarked on on this thread: Is Hobie Sailing Dead? Well, not dead, but certainly shrinking and a lot less vital than even in the 1990s when I got into it.

So, I'll just put my 2c for maybe bringing something like the Pearl over and promoting it to the new generation. X-games exposure for a short raid would be awesome. Reality TV seems made for something like the Worrell 1000, and running that as a one design even happened once previously, I believe.

It's interesting that the world's largest dingy manufacturer (RS Sailing) is entering the beach cat market, not leaving it. (Which goes back to my original point that Hobie has morphed into a very successful kayak company at this point). They've gone from one original model to two new models in a the period since people were asking about the Pearl. My local dingy dealer sells Hobie Islands, lots of Weta's, and tons of RS boats of all types. Hobie certainly has a lot more unique intellectual property (possibly protected by patents) with the various Mirage Drive variations. Maybe that is why they are focused there, it's a more unique and protectable niche.

Still I'm sure the sales of Mirage Drive boats took off with the popularity of the show about the kayak fishermen in Hawaii, most of whom used some Hobie or another as their platform for fishing.


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:05 pm 
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I’ll go the other direction, I’d like something just a little smaller than the 16. I seriously thought about getting one of the imported 14’s that can be special ordered, but the capacity seems just too little. For the roto boats, there is a family cruiser, a resort/learner, and whatever the Bravo is (which is fun, I have one, but not exciting like a 14/16 would be). Then there is the race boat, the 16, all thats missing is a fast sporty fun boat just below the 16 with better bouyancy than the 14, like the Dragoon or 15 from Europe, ideal boat would be a slightly larger 14 foot version of the dragoon or a slightly smaller 14-15’ (not the 16’4” actual on the 15) that can be sailed solo easily or carry crew to round out the fleet.

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2018 6:51 pm 
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Yes, there is a hole all around for manageable single handers, I agree. De-powered 16 footers aren't really the right thing, especially if you have to right it somewhere.

Your idea is a good one. I was looking at the Nacra 15 as a single hander a while ago.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:05 am 
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2018 9:09 am 
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Seems like the Pearl would really fill a niche for folks that want (to race) a modern performance cat but don't want to deal with traditional spinnakers, 6-foot long dagger boards, or the arms race associated with Formula class racing. The Pearl is essentially a Hobie 18 for the 21st century.

But like I said, it has been discussed on this forum several times over the years and Hobie has shown no indication of ever bringing that boat to the US.

sm


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