My experience with the Bravo is all of 5 minutes looking at one on a beach in Mexico. I have a 16 an 18 and a 20 with fairly extensive racing and fun sailing.
I'm working with my yacht club to develop a youth sailing/ sailing education program and have a huge issue with water access. We have moored boats, and a launch crane and a beach that we launch our cats from. The "normal" sailing program tends to have Optis, Lasers or other small dinghies that are a big difficult to get on and off the beach(12'' surf). We also are in a somewhat protected bay, but the wind can pick up from 10-25knts pretty quickly at the opening.
I like the idea of the remolded cat with a seemingly easy to furl main and single board and rudder system. My main concerns with the boat is how much or how little weight it can sail with. How easily a beginner, like an 8 year old can sail it or can an adult and an 8 year old sail it without being overloaded. I think the catamaran aspect can make our beach launch easier and help get kids excited about sailing in our area. I am looking at a young beginner Opti class on a nearby lake, an intermediate youth Bravo/Laser Class on lake or beach, and a more advanced H16 or...? class for those that want to keep going. This is the brainstorming period, so any thoughts or comments would be appreciated.
I have gone through exactly the same thought process. Ended up buying 3 new Hobie 16's to start my program.
This is my reasoning FWIW.
Kids learn to sail in Opti's ages 8-15. There is no reason to add a competing boat that targets this age/size group.
The post Opti options are: Laser or Windsurfer for single handed, Club 420 for double handed. There is no multihull path offered in most sailing programs.
The cost of a Laser, Bic Techno, RSX, and C420 is a limiting factor on any choice for a post Opti boat.
In round numbers it is over $10,000 USD
The youth sailors that are looking to keep sailing after Opti's are used to racing. They are used to low tech (most Opti's don't even have a compass). IMO any mulit-hull class must be an active racing class. It must also be price competitive with the other post Opti options.
IMO The choice for a youth boat must be a Hobie 16. The boat is weight sensitive and ideal for a youth crew. Here in Mexico very few of the sailors will be 6'1" and 185# so not competitive in Std Laser, and Radial is a struggle. They tend to be small for RSX also. The C420 is a pretty good choice for small crews.
What the H16 has going for it over any of the other choices is that is a much more versatile boat. Two youth sailing families can share a boat. The youth sailors can take their parents out sailing. The family can enjoy the boat when the young guns are not racing. This is not possible with a Laser, Windsurfer, or C420.
In North America the PanAM Games include the Hobie 16. This provides an International goal that no other Multi can offer.
In our program many of the parents are not sailors and a Hobie 16 just might become an active adult class at any club that includes them in a junior program. Watching your youth sailors showing off and teaching their parents to sail is a powerful and moving experience.
IMO the Bravo with a single board and rudder is not enough like a performance multi to teach skills that are different from a mono. The only plus over a H16 is that it is rotomolded hull. Any program that uses high end Opti's and Lasers has already inculded how to sail a fiberglass boat without damage, so the RM construction is less of a plus in that context.
I think you are on the right track trying to get a multi into your club's program. I think the Bravo would not be the best choice.
Vallarta Yacht Club, H16 Flota Bahia de Banderas, Nayarit Mexico