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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 2:56 pm 
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Matt Mililer, You could sell 100,000 Adventure Islands annually and still, I think most of the people who post here on your "Sailing" forums don't consider the boat to be in the same category as Hobie's "real" sailboats. Even if you personally don't agree you do understand that, don't you? I suspect that is why the Adventure Island forum is found in the "kayak" section of your message forums, not the "sailing" section. I'm betting at some point somebody at Hobie USA decided "This is a kayak on steroids that will appeal to kayaker, not our traditional sail boat buyers." Technically, yes, it is a sailboat (or a "sailing platform" as you call it). My concern is the powers that be at Hobie will let the sales revenue of this niche offering (and for that matter, your Rotomolded line) dictate the entire direction of the company from a sailing perspective. It's definitely good to hear you're at least looking at viable fiberglass options from the HCE line. My beloved H-18 will likely reach the end of its life in another 5 years and it sure would be nice to be able to replace it with something similar from Hobie.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 27, 2013 3:42 pm 
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BrianCT wrote:
I think most of the people who post here on your "Sailing" forums don't consider the boat to be in the same category as Hobie's "real" sailboats. Even if you personally don't agree you do understand that, don't you?


Please note that Island forums are stand alone... not within the kayak forums. They are unique.

Oh, I understand it very well. I understand cats and kayaks. I am a cat sailor at heart, but have seen that market change over many years. It has nothing to do with a (perceived) lack of high end choices from Hobie Cat now. Recreational sailing has ALWAYS been number one in sales. Racing has always been less that 10% of the market. There is just a limited number of sailors either capable skill wise , money wise or interested in the high end products anymore. That is indisputable fact. This has been going on since we came out with the Hobie 16. Sailors moved to the 16 from the 14... then the 18 came, sailors moved to the 18 and so on. It is largely the same group of guys... over and over again. We then had families, got older, less free time and people dropped out to do other things. What we needed were new sailors... so... that is what we are focusing on.

Our Islands and kayaks are a completely different product. What we do see is interest in our cat sailing products coming from people learning from sailing the Islands and kayaks. As I have said many times before; we are re-building the marketplace for sailing. We also see many returning sailors enjoying these boats because they are so versatile.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:20 am 
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hobie18rich wrote:
The Hobie 16 will never change as long as there is a class racing it.



I don't think any boat can stay still forever as technology changes and existing boats soon become dated.

I believe the Hobie 16 is a 41 year old design (1972?), which makes it very very old by most standards today.

It's stood the test of time but technology and ideas have moved on.

Equally with so many sold, I doubt Hobie 16 racing would stop overnight.

The evolution as I see it would be for a new version of the Hobie 16 eg maybe called the Hobie 16 Evolution? (!) with a new design and new technologies incorporated.

That way you keep the 2 boats separate and the old can still be raced class legally and separately to the new.

I do agree with 1 sentiment which I also expressed above and that is where as I foresee foiling as the future and there being a small market possibly growing market for a small foiling cat, the bulk of Hobie's business is always going to be in the leisure market and to that end with the existing Hobie 16 being so successful, I think Hobie need to look at ways of making an Evolution of it high tech and cutting edge whilst still retaining ease of set up and use to retain the leisure market. I don't see a 16 as a foiler or Nacra for that matter.

A good example of this is the difference between the Wildcat and 16. I'd love a Wildcat but personally I wouldn't buy one because of the additional setup time and complexity. Its a great boat for club use no doubt where its always left rigged in an impound but its of far less appeal to a hobbyist who has to trailer their boat to the location.

Now if the Wildcat performance or greater could be brought into an easy to setup 16 through technological advances, that would be a whole new ball game, and the whole point of this discussion as started by the OP is there are new technologies out there such as lightweight composites, windsurfing style "wing" style asymmetrical foil sails, new hull designs and slick coatings etc that can all deliver more power and speed than potentially could ever be extracted out of the original design.

To again take the sail design, when I used to windsurf 20 years ago, RAF sails had just come out. 5.5 square metres was considered a good all-round size for medium winds. A look on the Tushingham / Neil Pride web sites shows 7.7 square metres is now recommended size for the same wind conditions. The difference appears to be that technology has not only given more power but also made sails more controllable so 50% larger areas can now be use with the same level of control. There's nothing in this that makes me suspect the same couldn't be applied to cats.

