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PostPosted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 9:01 pm 
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Hi all,

In 200 words or less, this is my humble opinion of what kind of boat the market needs and what can sell. I would like to share my thoughts and get this group to help design/specify criteria that a (one) boat would need to replace and modernize the Hobie 16 and 18. A one design class boat. Then I am hoping Hobie takes notice and fills my town with an exciting, modern and affordable boat again.

First I would like to say that I acknowledge that the 16 is the most successful production sailboat ever designed and produced. The 18 is my favorite but unfortunately there is just not enough left to generate much excitement. Both boats in my opinion are too old to ever be considered “in style” and mass marketable. The Hobie Brand has a loyal following and I think it is important that this group embrace “what’s next” instead of holding on to something that will die with the average age of the person racing/sailing them. We need “What’s next”. We need to attract the younger sailor that is evolving from an ever greener society. Now is the time to create “What’s Next” in an economy moving towards $5 gas and less pollution. The boat should include some of the most modern aspects of cat innovations (square top sail, improved hull design, etc. etc.). The boat also should be designed to be cost efficient, easily produced and profitable for Hobie. It should also include features that would attract the competitive “one Design” racer. There is a market! I see it and it is wide open.

The Boat should generate excitement, grow with the users skills and be sailed in a variety of venues. The perfect boat is the updated (30 years of innovation) Hobie 16/18. Not a Ferrari or Corvette and not a Kia or Moped. This should be the Mustang or Camaro……..350ZX or RX7.

The Wild Cat is a GREAT boat!.......but, it is not for the beginning sailor and is not in the budget of the average person learning to sail. I would say that the H20 fits in the Wild Cat category also.

Needs, (IMHO)
-A Basic package boat is going to be between $8,000 to $12,000. Upgrade options to include, rudders, spinnaker rig, sails, trailers, colors, down haul systems, waterproof Ipod sound systems in the tramp pockets :D etc,etc. (To be provided as add -ons through a dealer or an on-line Hobie division designed to support a dealer).
-16-18 feet, less than 350lbs (hopefully not as weight sensitive as a H16)
-square top sail with modern materials. Mast should be able to carry different size sails for different weight crews.
-boomless ? Comptip?
-fiberglass with a sturdy bottom for beaching and durability.
-daggers or no daggers, asymmetrical or not, that is the question. This separates new boats from old but the daggers bring much complication to the new sailor and non-racers. Can a asymmetrical hull be designed that won’t pitch pole and doesn’t look like a Prindle? Remember, we want to be cool and attract new sailors.
-Racing weight minimum to be 300 with a mechanism to add weight for lighter crews or increase sail area for heavier crews .
-Boat should be able to be set up and sailed in under 30 minutes with just two people
-Boat designed for 2 people, not 3 or more.
-utilize as many existing Hobie parts as possible.
The most controversial question to the group is this,……..how to market them? The days of a Hobie dealer being right around the corner or in your town is gone. Can they be sold in a West Marine or other large venue and be successful? As much as I would like to support my local Hobie Dealer I can’t because there isn’t one. Maybe all the support and options can come from the few dealers out there. And how about an on-line way to order parts and or boats? Somehow our sport has totally missed the 21st century.

I hope Hobie doesn’t think I have overstepped the forum rules here and reads the replies with interest. I enjoy the Hobie people I have met and I want what is best for the “Hobie Way of Life”.

“WHAT’S NEXT”???

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H16 '83
H18 '89
H20 '96 "20/20 Vision"
Fleet 259 Central Coast California


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:06 am 
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I personally think hobie would do well to build an F16 and not create another one design class that will go no where. They should build a boat that will fit into popular formula classes.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:18 am 
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I think Hobie Europe (now that they are one company again) has your answer already with their current line. The Hobie Tatoo fits most of that bill already with the different "trim" levels it comes in. Just bring that boat here already! No need to reinvent the wheel, just expand the current marketing of the new company's products to more markets.

