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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 6:50 am 
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One question in my mind is whether there is enough market support. The H16 is a classic, but would it have been so successful if it hadn't been introduced to the market at the time it was? But definitely assisting the market at the time was the fact that there were "events," both sponsored by Hobie and other companies. But one problem that sailing suffers from is getting people to the events.

One of the radical changes that the America Cup organization is introducing is putting the racing right in front of the people. And one of the events it has introduced could be something to really promote all catamarans and which anybody who sails could do. That's the 500 meter speed run.

Imagine taking your cat out and running the same course that Oracle Spithill or Artemis Racing or Emirates Team New Zealand had just run and being able to compare your time to theirs. No class rules, only a safety check. You want to sail your H16 by yourself, go for it. You want to sail your H20 with your entire family, have fun. You want to sail your AI, enjoy the time.

Drag race courses and other auto racing venues have allowed you to take the family buggy out and try the course. So what if your minivan takes a month to go from 0 to 60, you get a chance to pretend you're one of the big boys and have a real time to compare yourself to them. And some cool pictures of you on the race course.

For sailing, we won't have to worry about class rules, and port on starboard; it would just be a simple reach and the only person you have to worry about beating is yourself. And all in front of a bunch of spectators, generated by the big event. I remember when Trans Am racing started, and Ford Mustangs and Chevy Camaros racing around, and in the spectator area, the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro you could take home with you.

I doubt a new hi-tech cat would increase the market, and I don't know how many boats Hobie would need to sell to break even on a new boat. But I'm thinking we need to grow the market much more then put another hi-tech boat on the market.

And if the market grows, the boat would follow.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:55 am 
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I'd like for Hobie to unleash the Kettermans, and give them unlimited funding to build a 32' all carbon foiler for blasting some of the CA ocean races. Small cabins for Transpac, Paccup? Keep the price around $20,000, and I'll take 2. :D

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:14 pm 
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Quote:
Even those of us who are not funs of of AI/TA should recognize attributes of a successfully sail boat design:

1. Innovative and new. Trimaran sailing kayak + very efficient MirageDrives
2. Ease of handling and quick to rig, TA is only 190lb. 20 min trailer to water claimed.
3. Carbon content. TA has 2 part carbon mast
4. Affordable AI $3900 and TA $5500
5. Couple and family oriented. TA can be single handled or accommodate 2 adults and 2 kids, if equipped with a trampoline

This is very relevant to this topic :!:


I can appreciate Hobie's sailing kayaks. I've been on a TI and it was fun. However, it is certainly not the next one design racing class. Thats the point of this discussion - what is Hobie going to replace their aging racing catamaran classes with?

And to counter your comment further, I can think of at least one Hobie Cat that meets most of your criteria above:

Hobie 16
1. Not new and innovative, but a very robust and well rounded design.
2. Easy to handle and learn, yet will push even experienced sailors, quick to rig - takes me 30 off the trailer.
3. Carbon content. Stock Hobie 16 now comes with gorgeous carbon fiber rudders.
4. Affordable at $10,000, ready to race and be competitive.
5. Couple and family oriented. Hobie 16 can be single handled or accommodate 2 adults and 2 kids, can be used for racing or just sailing around.

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2012 12:53 pm 
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ftlauderdale16 wrote:
And to counter your comment further, I can think of at least one Hobie Cat that meets most of your criteria above:

Hobie 16 ....


There are two types of beach cat sailors, those that love the Hobie 16 and those that don't. For many years, Hobie built boats that satisfied both of these groups. Now they don't.

Continually ramming the Hobie 16 down the throats of the non-Hobie 16 racing community has gotten old after 30 some years.

sm


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 7:00 am 
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srm wrote:
[Continually ramming the Hobie 16 down the throats of the non-Hobie 16 racing community has gotten old after 30 some years.

sm


I didn't mean to come across like I'm ramming anything at anyone... This is a conversation, and I don't want to come across as antagonizing. My point was that Hobie has JackB's criteria covered, not just with the Hobie 16, but most of the cats.

