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PostPosted: Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:29 pm 
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Some of the criteria in this thread: weight carrying ability, durable, fast, etc., remind me of one of the most versatile boats Hobie ever built - the Hobie 18. Rather than reinvent the wheel, maybe they should just bring that back into production. It would have an instant racing class and I'd bet that a bunch of the Hobie 18 die-hards, of which there are many, would eagerly buy a new boat and help demonstrate the virtues of this awsome design to the masses. While not quite as fast as F18s, it has other advantages - lower cost, much more rugged, simpler to operate and rig. Probably a better 18 footer for the average sailor.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:35 am 
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MVD wrote:
Some of the criteria in this thread: weight carrying ability, durable, fast, etc., remind me of one of the most versatile boats Hobie ever built - the Hobie 18. Rather than reinvent the wheel, maybe they should just bring that back into production.


While I agree with the above regarding the capabilities of the classic Hobie 18, I really don't foresee any hope of Hobie bringing it back. They partially tried to do this a couple years ago by offering to build new hulls, and as far as I can tell, there are still a few sets that have not sold (out of a whopping 10 sets total).

From what I've seen, the Hobie Pearl looks like it has the best potential to fit the needs that have been described in this thread. It is a glass boat that should have considerably higher performance than a Getaway, but not as overwhelming as a full on F18 - basically a modern version of the Hobie 18. I think it would really fill the need for a boat that's relatively easy to learn on, able to handle up to 3 or 4 people, and provide fun, one-design spinnaker racing.

sm


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 4:06 am 
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+1 on the Pearl. I checked the EU website for details and it looks like quite a nice platform.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 1:11 pm 
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Make that +2 on the Pearl! I also checked the EU website a few times and either the Pearl or the Tatoo look like great candidates for updating the fleet here in the US. Yes the Tatoo is plastic, but if well designed and strong like the Getaway, than who cares?! I also like the idea of offering new hull designs to fit older tramp frames and riging... hmmm, oh the possibilities.

Either way, this is headed in the right direction to rejuvenate Hobie Cat's image for the recreational/ racing hopefuls out there.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 3:04 pm 
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This is a great topic - thank you for starting wscotterwin.

There has been a lot of good discussion on this thread already, and in a lot of the cases, the things people are requesting already exist in the various boats that Hobie produces.

I personally think that with the new format of the Americas Cup, with the build up to the cup being sailed on the AC45's, the incredible level of coverage with all the cameras on the boats, on helicopters and chase boats, sailing is about to have a huge increase in interest. They really came up with a great model of how to appeal to a larger audience. Suddenly this sport that nobody who was involved in sailing understood, and wasn't much of a spectator sport, is having a very 'cool' remake.
I think Hobie really needs to try and capitalize on this. Suddenly sailing is cool, and if Hobie starts promoting itself to young professionals who live an active lifestyle, drive Prius's, and are into recording their sport with a GoPro, they might just be able to regenerate the class. Somebody already mentioned Hobie's lack of advertising. When last did you see an advert for any one of the catamarans? Seriously? They need to get aggressive.

So if they are to really start promoting themselves, which boat should it be? Should it be an entirely new boat? Create a yet another class of Hobie Cat? I don't think so... The smart money is on the Hobie 16. It's a great boat, meets most of the criteria already discussed, it's light, easily trailerable and there are already fleets all over the world. It would be pretty easy for Hobie to come up with an updated version of the H16. (I don't really know what would change - newer more powerful sails?) With over 130,000 boats built to date, the Hobie 16 offers the largest potential refit revenue. They could sell a complete kit that would upgrade a boat with decent hulls to full racing spec.
This way they make the boat affordable to people just starting out in the sport, and you can be sure that as the novice turns into a better sailor, the $12,000 price tag of a new boat isn't that scary. They key is for Hobie to come up with a model of promoting the sport, and help the clubs all over the country that are struggling to attract new members. I also think that it's up to us, the current sailors to help Hobie promote the sport.

