the class wanted protection for the 17, 18, and 20? hahahahahahaha. and you guys obliged? how many folks does that protect? 31? cmon, you cant be serious. this is the reason why NO euro cats were imported?
2012 Statistics (not completely updated)
Hobie 17 - 78 active racers, 218 regatta attendances
Hobie 18 - 72 active racers, 172 regatta attendances
Hobie 20 - 52 active racers, 133 regatta attendances
Oh, yeah - Hobie 16 - 276 active racers, 625 regatta attendances.
(those numbers come from the HCA season points standings - real numbers are somewhat higher)
2012 HCA Membership - 822
Class protection is just one of the reasons HCC didn't import the HCE models (as Matt M. stated - read his post again) - and it probably wasn't one of the major reasons. History has shown that the proliferation of classes has been the death of once strong classes (14 Turbo killed the 14, 18 Magnum, SX - even the 20 killed the 18). The experience with the FX-One and Fox - well . . . do you see many in the US? The 14 and especially the 18 have come back as classes without their permutations.
How big do you think the catamaran market is in North America? I'll give you a hint - it's way smaller than you think.
HCC is in business to make money (that's the definition of "being in business"). If they thought they could make a decent profit by importing HCE product - without killing their dealers with additional support and parts - they would.