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... History: '84 H16 Tsunami Nationals, '84 H16 Yellow Nationals, '84 Hobie 14T


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:37 am 
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Location: Tri-Cities, WA
I agree with hawk592, why reinvent the wheel. Hobie Europe has been by far the inovator of the catamatan line in the Hobie Co. Just import the damn things. I would have bought one as an upgrade from my wife's Bravo (e.g. Hobie Pacific or Hobie Cat 15), but ended up getting her a Weta Trimaran (actually a very good choice for about $12K, but not the point).

Question: When was the last time you saw a TV commercial for Hobie catamarans.
ANSWER: never :o

Or get one featured in a major movie. Look what Hunger Games did for archery!!! :wink:

I wish Coleman would sell Hobie to someone who would get off the bench and run with the ball. Nuf said 8)


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:48 am 
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Location: Detroit, MI
fastcat wrote:
I wish Coleman would sell Hobie to someone who would get off the bench and run with the ball. Nuf said 8)
Coleman sold Hobie Cat in 1988. That's why there was a separate Hobie Europe - it was split off in the sale.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:52 am 
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MBounds, thanks for the update, 1988 eigh :oops: Do you know who the current parent Co is?


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:59 pm 
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fastcat wrote:
MBounds, thanks for the update, 1988 eigh :oops: Do you know who the current parent Co is?
The current ownership is an investment group based in St. Louis.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:49 pm 
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Ok, so the point is we want new boats in the U.S. Got that someone?!

The Tattoo is a rotomold boat and very difficult to get excited about. I know that the costs remain low to produce and they look good for a long time, but they won't wear like the fiberglass boats and can't be easily repaired. Won't last 30 years for sure but that might be Hobies goal.

Maybe a combination or the Tattoo and a F16. Looking 20 years down the road, what boat has the potential to still be relevant in fleet races? I don't think it is the current H16.

Below is the link to a Tattoo Video on youtube. I like the rig and rudders.

Matt.......what are they selling for in Europe? Is there a spec sheet somewhere on them?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vfk2_cPvEo

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H16 '83
H18 '89
H20 '96 "20/20 Vision"
Fleet 259 Central Coast California


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:33 am 
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Interesting topic.
The first question is who is the target market and how will the boat be used by the majority? Cruising or racing, Novice or experienced? Remember many people decided for powered personal watercraft against a catamaran as a fun water toy because it takes skill to sail, rather than just twisting a throttle and turning some handlebars.
For my druthers, an symmetric hull with daggerboards is a definite. Asyms may be easier but you can't get enough bouyancy in the bows without making it a pig to turn. I'd prefer fiberglass hulls but if is more profitable to build rotomolded then so be it, as long as the boat is durable. Perhaps a roto 18' boat will be much lighter than a fiberglass one. Definitely a split rig with headsail. Although I prefer a larger 18' boat, something along the lines of the F16 will probably have a broader appeal. Designed-in options such as a spinnaker would enable buyer gratification as they increase their skill set and extend the length of ownership before wanting to trade up.
Bells and whistles such as a sound system or GPS may be attractive to some, just not to me.

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'88 H18SE Arís


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:09 pm 
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I am one of those, Hobie has lost as a customer. It's because I would not go for a half-century old design (H16) or a plastic boat (Wave, Getaway)...

Here is my wish list:

1. Boat length 17 ft

2. Beam 8'2". Expandable to 10 ft? Ok -- I many be asking too much :). But seriously, a telescopic cross-beams to make the boat supper-stable and with huge trampoline... this would be a big hit!

3. Modern design wave-piercing, symmetrical hulls in fiberglass. I would like to see some innovation here. Perhaps a hybrid of Getaway keel and a small, high-aspect carbon centerboards?

4. Optional carbon mast, 28'. A light mast will be a key for easy and quick rigging. Optional 2 part mast.

5. Main sail -- square-head with high aspect, 174 sq ft, Pentex, vertical cut. I would like to see sail colors not designed by an engineer or the company owner. Get an actual artist to select a modern looking pattern.

