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PostPosted: Tue Mar 19, 2013 6:01 pm 
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Good Day fellow Hobie enthusiasts, I am in a class for school (Ferris State University in partnership with Great Lakes Maritime Academy in Traverse City MI) that requires me to type up a business proposal for something, I chose Sailing, and then more specifically Hobie.

If you could take the time to provide your input, that would be fantastic, be honest, give your opinion, think of this as a short answer survey, I am not looking for a particular answer, just a market idea of what current Hobie owners think of the Brand, I will also Be posting to a Day Sailing Board to get those mono hull enthusiasts input as well.

This is a hypothetical situation and has no affiliation with anything the Hobie company may or may not be doing.

HERE is what I would Like you to respond to,

Hobie is considering a boat to position above the Wildcat, It would be a Sport day sailor. a catamaran, 20 to 24 feet in length, trailerable, overnight accommodations for 2, small interior cabin, and has an emphasis on weekend trips (1 or 2 nights) There would be room for any necessary equipment in storage areas. The boat would be beachable as well, for shallow water cruising, and also have an emphasis on performance, this is by no way your average day sailor, and will out preform all similar models on the market. Its closest competition would be the Hunter 22, Compac Horizon Cat, Catalina 22 Sport and other similar boats. The Hobie would be constructed from fiberglass and carry a price would be comparable, possibly just a bit more expensive.

-Would this boat be an interest to you? why or why not?

-What suggestions do you have for this boat, operationally, or how it could fit into Hobie's brand image

-Would you choose this boat over the competition?

please answer any questions you like, feel free to give additional comments and input, any and all help is appreciated

Thank you very much

Tim Haak
-1982 LimeGreen Hobie 16


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 10:27 am 
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Tim - Just a few quick thoughts:
Since you're not racing and aren't too concerned about pointing high and it's beachable and used occasionally for sailing in shallow water - I'd go with assymetrical hulls instead of daggerboards. Also, all aluminum mast - no Comptip. You'll want to prevent capsize on a boat that large, so I'd go with a somewhat shorter mast, reefable main and furling jib. Definitely GPS & other safety features.
Would I be interested in a boat like this??? Probably not since I much prefer recreational day sailing in a light weight, beachable boat like my Hobie 16.
Probably a mesh tramp up front and so people can lay down, and bench seats further aft so the skipper can sail sitting down instead of sitting on a rail.
Maybe the hulls should be beefier so that you would be less likely to pitch-pole and people can sleep inside each hull instead of a larger cabin on deck.
Great project, Tim. I hope this helps.
Good luck!
Richard


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 11:06 am 
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TCHobie wrote:
-Would this boat be an interest to you? why or why not?

-What suggestions do you have for this boat, operationally, or how it could fit into Hobie's brand image

-Would you choose this boat over the competition?

please answer any questions you like, feel free to give additional comments and input, any and all help is appreciated


I'll play along, but you may not like what I'm going to say.

Would the boat interest me?
No, not me in particular. I think you may find that Hobie customers are currently in love with their types of boat. If there is any trend in the industry that I can see (and I'm not an expert) it's that people are moving to smaller boats, and not bigger. Gas costs are a concern, so trailering a larger boat can be an issue for some. Also with a tight economy, the ability to store a boat in a garage, or even disassembled in a smaller shed, has tremendous value to some.

Hobie's owners are Beach Cat sailors, or even kayak sailors with the Adventure Island and Tandem Island. They are not Hunter 22 type owners. The type of boat you describe is a very different type of boat. In a way, it's like asking sports car owners to try out a pick-up truck. Now I'm not saying that the idea won't succeed. Porsche has successfully launched an SUV! But in that case, the Porsche brand brought in thousands of new customers.

There will certainly be a market for whatever Hobie (hypothetically) builds as Hobie has a tremendous reputation, but on this forum you'll get the Pick Up Truck drivers to your proposed Sports Car, or the Sports Car drivers to your proposed Pick Up Truck.

What I'm getting at is that Hobie doesn't sell us sailboats, they sell us a particular lifestyle. That lifestyle doesn't fit with what you've proposed. The key to success of the boat you propose would be to bring new people to the Hobie brand. There likely wouldn't be enough Hobie owners moving into the type of boat described, to make a solid business case. But that's just my opinion.

Suggestions for this boat, operationally, or how to fit Hobie's brand image?
I'd start somewhere else. I would think that the heart of Hobie's brand has moved from the racing cats like the Wildcat and the 16, to the recreational boats. The Getaway, Wave, and Bravo are great because they are extremely simple, and extremely durable. That's another reason why you see them at so many resorts. You don't need a tremendous amount of skill to sail them, and the resort owners know they won't easily break. Owners buy these boats for the exact same reasons. I think there's a market for a higher performance Hobie Wave and Getaway. Priced below the Wildcat, instead of priced above.

Hobie's brand image isn't about camping overnight on the boat. The owners who do camp with their boats are usually Adventure Island, or Tandem Island owners, and they wouldn't move to the boat you're talking about.

