The fastest growing cat class?????

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by CT249, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. CT249
    Joined: May 2003
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    Location: Sydney Australia

    CT249 Senior Member

    Okay, defining "growing" is problematic. But it's interesting to see a class that is going from 0 boats at national titles to 14 and getting some solid club-level growth in three continents. The class is the Hobie 14, the original surfcat. Reports from Australia, the USA and South Africa are showing a strong revival - in fact the class seems to be growing faster than any of the hyperperformance classes.

    The F18 is also getting very strong fleets, with a huge 160+ boat fleet at the last worlds. Funny, isn't it - the types that get hundreds of boats to world titles and strong club fleets get denigrated and delegated to the dustbins of history by the hype merchants, who build classes that make a big noise about getting a dozen boats to a subsidised continental regatta. Maybe it just underlines that the true path to growth is in classes that people can afford and that can be effectively sailed at local clubs.

    I had a run in a beaten up 14 last season, and found that it was a really nice little boat, although it's very quirky. It would be great for sailing if a worldwide revival in such a simple, accessible boat could keep building momentum - it'd be a lot better for the sport than hyping classes that cost a year's salary to put afloat.
  2. Tom.151
    Joined: Jul 2009
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    Location: New England, USA

    Tom.151 Best boat so far? Crowther Twiggy (32')

    Not disagreeing with what seems to be your intent for promoting "simple, accessible" boats... but even small, simple boats are 'relatively' expensive for fueling entry level accessibility.

    The missing link, in my opinion, is that those classes need to include rules for home/self built boats.

    Right, no manufacturer want's to be in that space, but I think they're wrong... there will always be sailors who have the means to buy and not the skills to build to class rules.

    The single manufacturer (no home built) classes are so expensive that the accessibility needed to widen the base for the sport of sailing just sin't there. Just saying.

  3. Skyak
    Joined: Jul 2012
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    Skyak Senior Member

    There has been a Hobie 14 turbo for sale -reasonable functional condition for $400 all summer. The cheapest fast fun build I can think of would be to buy it for parts. The reason I don't is that I have a 3.5, and smaller is better for me -I can't sell it either. In my location -Chicago there is no shortage of cheap used sailboats. I would say there is more of a problem with storage, launching... and the perception that sailing is for the rich to show how rich they are.

    Hobies are not just simple -they are ROCKs! They have been sitting outside in the sun and snow for decades and they are ready to go with a couple hours maintenance. Another great characteristic of old Hobies is great light wind performance.
  4. Stumble
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Location: New Orleans

    Stumble Senior Member

    At least in the US the A-Class Catamaran class has exploded in the last year. Our local pick up regattas are getting 20 boats and I think they are expecting 70 for NA this week. It's actually gotten a little out of hand, used boat prices have jumped, and the good ones are sold before the ink is dry on the adds.

    I could pretty easily sell my boat for a profit over what I bought it for last year... But then I couldn't afford another boat so I am keeping it.

  5. Barra
    Joined: Feb 2014
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    Barra Junior Member

    Yes, to attract new sailors to a class you really need a supply of cheap used boats.

    You simply can't build a boat for the cost of a good used one these days.

    No surprise the H14 is attracting numbers again.

    Years ago in a small country town in WA we got a sailing club started from scratch on the local inlet. Selected the Windrush 14 because of the availability of cheap used boats and had 10+ sailing in no time. Always had my boat up for sale at cost and would purchase another used one when it sold to keep the fleet growing.

    Like any class , an arms race started with new lighter boats and bigger class legal sailplans which eventually killed it. To keep a local fleet healthy you really need a critical mass so far as the number of boats sailing goes. Once the fleet falls below that number it dies quickly.
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