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 Post subject: Re: Need New Main
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 3:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:36 pm
Posts: 758
Location: Tri-Cities, WA
Mbounds - yes I understand the single class concept and for racers the answer is clear - go OEM or go home. BUT, as of 2000 (the year of my boat) there were over 6000 H17s produced and the MAJORITY of the owners are most likely NOT racers. And for the H17Sport, my boat, very few are racers, since it does not have a class. So why limit production to only what is race legal when it is obvious most Hobie saliors are NOT racers. There is no reason Hobie can not offer a variety of sails, in a variety of materials, they could even make the non-race-legal sails custom orders. As far as advocacy, I am a proponent of well made products and well run buisnesses (hence my advocacy of Whirlwind Sails, Murray's Marine and Bottle Port). If you want an example of Hobie done the right way, look no farther than Hobie Europe. :wink:


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 Post subject: Re: Need New Main
PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 4:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 09, 2005 10:25 am
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Location: Jersey Shore
fastcat wrote:
There is no reason Hobie can not offer a variety of sails, in a variety of materials, they could even make the non-race-legal sails custom orders.


There's a very good reason why Hobie can not offer a "variety of sails"....it's called the bottom line. If they could turn a profit selling custom sails, they probably would. But Hobie isn't in the business of selling custom anything. They're in the business of selling one-design production sailboats. Hobie has the market cornered when it comes to OEM sales...you want OEM, you have to go to Hobie. If they tried to sell custom, non-class legal sails, all of a sudden they're in competition with every custom sail maker out there and they're competing for a very small share of an already tiny market. Case in point - you bought your sail from Whirlwind. Now MAYBE if Hobie offered a square top sail, you might have bought from them, but if for some reason you thought it was inferior, its possible you still wouldn't have gone with Hobie.

For Hobie to develop a new sail (not to mention custom sails) requires numerous costs including paying a sailmaker to develop the sail, R&D from their design staff to make sure the thing works right, manufacturing/tooling preparation, and the cost of stocking yet another high-end product (you want Pentex...well that's a material they don't use in any of their other sails so they have to order bulk quantities of a material that would be used for a handfull of sails). All these costs have to eventually be covered by customer sales. This ain't the auto industry...this is the beachcat industry... even largest companies like Hobie don't have the resources available to support projects that won't turn a profit.

sm


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 Post subject: Re: Need New Main
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 10:43 am 
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Joined: Mon Sep 20, 2004 12:36 pm
Posts: 758
Location: Tri-Cities, WA
SRM, my bad, I should have said 'made to order', not custom, but that still does not address the lack of innovation. So what I'm hearing from the racers is that Hobie USA is not in the innovation business, they are in the 'one class racing nostalgia business' and look how well that has worked out. Sales of new catamarans has been stagnant for years now. Too bad I'm not a kayaker. Hobie USA has been very busy with innovation in that arena. But alas, I'm a sailor, and Hobie USA’s bottom line I guess will remain near the bottom. That is why we replaced my wife’s Bravo with a Weta Trimaran (a boat of innovation). Nuff said 8)


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 Post subject: Re: Need New Main
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:00 am 
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Location: Jersey Shore
What exacly is the difference between "made to order" and custom, unless all you're changing is the colors? A made to order/custom sail requires a dedicated, full-time sail maker and sufficient bulk material to meet the customer's requirements. Aftermarket/small loft sailmakers already fill this need.

Once again, it's all about the bottom line... there have to be ENOUGH people willing to buy new and innovative products that the company building them can make a profit.

Hobie USA made available to US consumers the FX-1, Fox, Tiger, and Wildcat all of which can be considered modern, high-tech cats. How many of those boats do you see around? It's simple economics, if there's no demand, then there's no reason to supply. It's really not a matter of Hobie not being in the innovation business, its simply that the vast majority of sailors are not interested in buying the latest in high-tech beach cats.

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 Post subject: Re: Need New Main
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:48 am 
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Location: Tri-Cities, WA
Made to order - you pick from a dealers set list of sails, materials and colors and they make that sail for you. That way they do not have to stock them. Down side is that there is a waiting period while it is being made and there may be a back log of orders.
Custom - you send them the specifications and they make it to your specifiacations.


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 Post subject: Re: Need New Main
PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2011 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Thu Apr 24, 2008 3:58 am
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Location: Knoxville, TN
By the way, Hobie will make "made to order" custom color sails from within their palette. See the photos of my boat and Dwight Manning's in the "Hobie Dealers only is Restrictive" thread, viewtopic.php?f=9&t=34314&start=30. Both "made to order sails".

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 Post subject: Re: Need New Main
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 1:43 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 07, 2009 10:52 pm
Posts: 97
'Interesting to see how the theme of this topic changed to what is essentially a discussion of business models.
There is clearly a market for both original class legal sails and more recent developments that include square tops and fancy fabrics. It appears that Hobie gives little support to the latter, and that is their choice.
But neglecting the market for the sake of purity or nostalgia has risks which can lead to the demise of a market. Perhaps the foothold of the Nacra was made easier by Hobie's apparent reluctance (in the US) to follow the hi-tech trail.

There was a boat designed in 1958 in Seattle by Ben Seaborn, the Thunderbird. http://sailboatdata.com/viewrecord.asp?class_id=269 Sponsored by the Plywood Association, he designed a tank-tested 26' hard chine keel boat that was light, easy to build and well suited to inland waters. Like the Hobie it had good, sensible class rules, and there are still fleets in several parts of the world. Fabulous boat, but in Oz where it really took off, it was brought down by it's long-held refusal to adopt emerging technologies such as metal spars and GRP construction.
Eventually in Oz at least glass and aluminum spars prevailed, but by that time too many other choices had emerged, and the class has gradually lost much of its following, despite remaining (IMHO) one of the best family boats ever designed. There are still active fleets in the US, 50 years after the first boats were built.
Perhaps the same outcome awaits Hobie sail boats as they branch increasingly into strange little plastic canoes etc. Ironically, these new boats show some great creative design and innovation, and perhaps it is time Hobie applied more creative energy to it's affordable range of sailboats.


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 Post subject: Re: Need New Main
PostPosted: Sat Mar 19, 2011 10:18 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:05 pm
Posts: 136
Location: Shasta Lake/ Redding, CA
Hey fastcat,

you just need to understand one thing-

It seems, and I could be wrong, that most of the sailors that use this forum ARE class racers... and do NOT enjoy, appreciate or think that any ideas concerning 'supin up' your cat is cool or neat. Any fantasies relative to the above mentioned, may be recieved here, as though you are attempting modify your Hobie with JATO rockets and just won't be understood.
It's all good! Just don't bring any of those ideas here, you'll have a better time getting along. Believe me. I already went through all this a while back on the H20 forum-same topic :lol:

I bought my ST from Chip at Whirlwind and it worked great!

I will be ripped to shreds :cry:

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