On this basis I would think a larger main and a genoa plus a camber induced foil design on both and lighter hulls and other advances could easily deliver a much more modern and faster 16 cat whilst still retaining leisure sail ability.


Last edited by Alsone on Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 8:45 am 
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The 16 in the U.S. isn't even allowed to be raced with a spin in class racing. The NAHCA will not let another H-16 in the country to race.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 3:48 pm 
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hobie18rich wrote:
The 16 in the U.S. isn't even allowed to be raced with a spin in class racing. The NAHCA will not let another H-16 in the country to race.


I doubt they'd have much choice if production of the classic Hobie 16 ceased in favour of a new Evolution version.


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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:05 pm 
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Why would you kill the only boat that sells well?

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 28, 2013 10:06 pm 
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The title of this thread is "only 2 fiberglass boats currently offered", implying that only fiberglass makes a "real" sailboat. Such a weird idea. There is more to a good sailboat then material. Truth is that the barrier to entry to sailing is largely cultural. Sailing is seen as complicated, less thrilling then motor boating and little elite. The racing culture of sailing is even less interesting to the average potential sailor, and there aren't enough of those folks to support a market of complex, high performance boats.

On the other hand the the AI folks (and boats) have brought a feeling adventure that is appealing. Its a concept that easy to understand and people can relate to it. Nothing wrong with racing, tons of fun. How do we capitalize on the feeling of family adventure that the AI have tapped into and bring it to sailing. I think this is the messaging that will bring more new sailors (As Matt suggested that AI are doing) and expand the sailing market.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 12:43 am 
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hobie18rich wrote:
Why would you kill the only boat that sells well?


Not kill off, update.

Hobie could even keep both boats in production if worried - the Classic and the Evolution.

The problem then as I see it would be any difference in price as many big leisure buyers might not buy an Evolution version if it was a lot more expensive than a Classic.

I think the simple answer here is you can't have it all ways. You either stick with a 1972 design and accept that its becoming more and more out of date compared to the competition and risk leisure schools eventually changing to one of the more up-to-date competitors or you update the boat but risk the new boat not being accepted also.

I think the key is not to "replace" the Hobie 16 per se but to update it and to try to make it high tech whilst keeping the price similar. Not always easy things to achieve but not necessarily impossible.

Like I said above, car manufacturers are looking at replacing metal panels with a carbon fibre / plastic composite that's supposed to be 5x as strong, twice as stiff and 50% lighter than the current steel ones but still economic:

http://media.ford.com/news/forddevelops ... hicles.htm

How this compares to fibreglass I don't know but my experience of fibreglass is that it isn't light!

Also windsurfers have been using carbon booms and masts for years without excessive cost, especially if you avoid the big brand names, proving the tech itself isn't too expensive.

Comparing sail prices, Tushingham Windsurfing Sails in their most expensive top of the range, RAF Camber Induced Race design are £579 for a 9.5m2 at this site: http://www.boardwise.co.uk/2013-tushing ... 7d08a2735e

That's a 1/3rd the price of a Hobie 16 standard main sail in the uk which costs £1,437, and the Tushingham is no doubt Mylar not Dacron. If Hobie wanted Mylar, I have no doubt they could get it cheaper than that bearing in mid this is a top brand sail maker plus their top of the range sail. Any OEM manufacturing would of course involve only 1 sail design taking the top of the range premium away and no doubt Hobie could find a manufacturer who either offered a substancial discount or wasn't top brand so didn't charge a premium.

In Dacron (if this type of sail was to be adopted by Hobie) the sail cost would probably come down significantly which would in turn compensate for the increased cost caused by the greater sail area that Hobie would need.

I'm sure Hobie could find a cost effective solution in either Dacron or Mylar for a highly efficient wing effect sail.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:49 am 
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Alsone wrote:
I doubt they'd have much choice if production of the classic Hobie 16 ceased in favour of a new Evolution version.


