Guys, just for your information, IÂ´m still in Europe and two weeks ago, I raced with Mitch Booth in HyÃ¨res and had the chance to discussed the new F18 with Mitch and other guys from the factory since Mitch is really involve in the development.
Around 2 to 4 sets of hulls are already produced and final testing is planned to be by the beginning of November. Famous F18 sailors invited to test the boat: Mitch Booth, Darren Bundock, Gleen Ashby, J-C Mourniac. I was not allowed to see the boat but Mitch's son saw it and he said to me: this is the sickest Hobie cat ever, really modern. I know that they were still working on the mast and sail plan. Only the front and rear beams will remain the same as the Tiger, the rest is totally new. Mitch mentionned that the hull shape of the infusion and the capricorn was a step further than the Tiger and the new Hobie F18 will be the step further than the nacra/capricorn.
Guys, let me tell you that with everything I've heard: Its gonna be a sick and fast boat.
A new casting with a new blade, carbon daggerboard. New Mast. A clean platform and many new innovations. Its gonna be a really modern high performance F18 Hobie Cat.
Plus... we do not import all of the HCF products. If it is not a product we agree with or causes confusion in our markets, we would likely not import it here.
Keeping the new F18 out of North America is really not a good idea. A lot of people are now opting for an infusion or a capricorn because of the more modern design and look. Let me tell you that nacra and capricorn took a part of the market in F18 catamarans since 2 or 3 years. We ceeded all of sales to those manufacturers. Not importing the new F18 from Hobie will increase this phenomena. HC USA must absolutely import this new F18 as soon as possible. The Tiger class is now big enough to stand by itself. In fact, the new F18 will increase the market of secondhand Tiger. The Tiger will eventually become more affordable to younger sailors and more sailors will join the Tiger and F18 class on a Hobie.
I'm pretty sure that the boat will be ready for Belgium F18 worlds