I am personally ready for a new boat from Hobie. Something fast and modern. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:07 pm 
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Wrote a big long essay and hit the delete key. This is not the place for a long dissertation.

The world has changed a lot in the last 20-30 years. Hobie is now competing with iPads, big screen TVs and kite-boards for disposable income.

Somewhere we need to determine what it is that we (or Hobie) uniquely brings to the equation that's different that will entice them to come our way.

Things that appeal to me: The "Hobie Way of Life" is one. Competing as a team on a 2-up boat is another (can't do that on a kite!).

Somewhere, someone needs to focus on the fundamentals. Everything else will follow.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 4:59 pm 
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srm wrote:
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

+1 I think SRM is right on with this one as long as the hulls hulles are high enough volume to be a decent camp cruiser or daysailor with 4.

Dan

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 5:30 pm 
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What you speak of is already available - the Getaway. A great boat for camping/cruising and carrying four people.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 17, 2012 6:48 pm 
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Have a Getaway and an 18. Sailed on a Getaway and I think it's not what I'd want in a cat. It is high volume enough, has wings, front tramp, and some other nice features...however, it's not fast and modern. More like sedate and "easy". I think the pearl is closer to what I'd be interested in. My 18 is fast but quite low volume in the rear and not a cruiser as I found on the '08 Texas 200. Additionally, it's not a boat I'd feel comfortable ftaking my young kids out on. The wave fits some of that bill though.

I just happen to think that a reasonably light modern glass boat with reasonable freeboard, optional spin, optional front tramp, standard reefing has a lot going for it. Dragging a Getaway up the beach doesn't really entice me much. Now if someone dropped one in my lap, I'd probably sell my 18, love with the slower speed and enjoy the additional capacity.

Edited to add, I tried out both the AI and TI. Cool kayaks that have really taken the sailing kayak pretty far with it capacity--and the mirage drive is brilliant. It's just a bit low and slow compared to the 18 or even the wave. Now if they decided to do a weta style tri and use the mirage drive in a well for eliminating any thought of adding a 2hp honda...that might be interesting--but it would have to be faster than either the wave or the TI to catch my attention.

Ultimately, Hobie has to sell product. To sell product it has to be good, be well advertized or both!

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:06 pm 
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Just import the Hobie Europe boats for a start and see how they sell before reinventing the 'wheel'. Right now the Hobie US boat quiver is a bit anemic. And to all the AI types - Cool sailing kayak, but it ain't no performance catamaran. :wink:


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 1:51 pm 
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fastcat wrote:
Just import the Hobie Europe boats for a start and see how they sell before reinventing the 'wheel'. Right now the Hobie US boat quiver is a bit anemic.


That is a funny twist... HCE had a full line of cats, but were anemic in sales. We have an "anemic" quiver of cats that sell.

We would not simply bring the complete line over here... and see if it sells. We have always had that option, but have remained conservative in our approach as to not confuse the cat market here. Dealers can only focus and support so much. The class wanted protection for the H20, H18, H17... and the Hobie 16 of course. HCE had 3 versions of the H16!

We, as previously noted, are working through the HCE offerings and will further develop the best ones to bring forward to market. This is a long process and at the minimum will be for the 2014 model year, which starts September 2013.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 4:57 pm 
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Knock whatever is needed off the iCat, skinny it up whatever is needed, add a spinnaker, and bring it here as an F16.


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 6:46 pm 
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mmiller wrote:
We, as previously noted, are working through the HCE offerings and will further develop the best ones to bring forward to market. This is a long process and at the minimum will be for the 2014 model year, which starts September 2013.


Any hints at which Euro cats may make the short list for model year 2014? Would be right around the time I'll be looking for a new cat.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 19, 2012 11:39 pm 
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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?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 20, 2012 5:36 am 
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gino wrote:
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?

mmm, no.
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.


Last edited by MBounds on Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:07 am, edited 1 time in total.

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