From a business point of view, I get why Hobie quit making the 18, since it wasn't selling. Personally, however, I'm with GD_NC - discontinuing the 18 (and most of the other FRP boats, for that matter), has left a major hole in the middle of the lineup. I wanted a fast and technical boat (not a getaway), but also something that I could drag up on the beach at the end of the day (not a smart move with an F18).
and to the OP, don't feel that bad, there were 5 of you at the regatta. It could be worse, you could own an 18SX!
The 16 is just way easier to launch and deal with when you don't have much help and there are a reasonable number to race against at most events.
I can't argue against that.
Sadly decent 18s are few and far between these days. Why did they quit making that boat???? The F18/Wildcat/Tiger is too Ferrari and the Getaway is a pontoon boat with sails.
The 18 was discontinued because no one bought them for the opposite of what you wrote above, not Ferrari enough and not pontoon enough. The 16 is still popular because it's less than half the price of a Tiger or Wildcat, making it an inexpensive entry into a large and competitive racing class, while the original intent of the boat is still valid - easy, fast, fun, and inexpensive.
I'm not blaming the boat in the OP, I'm blaming myself. Why do I have to like something 5 out of 13 million people like?