The 16 is here to stay... maybe we come up with another boat (how many times have we and other companies done that?), but the 16 is one design... not changing.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:08 am 
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mmiller wrote:
Alsone wrote:
I doubt they'd have much choice if production of the classic Hobie 16 ceased in favour of a new Evolution version.


The 16 is here to stay... maybe we come up with another boat (how many times have we and other companies done that?), but the 16 is one design... not changing.


Ah OK.

I don't see one design being a problem though as any new boat could be one design. I do understand Hobie wanting to keep their best seller though.

Maybe we'll see a new high tech 16 foot edition in the future then? Maybe even my Evolution suggestion :wink: .

I'd like to see another shorter length easy to rig dagger-less performance cat as the trouble with 17 / 18 footers is although they're great on wide open waters and the sea, they're not so well accepted on smaller inland waters where the beam becomes a problem both in terms of water space and also intimidating other water users - there's nothing more frightening than a huge wide cat hurtling towards you at a high rate of knots! The other trouble with current performance variants such as the Wild Cat is the rigging time for leisure sailors who have trailer their boats to and from a sailing venue.

I see my ideal cat as something that can achieve a PY rating of around 650 from a 16 foot cat with simple rigging, no daggers to worry about, anti-pitchpoling hull design, much larger than current high tech sails (main & Genoa) with control and efficiency coming from design rather than area restriction, and lightweight hulls and spars and that leaves Spinnakers and complexity in setup to the expert club sailors (no objection to spinnakers as an accessory - whatever sells, so long as the basic rigged boat hits a PY of 650 or less). The idea is to get speed from efficiency and weight reduction rather than huge balloons out front!

If a new high tech boat was forthcoming, it would be good if cost could be kept comparable as then it would be able to compete for sales with the existing 16 and if the new boat really took off there would be an opportunity in future years to phase out the old if sales swung the new way but then again if not, keep it entirely and have the new in parallel production as an equally profitable alternative.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 3:38 pm 
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Just wanted to add further to my comments in the last post, I've been looking at the NACRA f16 & 580 boat for comparison and found some really neat features.

Mods, please note this isn't an attempt to persuade people to NACRA, rather just a comparison of features that might be nice to see included in a future Hobie design.

Positives:

Aft Sheeted Mainsail *
Folding daggerboards (580 only) **
Integrated Trampoline - comprises completely flat deck area with tramp on same level as hulls
Hull design that has wave piercing hulls and more floatation forwards to avoid pitchpoles
Hi-Tech Sails with a very good full wing shape and flat top
Superior PY
Thin looking mast and boom - suspect carbon spars

* Promotes easier tacking and gybing through use of cross hand method putting your hands perfect when the tack / gybe is completed, enabling you to trap the main sheet against the tiller with your tiller hand, and avoiding having to sail with tiller behind your back

** Enables sailing closer to the wind and promotes better turning through use of daggerboards but avoids the pitfalls of adjustment and beaching with non folding designs


Negatives

In videos, it doesn't look as exciting to sail despite its lower PY


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 29, 2013 4:01 pm 
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Alsone wrote:
Just wanted to add further to my comments in the last post, I've been looking at the NACRA f16 & 580 boat for comparison and found some really neat features.

Mods, please note this isn't an attempt to persuade people to NACRA, rather just a comparison of features that might be nice to see included in a future Hobie design.

Positives:

Aft Sheeted Mainsail *
Folding daggerboards (580 only) **
Integrated Trampoline - comprises completely flat deck area with tramp on same level as hulls
Hull design that has wave piercing hulls and more floatation forwards to avoid pitchpoles
Hi-Tech Sails with a very good full wing shape and flat top
Superior PY
Thin looking mast and boom - suspect carbon spars

* Promotes easier tacking and gybing through use of cross hand method putting your hands perfect when the tack / gybe is completed, enabling you to trap the main sheet against the tiller with your tiller hand, and avoiding having to sail with tiller behind your back

** Enables sailing closer to the wind and promotes better turning through use of daggerboards but avoids the pitfalls of adjustment and beaching with non folding designs