6. Boom less, but with optional carbon boom

7. Jib, Dacton, 45 sq ft

8. Optional spin kit

9. Crew -- optimal 2, but to accommodate up to 4.

10. All setup for quick rigging. Rigging time from trailer to water should be 30 min or less.

11. Well designed trailer with double rollers and integrated mast stepper.

12. Price tag, $12 -15K, not including options

13. Weight 330lb, or under with a carbon mast

14. Option of 3 different wings included in the package

Most important -- it has to be well designed package. Meaning, it should include all I need to sail and rig quickly. Perhaps, some sort of wire control device, nice mast cradles, sail bag with a zipper, quick connectors, etc. Just attention to detail is what most people expect now-days.

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Last edited by jackB on Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 2:56 am 
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I think you're a bit out of touch with what actual costs would be. When you start talking about the boat having things like:

jackB wrote:
3. ...symmetrical hulls in fiberglass.

4. Optional carbon mast, 28'.

5. Main sail -- square-head with high aspect, 174 sq ft, Pentex, vertical cut.

8. spin kit

13. Weight 330lb, or under with a carbon mast

14. Option of 3 different wings included in the package


This:
Quote:
12. Price tag, $12 -15K
becomes highly un-realisitc.

Basically what you've described is a boat that's lighter than an F18 with carbon mast, spinnaker, and wings that is roughly half the cost of an F18. I'm no boat builder, but I don't see it happening.

sm


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:17 am 
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jackB wrote:

Here is my wish list:

1. Boat length 17 ft

2. Beam 8'2". Expandable to 10 ft? Ok -- I many be asking too much :). But seriously, a telescopic cross-beams to make the boat supper-stable and with huge trampoline... this would be a big hit!


You must like to go swimming!

Why do you want so much carbon? That carbon mast alone is half of your wishful price. The 3 sails would add another $4K so there is $2,000 to build the rest of your boat.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 8:50 am 
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Target Market is key here.

We have started (restarted) a Fleet in CA. I have stated in other posts that the biggest problem we have had is availability of good boats. The next problem is that many of the newbe sailors don't know how to sail. Hmmmmmmm

I can tell you that I now get calls and emails weekly of people wanting boats and wanting to get involved. I have put over 50 people on an email list in just the last year!!!!!! Some of these people have boats but most don't. The people that are getting drawn to us are of all ages but most are young professionals and some student out of Cal Poly. NONE OF THESE PEOPLE are Kayak people. Nothing against Kayaks but there is a difference between trapping on a boat at 15 knots and paddling a kayak on flat scenic beach/lake. VERY different people.

Something has shifted. Jet skis and quads are no longer cool. These people want to be around others who want to share excitement and fun outdoor events. I am not a greenie by any means but sailing is GREEN and should be marketed that way.

We need an exciting boat. Not a 20+k racing rig that this population can't develop on. A modernized Hobie 16 or 18. Affordable / raceable / upgradeable.

What's funny is this boat already exists in the technology we/others have. No new innovations needed. Just assembly and minor redesign to avoid patent infringements and manufacturing cost reductions. Could the Fiberglass Hulls be made in Mexico? Would we care?

I think the upper rig and rudder systems of the Tattoo look more than adequate to begin this process.

MMiller,
Could you please post any info you have on the TATTOO in this topic discussion?

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H16 '83
H18 '89
H20 '96 "20/20 Vision"
Fleet 259 Central Coast California


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:18 pm 
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I don't have any Tattoo info beyond what is on the Hobie cat Europe site: hobie-cat.net

http://www.hobie-cat.net/hobie-cat/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=414%3Ahobietatoo-uk&catid=79%3Acatamarans&Itemid=576&lang=en

We are evaluating the European line of boats. The Tattoo is the most likely one to make it's way over here, but we need to fully test it first. We have one here in Oceanside.

BTW...
wscotterwin wrote:
I like the rig and rudders.

The rudders are US designed and made... EZ Loc. Just like the Getaway and Wave.

I think that next would be something as discussed... 17 foot glass recreational/performance like the Pearl... but modernized.

Nothing is likely to be added mid year. Model year starts September 1st.

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Hobie Cat USA


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:30 pm 
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mmiller wrote:
Nothing is likely to be added mid year. Model year starts September 1st.


Darn! A year of suspense???? :(

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www.HobieFleet97.org
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