As somebody pointed out earlier, the heyday of the wave runner is ending. It was the advent of powered personal watercraft that took a bite at the jugular of sailing. These days people are looking to 'greener' activities that are very physical and offer excitement. Hobie sailing fits the description - it just needs to be promoted as such. Whats better than double trapping out the side of Hobie on a reach in 15 knots of wind?

I LOVE my Hobie

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 10, 2012 8:48 pm 
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Just like I said before "Hail to the H16" Greatest production boat ever made.

But.......I doubt Volkswagon could revitalize their brand by bringing the Old bug back into production. Cool car, loyal followers, and probably the most successful in the world. But old news

Here is a link to a video of the Pearl under sail. Plus 1 here on the Pearl. I would look very seriously at buying this one.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OltTvFbs5T0

And I'm sorry, IMHO I don't believe the type of person looking to grow into an exciting, potentially extreme sport like Beach Cats is the same type of person buying a Kayak. Great product and great design, but two different types of people. (I am glad hobie has both as I might be ready for one when I'm 70).

Here is a cat sailor. (I doubt this guy had a canoe in the back of his Volkswagon bus) :lol:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWBvVedo ... re=related

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 4:53 am 
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wscotterwin wrote:
And I'm sorry, IMHO I don't believe the type of person looking to grow into an exciting, potentially extreme sport like Beach Cats is the same type of person buying a Kayak.


I get what you are saying. However, I like to politely challenge your rather generic statement by inviting you to come sea kayaking with me some day. Yes, weather dependent, we could make it relaxing and a totally rubber booter experience but we could also go out after a good nor-easter and crank it up to whatever level of extreme you like. Surf the waves as big and fast as if you are on a Hobie longboard or challenge the pounding surf among the rocks.

I get your point, and I don't dispute it's general message, marketing wise. However kayaking, like any water sport, is as extreme as you choose to make it.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:59 am 
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Murph_PEI wrote:
wscotterwin wrote:
And I'm sorry, IMHO I don't believe the type of person looking to grow into an exciting, potentially extreme sport like Beach Cats is the same type of person buying a Kayak.


I get what you are saying. However, I like to politely challenge your rather generic statement by inviting you to come sea kayaking with me some day. Yes, weather dependent, we could make it relaxing and a totally rubber booter experience but we could also go out after a good nor-easter and crank it up to whatever level of extreme you like. Surf the waves as big and fast as if you are on a Hobie longboard or challenge the pounding surf among the rocks.

I get your point, and I don't dispute it's general message, marketing wise. However kayaking, like any water sport, is as extreme as you choose to make it.

Oh yeah? Then who are we looking for? to join us in this
Quote:
potentially extreme sport
?
Look at the demographics of the Millenial generation. Right, they're not buying jet skis, they're buying mountain bikes, kayaks, SUP's, kite boards. Items for recreation, excitement, exercise that are a quick set up (see my first post).
Will a Bravo entice them? Will a 400 pound Pearl entice them?
(too daunting, Hobie 16 can be daunting, both these boats are a BIG step from zero)
Hobie needs a boat that looks (ala the AC boat design, swept back bows, square top sail), and is, fast. Something one can throw in the water after work, and stuff in their garage when they get home. Need some instant gratification, without a major commitment (stumbling block) of where to store, where to launch.
IF the hook is set, then the Hobie 16, and/or imported Twixxy & Pearl...Wildcat? are the next step.
I feel the pain of a need for a "new" One Design, but we're preaching to the choir. We're already hooked. I say let that new boat be a stepping stone towards the fiberglass and racing beach cats.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:29 am 
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I've got to agree with Flatlander Eaton. You've got to hook new sailors on something simple, yet it must have a sporty flare (sportier than the Wave, I like the thought of swept back bows and flat tops) or it won't get noticed.