Negatives

In videos, it doesn't look as exciting to sail despite its lower PY


Those boats are just as expensive and hard to set up as the Wildcat. Before you talk about the great tacking and gybing performance sail one. The rudder set up on those boats can be a real pain to sail. The little rubber connectors are like auto centering mechanisms. if you let your hand of the tiller for a sec the rudder jumps back to straight. The sails on those boats are also expensive. When pricing out a new F18 the Infusion was the second highest price for replacement sails. Without the spin the 580 is simpler but not much.
There are options out there but remember there is considerable cost to make molds for a boat. You want to design the boat and build the molds you could be looking at several hundred thousand dollars. That has to be recouped in the price of the boat.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 1:53 am 
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hobie18rich wrote:

Those boats are just as expensive and hard to set up as the Wildcat. Before you talk about the great tacking and gybing performance sail one.


I can only go on what others say but I believe the dagger boards help greatly with grip through tacks on F16. I'm not a great fan of fixed dagger boards as you've probably noticed which is why the folding arrangement on their 580 seems the way forwards to me. After all if folding boards work well on mono hulls, why haven't they been widely adopted on Cats? Is there a technical reason or is it just cost.

I also think complexity wise you may be comparing F18 and Wildcat. The F16 and 580 look comparable to the same Hobie setup to me.

hobie18rich wrote:
The rudder set up on those boats can be a real pain to sail. The little rubber connectors are like auto centring mechanisms. if you let your hand of the tiller for a sec the rudder jumps back to straight.


I'd actually consider that an advantage as you don't overturn if you lose the tiller. You should never let go of the tiller and being rear sheeted there really is no reason to ever do so as you know doubt know, with any rear sheeted boat you swop tiller and sheet hands before tacking / gybing and once you've tacked everything is in the right hands again. That's why I'm a fan of rear sheeted boats and not much of a fan of centre sheeted arrangements. Centre sheeting makes manoeuvring so much harder and for what purpose? I've sailed both types of boat extensively especially lasers, and I'd take a rear sheeting arrangement any day.


hobie18rich wrote:
The sails on those boats are also expensive. When pricing out a new F18 the Infusion was the second highest price for replacement sails. Without the spin the 580 is simpler but not much.


I can't comment on that as I haven't seen any pricing. However, using the windsurfing links I made above, I think it was shown that potentially high tech sails don't have to be more expensive. It would depend on how Hobie sourced them I guess.


hobie18rich wrote:
There are options out there but remember there is considerable cost to make molds for a boat. You want to design the boat and build the molds you could be looking at several hundred thousand dollars. That has to be recouped in the price of the boat.


Well obviously that's going to be the case and successfully recouping those costs is the risk you take in boat building. Again its a case of can Hobie continue at least in F16 racing with a 41 year old design? I imagine it could go on for ever in the leisure market although whether sales would be sustained against others I don't know but in F16 class racing, there's a huge difference in PY between Hobie and the Nacra now - According to SCHRS ISAF Cat Racing handicap tables, the Hobie F16 is 828 without spinnaker, the Nacra 16 is 700. That's a 128 point difference. Even their 580 leisure (non racing boat) non spinnaker is 723 - 105 points ahead of Hobie's f16!: http://www.schrs.com/pylookalike.php

A 41 year old design cannot compete with a modern high tech alternative and so at some point it would seem Hobie are going to have to do something to catch up if they intend to remain in the F16 class market as opposed to the leisure market.

I regret this has become a comparison between 2 manufacturers as its not my intention to put either down, however I do think improvements perhaps need pointing out so Hobie can go forwards, assuming that's what they want to do.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 30, 2013 12:03 pm 
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mmiller wrote:
Quote:
We are showing glass cats in national advertising now though and we are looking at viable HCE boats for the US market... along with thinning their line to help them become profitable once again.


I'm very happy to hear that you are advertising the glass cats... Matt everything you have said in this thread is spot on. It's obviously the right route, to cultivate a new generation of sailors through the sailing kayaks. Then when you have users loyal to the Hobie brand, they will perhaps try a Hobie 16, or a Pearl etc.
The Hobie 16 is a great boat. End of story. It might be an old design, and it might not have all the new technology that other cats do, but it's still a lot of fun to sail and race and has proven the test of time. We just need a fresh injection of young enthusiastic blood, and in my opinion is where Hobie as a company need to focus their efforts. (if they are not already)

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