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PostPosted: Sat Jul 28, 2012 8:46 pm 
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Has there ever been an attempt made to get colleges interested in racing Hobie cats? It just seems so logical, high speed and intensity with a boat that has a large community and supply of used boats.

If not, is this something that could happen with the right group of students in the right location? I have raced the 16 and 18 in Colorado, and have seen the CU sailing team train on their 420's. I wonder why schools wouldn't want a more exciting boat... I'm transferring to Quinnipiac Uni in Connecticut, where there may be a larger student sailing body. I'm hoping to find other student cat sailors or introduce more people the hobie's (i'm intending to get another 16 over there as I've sold my 18 here in CO).


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:38 am 
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I have no idea if anyone has ever tried in the past, but realistically you stand no chance of convincing people to switch to Hobies, for a number of reasons:

1) Rules: The college sailing rules dictate what the national championship and its qualifiers are sailed in (basically a dinghy similar to a 420). Because this is what the major races are sailed in, teams will practice these boats or very similar ones.
2) Durability: Hobies are relatively durable boats, but the abuse that collegiate boats take is unbelievable. being used 180-300+ days a year is very common. Add on the fact that a lot of college students are less than careful when racing a boat they don't own/maintain, and you need a boat built like a tank. I don't even want to think about the carnage that the much higher speeds would cause!
3) Cost: to race them, all the boats need to be evenly matched. This means you can't round up a group of beaters that are rotting away on the shore, you need new or almost new boats for the big programs (and a full fleet is 18 boats for college racing). And we're talking about 100+ programs with fleets ranging from 6 to 50 boats. In this day and age, no college (outside of the Naval Academy) has that sort of money to throw at a sailing program.
4) General Inertia: Hobies will face the same problems in college sailing they do elsewhere: the top sailors grow up sailing Opti's, lasers, and 420's. The coaches are the same. Most of them will not be willing to make a change to "the dark side".

There was an attempt a few years ago to design a new collegiate dinghy to replace the 420 (something more modern and faster), and it died because of reasons 2 and 3 above.

Now, having said all that, you should definitely get in touch with the Quinnipiac sailing team. It's a great way to meet like minded people and get to spend a ton of time on the water. if they're a laid back program that focuses as much on getting people involved as being a top team, they may be very receptive to you helping get people hooked on sailing with a Hobie (or even working to get some boats donated to the program as a tax writeoff). Even if not, you can probably find a great crew pool from within the team. Lastly, there are few better ways to become a top sailor than collegiate racing, even if you are sailing 420's.

Steve

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 10:49 am 
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I did collegiate racing when I was in college. The way the races are typically run is a round robin with each time sailing in each boat where you rotate through the boats during the day. This requires many short races in a day. For example if you have 8 teams and 8 boats you would have 8 races. The races are short and very tactical which works well for a boat like a 420. Also all of the above mentioned reasons.

We however also had a sailing club to go with the team. We had several H16's and one H18 in our fleet and those were my go to boats for just sailing on the lake. When I wanted to get back into sailing 2 yrs ago I remembered my favorite boat to sail of all time was the H18 magnum with wings and that is what I bought.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 5:19 pm 
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I went to St. Mary's College of Maryland, one of the college sailing powerhouses.

We had a beach there at school were you could store personal boats as a student, so there were a number of Hobies. The sailing team loved sailing with us on the hobies on their days off for a change of pace.

But like they said there is so much controversy between mono/multi hull racing it would never happen in college. And the money just isn't there for it, even though SMCM has put millions into the sailing program. We actually have 3 alums at this years olympics in London.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 31, 2012 2:55 pm 
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And at the next Olympics, they'll be sailing NACRA F17's...
and NOT H16's.

The path seems to be Opti's, Lasers, 420's, then folks branch out into 49'ers or keelboats and such. 'Narrow' circles of interest include boats like cats, Viper 640's, and 18' Skiffs. Personally, at the Olympics, I'd like to see them replace Lasers with Waves...and I know I'm dreaming.

So unless someone like Larry Ellison or Sir Richard Branson comes along and throws a bunch of cash into a pot, the only 'wide' circle of Hobie racing will be events like Texel or the Worlds. Wish it were not so.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 01, 2012 9:48 am 
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CB Kayak 02 wrote:
I went to St. Mary's College of Maryland, one of the college sailing powerhouses.

We had a beach there at school were you could store personal boats as a student, so there were a number of Hobies. The sailing team loved sailing with us on the hobies on their days off for a change of pace.

But like they said there is so much controversy between mono/multi hull racing it would never happen in college. And the money just isn't there for it, even though SMCM has put millions into the sailing program. We actually have 3 alums at this years olympics in London.


I totaly agree with you hear. I also go to SMCM and the money and space just isn't there. As for the Hobie's on the beach, one of them is mine :D. hit me up if you ever want to go sailing. Just going out when the dingy fleet is practicing, its hard to get around them. I cant imagine a fleet of Hobie's in that little cove, let alone storing them all.


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 11, 2012 10:32 am 
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Thanks all for the great reply's!

Very informative and puts into perspective Hobie cats compared to the 420's that dominate today. Quinnipiac does not actually have a sailing program, so I definitely intend to get involved in the local Hobie community and race in that. Perhaps there are more college students that I imagine inolved in that community - I have no idea what to expect as Colorado has a dwindling fleet.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2012 12:08 pm 
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I too have thought about this - especially in context of trying to find ways to rebuild the base. These boats are definitely the most fun and highest performance available to mere mortals (financially speaking), but somehow it just isn't happening.

I think another obstacle is in the very nature of the boats: Really fast sailing but (relatively) slow in tacking.

Fast boats need longer courses. If you're at 15knots on a 1/2 mile course, you cover that distance in a bit less than 2 minutes! I think that makes smaller venues really unattractive. Also, small venues tend to have really gusty and inconsistent wind which is no fun when you're on the wire.

Also, since cats tack so slowly relative to the dinghies, it is less of a tactical option. Its not that cats can't be sailed tactically, but on a shorter course, the benefit of a tactical tack is often outweighed by simply keeping the boatspeed up and heading for the layline. Tacking on small puffs, etc. rarely happens (at least in my experience). This perceived lack of tactical options makes them less attractive to a school setting where tactics are highly valued.

Finally, there is the issue of storage. 2X wider and much less maneuverable.

So I think cats work well when there is close access to large bodies of water and ample storage. If you looked at HCANA membership I'd bet a beer it follows that trend reasonably close. I'd also guess that only a very small subset of US colleges have access to this.

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