The H16, Pearl, reintroduced H18 (I still like that idea), would all be great follow on boats.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 9:08 am 
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Some thoughts...

Trying to re-charge the H16 or re-introduce the H18 are the wrong paths to take IMO. Those classes have essentially run their course (yes the H16 will always be around, but it's hayday has long since passed) and prior attempts to reinvigorate them have been only marginally successful at best. Any prospective sailor, or just about anyone looking to buy a new boat does not want to spend $10k to $15k on a 35+ year old design. Just like with buying a new car, would any of you want to spend $30k to buy a car from the '70s, even if it was brand new? Of course not. You pay top dollar to buy new so you can get a product that is not only un-used, but also built using the latest technology.

After looking at a few videos of the Pearl, I actually think this boat has the potential to fill a nich market if done properly. To me, this boat looks like a modernized Hobie 18. The rig is powerful and modern enough to interest advanced sailors, yet the platform is user friendly for intermediates or possibly even beginners. The roller furling hooter and kick-up centerboards provide performance but simplicity. The hulls have enough volume to offer performance sailing for up to three adults, or more for cruising. A one-design class would mean no arms race as is found in the F-18 class (and to me, this is a major turn off of that class).

One thing I think would be very beneficial would be to have a slick method for reefing all of the sails. The jib and hooter of course can be roller furled, but I think having an easily reefable main sail would also be key. This would allow the rig to be powerful enough for advanced sailors, yet manageable so that less skilled sailors can learn and improve on the boat without being intimidated. The reefing method should be very clean and straight forward and should function with an internal main halyard (perhaps by adding a second lower halyard hook to the mast). Storing the excess material at the foot of the sail should be done cleanly, perhaps by either rolling around the boom (like on the 21SC) or by having a removable panel (like early Wave sails). Versatility is key - just like the H16 and H18, the boat has to be appealing to a wide range of skill sets.

Last, the boat should have a strict one-design class. Figure out what the racing class is going to be from the on-set and don't add or deviate from that. The H18 class took a major blow when Hobie introduced the magnum and the SX classes. Don't repeat those mistakes.

I think there is potentially a market for a one-design, easy to use, spinnaker class catamaran, since I can't think of any cat manufacturers that currently offer such a boat. Ensuring wide-spread appeal and maintaing a reasonable price point will be key.

sm


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 2:21 pm 
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I've been looking at the Pearl, and it looks like a nice boat with lots of potential, even if it does have a silly name. :lol: I would consider this boat if it was going to be 'the' boat on the racing scene.

My concern is that this boat doesn't look like the easiest boat to rig up on the beach or at the lake. For people who want to keep their boat at home and take it to their favorite launch site every weekend, the Pearl seems like it might be a lot of work to get rigged up. Certainly not like a H16.

http://www.hobie-cat.net/download/manuels/pearl_gb.pdf

Not being familiar with rigging a Hobie Tiger or Wild Cat, or even anything with a spinnaker pole, can anyone comment? Is something like this going to be complicated to rig every time? Can you trailer the boat with the spinnaker pole in place?

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:09 pm 
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srm wrote:
Just like with buying a new car, would any of you want to spend $30k to buy a car from the '70s, even if it was brand new? Of course not. You pay top dollar to buy new so you can get a product that is not only un-used, but also built using the latest technology.



There have been a couple of comparisons between designing cars and sailboats throughout the course of this thread. I don't think that's an apples to apples comparison because the changes in automotive technology have been much more dramatic over the last 35 years than in beachcat technology. Additionally, car manufacturers aren't concerned about one-design racing and it's positive affect on sales or how the benefits of a one-design class benefit their customers.

