Those boats are just as expensive and hard to set up as the Wildcat. Before you talk about the great tacking and gybing performance sail one.
I can only go on what others say but I believe the dagger boards help greatly with grip through tacks on F16. I'm not a great fan of fixed dagger boards as you've probably noticed which is why the folding arrangement on their 580 seems the way forwards to me. After all if folding boards work well on mono hulls, why haven't they been widely adopted on Cats? Is there a technical reason or is it just cost.
I also think complexity wise you may be comparing F18 and Wildcat. The F16 and 580 look comparable to the same Hobie setup to me.
The rudder set up on those boats can be a real pain to sail. The little rubber connectors are like auto centring mechanisms. if you let your hand of the tiller for a sec the rudder jumps back to straight.
I'd actually consider that an advantage as you don't overturn if you lose the tiller. You should never let go of the tiller and being rear sheeted there really is no reason to ever do so as you know doubt know, with any rear sheeted boat you swop tiller and sheet hands before tacking / gybing and once you've tacked everything is in the right hands again. That's why I'm a fan of rear sheeted boats and not much of a fan of centre sheeted arrangements. Centre sheeting makes manoeuvring so much harder and for what purpose? I've sailed both types of boat extensively especially lasers, and I'd take a rear sheeting arrangement any day.
The sails on those boats are also expensive. When pricing out a new F18 the Infusion was the second highest price for replacement sails. Without the spin the 580 is simpler but not much.
I can't comment on that as I haven't seen any pricing. However, using the windsurfing links I made above, I think it was shown that potentially high tech sails don't have to be more expensive. It would depend on how Hobie sourced them I guess.
There are options out there but remember there is considerable cost to make molds for a boat. You want to design the boat and build the molds you could be looking at several hundred thousand dollars. That has to be recouped in the price of the boat.
Well obviously that's going to be the case and successfully recouping those costs is the risk you take in boat building. Again its a case of can Hobie continue at least in F16 racing with a 41 year old design? I imagine it could go on for ever in the leisure market although whether sales would be sustained against others I don't know but in F16 class racing, there's a huge difference in PY between Hobie and the Nacra now - According to SCHRS ISAF Cat Racing handicap tables, the Hobie F16 is 828 without spinnaker, the Nacra 16 is 700. That's a 128 point difference. Even their 580 leisure (non racing boat) non spinnaker is 723 - 105 points ahead of Hobie's f16!: http://www.schrs.com/pylookalike.php
A 41 year old design cannot compete with a modern high tech alternative and so at some point it would seem Hobie are going to have to do something to catch up if they intend to remain in the F16 class market as opposed to the leisure market.
I regret this has become a comparison between 2 manufacturers as its not my intention to put either down, however I do think improvements perhaps need pointing out so Hobie can go forwards, assuming that's what they want to do.