Why discuss this 30 years later?
Fixed that for you. The boat weights were dropped to 320 lbs in 1983; the Comptip was introduced in 1984 and became required in 1989.
A) I wasn't interested in Hobie sailboat racing 20 years ago.
That's not a particularly valid point. You made the decision to buy an old boat that's probably not competitive, put non-OEM parts on it that made it non-class legal - and you want change the rules back to 1982? Not going to happen - not to mention that even if we did - your boat still wouldn't be class legal with a non-OEM trampoline (OEM parts have been required since the '60s).
B) A decision made 30 years ago might not be the best decision to continue today.
Raise the boat minimum weight? Not going to happen. Boats have been made to the minimum weight (reliably) for over 20 years.
Eliminate the Comptip requirement? Again, not going to happen. It's a safety issue. Eliminating a safety feature is not going to go over well when the class gets dragged into court on a wrongful death suit.
These decisions were not made in a vacuum 30 years ago. They were hotly debated, hashed, re-hashed and basically beat to death. Those of us that went through that are tired of it after 30 years. It's done, been done for 30 years, and the class has moved on.
C) Hobie 16 fleets are decreasing in popularity in many areas.
That is a true statement, but there's not a direct cause-and-effect relationship between that and the enforcement of class rules. There are other areas of the country where Hobie 16 fleets are very strong - and growing.
Hobie Class Association might want to say they have a "strict" one design class, but if that was true, then changes such as the redesigned jib halyard would not have happened. The Hobie Class Association have made changes over the years to reflect current reality.
Every one-design class evolves, otherwise the Star class would still have a wooden gaff rig, wood hulls and cotton sails. Many minor changes have been allowed over the years. Individually, they are mostly insignificant. Cumulatively, they are significant, which is why a 30-year-old boat isn't competitive against a 5-year-old boat.
I'd like to do some sailboat racing. Maybe a few times a year. I'm not looking to invest five thousand or more to get a competitive boat. I'm just looking for a little bit of fun. Choice is to take my older Hobie, that I know isn't as fast as a modern boat, and drive a few hours, and be told that maybe I can race, but I'll be illegal, or maybe I can't race, doesn't seem like a good use of my time.
Instead, maybe I should pick up a used Sunfish or Laser, both of which are a hell of a lot more active in my area, and race that and save the Hobie for when I'm by myself. Less then a thousand bucks and I'll be somewhat competitive. Or a thousand bucks to upgrade my boat with a legal tramp and mast, (I'll agree the 10k is way too high an estimate) to find there are no races to speak of in my area. Which do you think I should do? Which choice of boat makes more sense?
You're in for a rude awakening if you think a $1000 Laser or Sunfish will be competitive. Just like the Hobie 16, they have strict OEM parts and sail rules (a new sail for a Laser - which is only good for racing for a year - is over $1,000). Older boats are heavy and mushy. There's a "race" version of boat boats that's significantly more expensive (For the Laser, it includes a cascaded vang and cunningham/outhaul controls led back to the deck in front of the daggerboard. For the Sunfish, it includes adjustable outhauls, different sail rings and "racer" foils.)
Sailboat racing is on a decline, regardless of what the Hobie Class Association does.
Yes and no. Certain aspects of the sport are off the chart (Optis and collegiate sailing).
If Hobie were to just rely on the sales of its catamarans, it would be a much smaller company.
Very true. But they had the business sense to diversify - which has kept the company strong over the past 20 years. Many other classes have struggled to find a builder when the current one went under. How many different builders has the Laser and Sunfish had? (start at 5 and keep going).
But the Hobie 16 is a good boat. There are a crapload of old boats out there cheap. You don't have to invest five grand to find a sailable Hobie 16.
Very true, but a cheap boat is not a competitive boat - no matter what class you buy into.
A lot of the local race committees recognize this fact. Yet instead of dealing with this situation in a logical and organized fashion, with the development of appropriate rules to allow the no longer class legal boats to sail
Sorry, but that's just not going to happen - if you want to race, you should be class legal. It's the rules of the game.
The Hobie Class Association wants to continue to discourage people from racing. Where is the Hobie 16 going to be in 20 years? (And as something to compare, where do you think the Sunfish will be in 20 years?)
Not true at all. The Hobie 16 is still the largest one-design catamaran racing class in the world - by a long way. Both the 16 and the Sunfish will probably be around in 20 years (but if you knew more about the Sunfish's manufacturer, you wouldn't be so sure about its longevity - and you know that company that was making Lasers lost the right to do so? No new "Lasers" are being made - they're now called the "Torch" and being made only in Australia).
The HCA encourages people with older boats to join fleets and partner up with established racers to bring them up to speed - both figuratively and literally. Everyone is welcome, and many blind eyes are turned in local events. But at HCA-sanctioned regattas, competitors are expected to have class-legal boats. Period. End of discussion.