Back, to the issue of the boat price. I was not there at the time, but can anyone confirm, how much was a H16 in 1970's and 80's.
I bought a brand new H16 with a new trailer in 1977 for $2100. It was in December, so the dealer in Western Kentucky was motivated to shave a few bucks off the price to unload some inventory. This guy sold Hobies and a few other sail and power boats out of a Phillips 66 station near Kentucky Dam. He had virtually no overhead, so his price was probably below average even for that time.
I bought a brand new H18 with a new trailer in 1984 from Rooke Sails in Memphis for $4000.
In my opinion, price isn't our problem, nor is it necessarily the design of the Hobie 16. I believe that the big issue is that potential sailors are bombarded with a plethora of other options, certainly more so than in the 70's, that compete for scarce time and resources. The typical American family is much busier than they used to be, so they want instant fun: video games and personal watercraft, for example. Keep in mind that it's not just the Hobie 16 that's declined in popularity, but sailing in general as seen it's numbers greatly decline since the sport's glory days in the early 80's.
Converting your purchases to today's dollars, your brand new 1977 H16 and trailer equates to $8,015. Your new 1984 H18 and trailer equates to $8,905. Those were very good deals!
I doubt we'll see Hobie Cat going the "Skunk Works" route and pouring additional monies into the largely unprofitable "high tech" manufacturers arms race only to see their expensive development projects become uncompetitive in 10 years time (see: e.g., Tiger, Wildcat). If it was up to me I'd love to see something similar to Bimare's X2 F18HT simply because I love the design and performance, but who besides me would ever consider buying it?? Answer: Nobody.
My guess is Hobie will eventually introduce one, at most two, additional models (hopefully of the fiberglass variety), and these will be marketed to the weekend warrior/recreational racer-types who make up the bulk of their customer base. Of the HCE models I really like the Pearl but I can see the bean counters nixing that idea, arguing they already have that "segment" covered with the Getaway. The Hobie Max looks nice.
'82 Hobie 18 SE with '85 Nationals Prism (White) sails
'73 Laser HID# 3463