I think Hobie has done extremely well with performance sailboats in the past, and now they are doing extremely well with various styles and types of recreational sailboats. To me, the logical move would be to marry the recreation boat with higher performance boat that Hobie has built their reputation on.

I think if you want Hobie owners, you'd have to create a boat that performs well enough that the Hobie 16 owners would consider sailing, but is simple enough, or offers the carrying capacity that the Getaway or Wave has. That still leaves out the Tandem Island or Adventure Island sailors, but maybe the starting point is to make a higher performance Trimaran that will attract the 16 owners (not an easy thing to do!) (A simple trimaran that flies the centre hull? Wow!)

I know that kind of kills your original idea, but at least you're getting feedback from at least one Hobie owner. Good luck on your project. Don't give up because you've had some negative feedback, the real world is full of negative feedback, it's the ones who know how to react to that feedback that succeed!

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:14 pm 
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Read through the descriptions of each sailboat Hobie sells. Your boat would not be a position above the Wildcat. It's like saying a Class A Motorhome is a position above a McLaren sports car. The Wildcat is an all-out, balls-to-the-wall speedster. A cruising catamaran is an entirely different market segment.

What you're talking about is getting people to go from small sailboats like the Getaway to move up to something they could go out on for a couple of days. Sort of like taking someone from a pickup truck and a tent into a motorhome. Or you're talking about taking people already into cruising boats to switch to Hobie. (Take your pick in which way you want to market this, companies go both ways.)

To get Hobie people to go from the Getaway to your Sleepaway, you're going to have to show why the Hobie lifestyle and experience will be enhanced with the Sleepaway. To get Catalina people to go from the Catalina to Hobie, you're going to have to show why their experience will be enhanced with a Hobie Sleepaway. But look into the Hobie 33 monohull. It definitely has a cult following and in some people's opinion was definitely special.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 12:15 pm 
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I'm back. Your post had me thinking.

If you're in marketing, I'm sure that you've seen the graph below.

Image

To me, if you're (hypothetically) marketing the boat under Hobie's name, you need to look at a few things:

First, do you want this to be a commercial success, or a technological success.

There's nothing wrong with a technological success that doesn't become a commercial success. Think of the Dodge Viper, or the Hobie Trifoiler. Both of those products showed what the brand can do in the performance realm of their industries. Neither of them sell (or were sold) in high volume. It's called a "Halo" product, something that shows what you can do, but doesn't have to sell in high volume to be considered a success, or to have a positive impact on your brand.

The Hobie Mirage Drive system was a totally new product. It was launched to the "innovators" in the graph above. The thing that nobody tells you in school when they show you this graph, is that innovators buy a lot of CRAP! Launching to innovators is a huge risk, it also means that you can't trade off of your brand image, just your brand name.

To me, your boat launches to Hobie's innovators. (It may fit another part of the graph in other markets, but to a Hobie owner, to buy your proposed boat, they'd be an innovator)

To achieve market success, (and not just technological success) and to be able to trade off of the Hobie brand image, and not just the Hobie brand name, you want to launch products in the Red Zone of that graph.

Think about Hobie's success since the innovative Mirage Drive. It succeeded in kayaks, so they added a sail and two amas. Suddenly you had a product that wasn't a kayak anymore, but to the kayaking crowd, it was familiar. You didn't need innovators to buy it because you were trading off the Hobie Brand, which meant that customers knew that Hobie could build quality kayaks, and quality sailing pieces and parts, so to combine them, they launched something new and different, but not totally foreign to their current market.

In essence, the Hobie Adventure Island was launched in the Red Zone, to the Early Adopters.

Next, Hobie had a lot of customers fishing from their mirage kayaks. They launched the Pro Angler. This was innovative enough that it didn't just replace what everyone in the Early and Late majority were using, but in fact it was a new boat. However it wasn't so new that they needed innovators to buy it. There were enough familiar pieces, that being the first to buy a Pro Angler made you an Early Adopter, and not an innovator.

Then there was the Tandem Island. Again, innovative, but familiar.

That's how you market a product using your Brand Image, and not just your Brand Name.

So your challenge is to market something familiar enough to Hobie Owners that they will recognize the pieces and parts, or the technology, but different enough that it creates a new product, and not just a replacement product.

If you launch to the innovators, you take a big risk at failure. If you launch to the Early and Late Majority, you cannibalize your market, and people only replace what they have, but your market share doesn't grow.

In the case that you state, you want to be launching to that Red Zone of Early Adopters. If it was easy, everyone would do it! :D

I hope that helps a little bit.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 2:55 pm 
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Your idea has a very familiar sound to it. Are you familiar with the 'Stilletto'?

It was a 23' beachable catamaran that had 'compartment' cabins in the aft of each hull, covered by a jet fighter type plexi canopy. In order to move the boat over the road it had telescoping crossbeams to reduce the hull beam. I don't know how many were built and sold but it was not too many. I've seen them on a trailer and it is a formadable package to tow. They had an open trampoline like most beach cats. It was a beach cat on steroids. A lost opportunity to achieve what you now propose.

