First of all, most sailors learned the nuts and bolts of sailing on small boats like Sunfish/Lasers. Just like most Indy 500 drivers started in sprint cars or smaller. Don't discount the experience gained from small, responsive boats. Larger boats are much slower to react, making it more difficult to learn the cause and effect.
The Wave is a great boat, but it's not built for the speed of the larger boats. Hull speed (theoretical speed limit that a boat can be pushed through the water), at least in monohulls, is directly proportional to the length of the waterline of the boat. I'm sure catamarans have different rules though due to the fact they're not displacement hulls, but it's probably still a factor. I found that my Wave was designed more for ease of handling, portability, and stability, which are great for entry level cat sailors like myself. Those things tend to be sacrificed for speed on the larger boats. Especially with sailing, to gain something, something else must be traded off. My Getaway is considerably faster, more responsive, and a little more complicated to sail than the Wave, and it's the "social boat". I can't imagine how fast the fiberglass hulls are. I noticed last night that the bows really cut through the waves, instead of digging in. I think this sacrifices speed for safety. Faster cats probably try to ride atop the waves, so there's less drag due to displacement, but the trade off is the potential for digging in that precipitates pitchpoling. The lack of a boom for safety considerably reduces the control you have over the shape of the mainsail. At least the Wave has a full roach main, which dramatically increases sail area. Even though it's rather small, compared to the main, the jib on the Getaway makes a big difference in speed, pointing ability, and tacking, so I'm sure the same would be true for the Wave. Waves have a growing racing class, so even if a Tiger zooms by you flying a hull at ludicrous speed, you can still pass another Wave by sailing it more efficiently. I found the speed attained on my Wave on close/beam reaches to be quite edifying. The Wave also has a spinnaker kit, and solo trap wire kit, so you can trick it out with official Hobie parts. There's also a Super Wave site that some guy with way too much time on his hands tweaked his Wave to the point where it's almost unrecognizable (http://www.catsailor.com/waves/superwave_overall.html
). One thing I think is so valuable about the Wave is that it has the potential for getting kids involved in the sport of sailing at a relatively younger age, while still being perfectly suitable for adults. That's a pretty delicate balance. It's also very easy to right solo (at least at my 190#). Hindsight being 20/20, I probably shouldn't have traded in my Wave when I bought my sloop. I'd probably still have it, unless I would've traded it in on a Getaway, which is what I really wanted, but I was intimidated by the size. Anyway, the bottom line is that I hope you enjoy your Wave and I wouldn't be too worried about comparing apples and oranges.