Hobie Trifoiler info needed

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by TicTac, Apr 25, 2008.

  1. TicTac
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Location: Lake Norman

    TicTac New Member

    Does anyone know why the Trifoiler was obsoleted? Cost? Dangerous?
    Are there any knck-offs around for a much lower price than $10K?
  2. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

    Look for a used Rave-should be much less expensive and they are very fast.
  3. Chris Ostlind

    Chris Ostlind Previous Member

    What Doug is not telling you in his zeal to pump a Rave into your hands is this: Both the Rave and the Trifoiler met their maker as production vessels when they just flat did not sell enough to keep them around on the inventory list for their respective companies.

    The Trifoiler is still a great boat if you like to sail in the scenarios that favor their sweet spot (and you have a sailing area which features this sweet spot on a regular basis) This would look something like this: Flat, or near flat water is optimal, so a protected bay or harbor is ideal. Winds that are consistently in the 12-20 knot range while the water stays as smooth as possible. A friendly beach from which to launch and retrieve and patient power boaters who respect a unique boat (good luck on this one) as they do not fly at the drop of a hat.

    The Trifoiler hauls *** in the correct window of operation. It can generate neck snapping gybes while powered-up and flat-out runs away from virtually all other sailboats and a good many power boats as well.

    It's a fiddly effort to set one up, as well as take it down to go home, so it is best to have a place where you can leave the boat built if you'd like to sail it often.

    The same is true for the Rave, except its heavier, is made of space frame tubing covered with Tupperware plastic for a hull.

    I have no idea how extensive the parts bins at Hobie and the new owners of the Rave design might be, so one should potentially take great care in how the boat would be flung about, less the part they break be nowhere to be found. This means expensive if you have to fab new parts of your own.

    All in all, they were both unique boats for their time. They opened a lot of eyeballs to this particular niche in the overall sport of sailing and they faded away when the masses just never saw the value against the cost to purchase. Let's face it, these foiling boats are part intensive compared to other boats. The parts that make them different are also very expensive and they happen to be the ones that are most vulnerable to breakage. A pair of foils from Bladerider, for instance, run just shy of US$4K, so it gets spendy very quickly, if you make a mistake and run over something immovable. I'll tell you this from experience... both the Rave and the Trifoiler make lousy sailboats when they are not foiling.

    My personal take... Foilers in general and these two boats, specifically, would be interesting additions to the fleet of a person with cash to burn and the resources to run them... and the time to learn how to make them operate at their best. These boats have a long way to go before they are anything close to appropriate for the average sailing person who wants a recreational boat for weekend sailing... if they can ever get there.

    Don't go by what Doug tells you, go by your gut instincts and the realities of the type when measured against your resources and the well-known history of foiling boats in general.
  4. tspeer
    Joined: Feb 2002
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    Location: Port Gamble, Washington, USA

    tspeer Senior Member

    I think the problem was not that they weren't fast when flying - the Trifoiler was basically a production version of a world record-holder, after all - but that they weren't very fast hull borne when compared to a conventional beach cat. Most venues just didn't have the wind needed to fly on a regular basis. Spending a lot of money to be passed up by everyone and their brother most of the time just didn't have the appeal one might have thought.
  5. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest


    I'm not positive but I think there is a new company producing the Rave. Tom is right and that was the major downfall of both boats: they didn't foil in under 10 knots of wind-and are relatively slow off the foils. There is a difference with the Rave though-it actually sails well(but not fast compared to beach cats)when off the foils and has retractable foils so it can be easily sailed off a beach.
    The new Moth monofoilers can foil in as little as 5 knots of wind and takeoff in 6-7 but are fairly difficult to learn to sail. New foilers are being developed that will take off in 5 knots or so of wind and be much easier to sail.
  6. TicTac
    Joined: Apr 2008
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    Location: Lake Norman

    TicTac New Member

    Doug, Chris, Tom,
    Thank you for providing very informative feedback. I live on a very big lake and have my own beach so this helps alot. Also, I'm an inventor and am very comfortable with making my own replacement parts if needed. I just thought these boats would be great fun. I'll go look at the Rave. I've never seen one. I wouldn't mind trying to convert my Aquacat into something just for the science of it.
    Happy Sailing!
  7. Doug Lord

    Doug Lord Guest

  8. manyhulls
    Joined: Feb 2011
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    Location: Calgary/Muskoka

    manyhulls New Member

    I'm replying to this post a few years after the fact, so I don't know if you're going to see it...

    I've never discussed it with Dan Ketterman, but my understanding is that once they got the boat into the market, the annual sales (predictably) leveled off at a point that clearly indicated it had its niche, but was too specialized a boat to see big volume production. Just how it is.

    I have a TriFoiler in addition to a handful of cats, and Chris and tspeer are mostly on the mark with their comments. You need a beach, no ifs, ands or buts. There's weird stuff sticking out in every direction that simply makes the boat impossible to tie up to a dock, and the rig is so hot that once it's in the water it wants to move, usually in all the wrong directions. I only tried once - never again. Okay, there's one exception: I don't have any beach at our cottage, just shallow water. So with a little help I can slide the "packaged" boat off of the trailer and assemble it in the water. It's a little weird, but quite doable.

    If you have the wind, it hauls *** like nothing you've ever seen, sailed, or felt. If not, you'll regret having left shore, because there is no displacement performance. Damn thing just sits there. That's why anyone who's serious about sailing would be a fool to own a TF as his/her only ride. Also, as spectacular as it is to sail, after a while in the cockpit I need to get back on a cat and out on the wire in order to get a workout. There just isn't enough physical involvement in the TF to satisfy the urge to move around the boat and get banged around some.

    Dan still provides stellar support out of the Hobie factory, and so far I haven't heard of him not being able to provide replacement parts. Expensive to maintain? No more than any other sailboat, really. The TriFoiler didn't invent the notion of a boat being a depression in the water into which money is thrown. But you should be aware that there are essentially no parts that are interchangeable with anything else, including a Hobie cat. They really did have to invent everything anew.

    However, I wouldn't call it "fiddly", and it doesn't take long to set up or knock down. Dan told me once he can do it in 12 minutes or some crazy thing, and I don't doubt it. I'm probably closer to 20, which isn't much different from a beach cat if you've got to step the mast. The TF's construction is kind of amazing, though, and a bit of a puzzle until you wrap your head around the statics of the structure. Once you get it, the whole thing goes together or comes apart in a very slick, elegant manner, that doesn't involve a single shackle. The downside of that is that if you suffer a failure in any part of the standing rigging, everything comes down, and it's a helluva mess. We call that a "gravity storm". Much nastier than a simple dismasting, since we've got two of everything and extra pieces tying it all together.

    TF #23 "Unfair Advantage"
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