Pearl vs H18 vs any other potential new One-Design? Few of us, if any, have ever sailed a Pearl, and some of us may not have sailed a Hobie 18 either. I'm sure that when Hobie Cat goes down the path of bringing another 16-18 footer on the market (or not), they'll sail various designs against one another, make lots of comparisons on the water, and performance will be a huge factor in their decision. I have no idea how a Pearl and an H18 will stack up against one another, let alone any of the other HC Europe products, but I would expect them to bring the best boat to market. There are benefits of going down either path. Simplicity and production costs will also be major factors. Again, those are factors that we don't have any insight into. Whatever HC decides to do, I have faith that they'll adequately research all the various factors and will make the right decision. I'm sure they've learned from some of their past mistakes. I love the H16 and I'm not concerned about any other boat usurping its place in the Hobie lineup. But I agree that another option may help get more sailors on the water or at least on a Hobie.

However, the highest priority needs to be designing boats aimed at getting new kids and families into sailing. I worked with youth sailing for several years when I was in Shreveport. Every summer, the club there conducted two weeks of summer sailing camps, around 40 kids in all each summer, primarily using Optis and Sunfish, and the retention rate was abysmal. In four years, maybe a half dozen continued sailing, sporatically at best. Despite the club's propensity for pushing monohulls, the few kids that did come back where the ones that me or some of the other Hobie sailors took out on our cats. The numbers of sailors nationwide, in nearly every major class, has been on the decline for nearly three decades. Sales of H16s and H18s didn't necessarily decline because they were old designs. Maybe the numbers of active sailors have gone back up a little in recent years, I'm not sure. But what I can tell you is that the emphasis has to be on youth boats - boats that will bring kids into the sport or that families can sail together. If you can find a way to hook numbers of kids on sailing early, you'll sell a lot more intermediate and advanced boats as they mature, whether it's a Pearl, H18, H16 or whatever. I think the real discussion needs to be Wave vs Tatoo vs the possibility of some new design aimed at the youth market. Maybe another Getaway type of boat would be a better family boat? Don't know, never sailed one. But to have any meaningfull increase in cat sales, or sales of any other sailboat, the focus has got to be on bringing more youth into the fold. Hobie is well aware of that.

By the way, although there are a lot of different opinions regarding the various designs, some of them contrary to my own, I think this is a great discussion. I would think that the folks at Hobie Cat are paying attention.

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Last edited by MVD on Fri Oct 12, 2012 6:19 am, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:45 pm 
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flatlander wrote:
Hobie needs a boat that looks (ala the AC boat design, swept back bows, square top sail), and is, fast.

a 14 foot(i think thats the size to fit in your garage, maybe the mast is 2 part?) catamaran that you can add a spinnaker, trapeze and jib. and and could have smaller main sails like Europe offers for the 16.
Image

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 5:58 pm 
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from now until next october Hobie should be in the san francisco bay area pimping their cats, and the euro models as well. the place has multihull fever. for the next year it will be ripe for the picking to get some bodies on the water. the AC45s are putting on a show up there. the old school yacht club pukes/sailing schools/college sailing programs should all be paying attention as well. stop teaching the kids on monohulls, that is such tired thinking. time to move fwd.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2012 6:45 pm 
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I've been enjoying watching the America's Cup in San Francisco, and got to admit the boats look pretty cool. Could Hobie makes a 14 or 12 footer that looks like one and sell it? I don't know. Formula 1 race cars look pretty cool, too, but I wouldn't want to buy a go-kart. Even NASCAR seems to becoming less and less a win on Sunday and sell on Monday.

Sunfish and Hobie, way back when, were the new and exciting thing at resorts. People would go there, the boats were simple to run, the guests were excited, and some of them would go home and buy one. Then Jet Skis became the in-thing for resorts. Then para-sailing. And probably something else is going to come up.

Bottom line, sailing, even on a catamaran, is a mature industry. A new and exciting boat (to us that are in sailing) is really just going to be a variation on a theme. Instead of worrying about the boat, and there are an incredible amount of good boats out there, worry about getting more sailors. When you go ashore, and someone is saying "Wow!" then add a few more minutes onto your sailing and take them out. Show them why going green with sailing beats the crap out of a Jet Ski.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe


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