Hi it's me again:
I have as much interest as everyone else in Hobies next generation cat design. However I tend to think outside of the box. Instead of re-hashing what is current on the market, I think as a group you could help Hobie concept and develop the next generation of cat. We all want the boat to be fast, easy and fast to setup, light weight, and a standardized design which could be classified as a one design (ie.. Laser, Weta, H16,etc), and most important inexpensive.
Why not think outside of the box and come up with suggestions on how to design and make such a boat, as well as a wish list of features you want Hobie to implement into the design.
As we all know layup fiberglass is a very labor intensive and time consuming process, Carbon fiber composites and kevlar is also very labor intensive (and way more expensive), and in addition the carbon fiber material itself is very expensive so you would want to use as little as possible. Actually roto-molding is a fairly expensive process as well, a lot of energy required to heat up those molds, and many of you are not fans of rotomolded boats.
If you want to develop a fast cat at half the weight of whats currently available, at a cost we all can afford I think we all need to think outside of the box.
For example how bout somebody develop a way to injection mold the hulls (vs layup fiberglass or rotomolding). I think it would be a pretty simple matter to design a hull with a carbon re-enforced film skin which is laid into the mold (to form the outermost hull), then close into an injection mold and mold in the insides and framework It's called IMD / IML molding, (Hobie already does this on their kayak and TI lines). Injection molding is the way the front and rear facia's are made on most of your cars (injection molding), some companies make the entire car body from these materials (ie... Saturn). The injection molded materials are way stronger than the rotomolded PE materials( stronger = lighter (less material needed)). So the weight would be half of what is currently out there. Better yet it only takes two minutes to mold the hull complete vs the hours it takes to rotomold, and days for layup fiberglass or Carbon composites (the molds are only slightly more expensive). Take the labor out and the costs go way down. With injection molding it would not be difficult to lay in a molded gf nylon keel strip, then overmold right over it (it's all pretty simple stuff).
The cross bar frames could be made from pulltrusions (yes you can pulltrude curved shapes), vs machined metals or composite (much stronger,lighter, and way cheaper).
Instead of machined or composite carbon masts, which are both very labor intensive and expensive to produce. Why doesn't one of you develop a way to produce a weaved carbon pulltrusion (carbon/kevlar/glass fibers are twisted/weaved while being pulled through the pulltrision mold process that can spit out a 25 ft mast in 15 minutes. (but doesn't cost $3000 dollars)
I am a huge fan of the mirage drive system, I don't think I could own a boat without one, why don't one of you think of a way to incorporate the mirage drive systems into something that would be usable on a cat ( I hate to paddle when the wind dies). Think outside the box, it has to be simple and add no weight or drag to the boat. This would be totally exclusive to Hobie (patents).
Sails, I think it's been pretty well proven that wing sails are in all of our futures, why can't one of you come up with a wing main sail design that is inexpensive, collapsible and super light weight (easily rigged and taken down). I'm working on one for my current TI, it's not rocket science and in my opinion would be the ultimate solution on a cat ( I'm not giving up my spinnaker though).
Foils- Why couldn't one of you develop a foil design for cats that is simple and automatic so you can reduce your wet area at higher speeds without adding drag or weight at lower speeds (as part of the basic hull design), admittedly this would be a pretty tall order. I have a feeling in ten years this will be standard on all cat hulls, one of you just needs to invent it.
If we all want super fast lightweight cat that is inexpensive (under $7000), then the above is just some of the challenges that need to be overcome, I'm pretty sure the readers of this thread have an accumulated thousand years of experience and advanced sailing knowledge (and all want to go as fast as I do). Why not help Hobie define the next generation.
I don't pretend to be an expert in any of these areas, I'm just throwing ideas out there for everyone to think about (you guys are the experts). I'm hopin you get this all worked out so I can buy my next boat,,,,,, soon. Please hurry..
I think that takes care of that. The question now is can Hobie make it happen?