Looking at the Hobie lineup I see a potential for some creative thinking and marketing of new boats.
Clearly the leading sellers are the kaysks, the AI & TI, and the plastic cats. I've tried out the AI and TI, own a wave and an H18. There's some room in there for something that's versatile like the TI, but lots faster yet easy to rig. One could go about making this versatile boat catlike by incorporating some of the cuilding ideas from the dude over at the Watertribe site that did a dual Mirage drive cat, or you could look to the success of the Weta and add some provision for the mirage drive in a boat that has some better speed potential than the TI.
I really don't want to strap an outboard on a cat, but one of my sailing areas is Sanibel Island. No mast up beach storage (another reason beach cat sailing in the US is fading), so trailering is my only option. 20+ minute drive time, setup time at the ramp, and pray the wind direction is favorable to get out of that corner between the causeway and the curving beach near Point Ybel. Or I can just go 3 minutes down the road to the bay side, but would need to motor or paddle a cat through the mangroves to get to some sailing areas--and the tides are fierce in the passes.
The Mirage drives are magic! But coming from even a Wave, the AI and TI are slow. Hobie has maxed out what they can do with a freestanding rig in a shallow hull, so we're not likely to see anything like Weta performance.
While I agree that there's room for another cat in Hobie's lineup, I think the reason to own a cat or tri could be expanded by the ability to use on a glassy day trolling a line, or in my case back to the launching ramp.
If it's a cat, how about incorporating a pair of Mirage drives that could plug into the hulls with footwells. Unconventional? Sure, but the dagger could maybe use the same slot with some creative engineering--or just have a plug for the well with a place to securely stasy them.
If it's a tri, there's room out there for another boat that fits between the TI and the Weta or W17 (which is too big to use the drives I bet).
Regardless of what could come out of the discussion, there could be a unique opportunity to grab some of the Weta craze with a bigger platform or introduce the world to a fast cat that could also be a fun boat on windless days.
Either of these boat would require trailering although I saw a cool post on small trimarans this week about a pretty slick cartoppable tri
The bazooka--it's only 12' but I'm thinking of the 16'-17' version. I sailed on the Raptor 16, a sit on top single outrigger version with a similar roller furling sail as the AI TI. I think that's a must if you are going for a boat that's a cartopper, but not if it's a trailer boat. A longer Weta style boat with a mirage drive or two or a cat. There's nothing really on the market like it right now & maybe for good reason, but then again?
It's more of a cartopper and it's unstayed. However, the Mirage drive is too cool not to use in a faster boat, stayed or not.http://smalltrimarans.com/blog/?p=8913