What is interesting about your proposal is that your audience will not be the average Hobie owner, though you may attract some, but sailors looking for more out of their sailing experience than what a Catalina/Capri 22 or similar monohull can give them: covering more ground in a given sail session and accessing shoal water areas other boats cannot get into. It was these traits that got me into catamarans in the first place, racing came second. It is also the reason why cats have become such popular charter boats, especially for novice sailors. Stable, roomy, fun.

If the boat is simply rigged, ruggedly built and not overpowered (I sure wouldn't want to right a 22' capsized cat) and has somewhat modest accomodations (think dry without a heavy bridge deck) and can come in at a reachable price the average monohull owner is used to, you'd probably get some traction in sales.

Insofar as a Hobie Lifestyle. Sure, it was a 'way of life' in the 70's when I got into them. I don't see today's buyers buying into the hype (for lack of a better word) of a lifestyle. They're buying a product that fits the lifestyle they already have. They're buying a Hobie because it already has a solid brand reputation as a quality investment of their money.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 3:39 pm 
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A Reynolds 21 made by Hobie? No I wouldn't buy it.

I race beach cats because of the living on the beach with my dogs and camper. If I want to sleep on a boat I'd get something bigger. I'm not going to pay a performance price for watered down cruiser.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:37 pm 
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TCHobie wrote:
20 to 24 feet in length, trailerable, overnight accommodations for 2, small interior cabin, and has an emphasis on weekend trips (1 or 2 nights)


You've just described a Stiletto 23 or Reynolds 21, as others pointed out.

Is there a market for such a cat -- yes. How big it is -- very, very small. So small, you can't see it with a naked eye small... :wink:

I've read somewhere, there has been only 40 Reynolds 21 ever made. There is a fellow on http://www.thebeachcats.com who owns one.

My advice; this is old news and a dead end -- find better topic.

Better question for this forum to ask would be: what new product should/could Hobie peruse and why.

Best of luck, and keep stirring the pot :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 5:43 pm 
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i think it would be an interesting concept. living on the TN river, the winds aren;t great for a high performance boat like the H16 I plunged into. But, it is the first boat my wife has sailed on (besides a rented Catalina turd in Charleston- that didn;t count). Now I hae mentioned buying something like a bucaneer or Flying Scott that is a little better suited for our area. Her response--- BORING.

In short, she has experienced the feeling of fflying in a trapeze, and that is what she associates with sailing. Anything else is sub par.

A high(er) performance Cat that was somewhat (not every weekend) trailerable, and had some more room to either take friends, or camp out on with a small family, that has traction- with me at least.

My .02, Good luck!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:07 pm 
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Even with a 30' hull there isn't much room for any kind of cabin.

RC30:
Image

The R33 doesn't have much for cabins. I've never been on one, but it look like sleeping in a coffin.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 7:36 pm 
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If those are 30 foot hulls, I'm assuming that the boat can't be trailered without disassembly, because the width wouldn't be allowed on the roads. Maybe I'm wrong. But that was also one of the things the original poster talked about, the ability to trailer it.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:41 pm 
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Thank you Everyone for the replies, i have already learned quite a bit about the topic, I appreciate all of your help, i have not red in depth all replies because I am on spring break, but did skim through.

I did not realize how many similar ideas have been tossed around, very interesting stuff, also, i agree with Hobie's brand image, i do think this product would go against it, something has to give. I agree with the whole sports car to suv / motor home theme, very powerful ideas there, and it is a difficult hurdle to cross.

I am writing a hypothetical business proposal, and it is just as easy for me to write one saying "this is a great idea" opposed to one saying "this idea is not profitable" as long as i have the necessary information to back up either outcome, it does not matter to me which way it goes. My opinion, ill keep my Hobie 16.

Again, thanks for your replies, You are all a big help.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 8:49 pm 
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Reynolds 21
augaug wrote:
I'm assuming that the boat can't be trailered without disassembly,

I am pretty sure, you need to disassemble all of this kind of bigger cats for trailing. This is Reynolds 21.
Image

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 20, 2013 9:24 pm 
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Check out Cat 2 Fold.

http://www.cat2fold.com/index.php?page=pictures

Image

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 23, 2013 8:50 am 
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Quote:
They're buying a product that fits the lifestyle they already have.

Interesting posts. But that's the most interesting quote.

The lifestyle is now expensive gas, expensive dock fees, don't-leave-that-darn-thing-on-my-beach. So cats are more for day sailing. Fast setup and fast breakdown. Which is probably why the recreational cats are selling better.

If performance cats are going to thrive, their setup and breakdown times are going to have to waaaaaaaay improve...

The idea in the first post will have trouble fitting the market. If a beach cat with a cabin is something you can afford, you're probably going to leave the idea and go to a bigger, more comfortable boats instead.

That Cat 2 Fold trails easily! :o


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