Hobie USA drops several catamarans.

Interesting to see how Hobie has cut back their beach cat offerings. 

I was just looking at their web page (for USA) and the Wildcat is no longer listed as one of the boats they offer. 
https://www.hobie.com/about-us/

Also: the rotomolded catamaran line-up is also shrinking.  The T2 is gone.   We hardly knew you! 

That leaves the Hobie 16 as the only fiberglass boat they sell in the USA, and the Wave, Bravo and Getaway in the rotomolded range. 

The Europe site still shows both the WIldcat and the Tiger, as well as the T2. 
https://www.hobie.com/br/fr/

But then this is a big slimming down too, because last year they had the T1 (and maybe other plastic boats?) as well as some other fiberglass boats.   So Europe has also seen a big range slimming effort.   Maybe there is a larger market to sustain selling some of those boats indefinitely in Europe, or maybe they are just selling through the inventory and their line up will also soon be down to the three rotomoldeds and the 16. 

It's odd that Hobie doesn't even offer a F-18 boat here anymore, though they do not seem to have really ever caught on even as much as the Tiger, and the NACRA boats have always seemed to be the ones filling most of the slots in American regattas.   

I'm nostalgic enough to feel sort of sad.  Back when I got into beach cats Hobie was still the most popular brand, by far.  In fact of the 20 boats on the beach ours was the only NACRA, and their was one SuperCat, the rest were all Hobies.    At that time they still made the 14, 17, 18 (all w/ variations) and the Miracle 20, along with the 16.  How far the mighty have fallen.  
 

 

F18 Sailor

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I'm not entirely sure who is running the show at Hobie but their business model has shifted heavily towards kayaks over the last decade.

I have been told that Hobie isn't going to be tooling up for a new fiberglass race boat, possibly ever again. The Wildcat was hit or miss and never proved to be fast in the hands of rank amateurs though a couple in France and Italy do well and they were/are well built boats with fast rigs+sails and excellent rigging out of the box.

 
I posted a short question over at the company forum page and got this response: 

 

Both the WildCat and the T2 are still offered to dealers. Just on a special order basis.
We have not built fiberglass hulls in the USA for years. Australia builds their own H16s. France builds our 16s and all the rest of the glass products. Just more efficient use of each facility. We concentrate of rotomolding here in Oceanside... and build all of the aluminum, trampolines and sails for the US and Australian facilities.

_________________Matt Miller
Director of Parts and Accessory Sales
Warranty and Technical Support
Hobie Cat USA
 

F18 Sailor

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As Matt points out, that has been the case for a while now (I meant to add that you can special order Wildcats through the Hobie dealer network in my first post). Their use of different factories for different lineups makes complete sense and France remains one of the best places on earth to get composites work done at a reasonable price with a high degree of quality (i.e the Cirrus products rank as some of the best in the small beach cat business in terms of quality).

 
Yes, given the ubiquity of containerized shipping there is no reason to have multiple factories for their boats, I  get that.   In fact the Australia set-up is a bit of an anachronism.  I guess what is disapointing is that (apparently) the T-2 sold so poorly in the USA that it's gone from a regular product to a special order in only a year or two.   

The sad truth is that once you stop featuring these products, even on your own website,  not very many people are going to even know that you can special order them.  Google search "Hobie Wildcat" and you go to the Hobie Catamaran Page -- which doesn't have it.    

I do not know if it is a reflection of the overall market for beach cats in America, or just Hobie's declining fortune within that market.   Cosair, the notch above Hobie seems to be doing real well.   So does Weta - whose boat at about $15,000 is priced mid way between the biggest rotomolded Hobies and the Wildcat.  

For sure though we've lost almost all the manufacturers in America of this quintessentially American boat.   NACRA is in Holland,  Prindle is long gone,  (NACRA may own the rights).  G-Cat is out of production.  I think ARC is still building the Roberts / Supercats. 
 

 

F18 Sailor

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Falcon Marine is still in business building fiberglass boats in the U.S. They are expensive however, because U.S labor is double the cost of eastern european or asian labor. Nacra doesn't build parts in Holland, only final assembly. Goodall doesn't build composites parts in Australia either, only final assembly.

Keep in mind that these high performance beachcats cater to a small market. The Weta has done well I think because it is a relatively stable, dry boat compared with an F18, the class has good management, and the boats are simple to put together and robust. Those features cost more upfront but command a premium.

 

Tom Kirkman

Anarchist
Hobie has had so much success in the kayak, sailing kayak and roto-molded sailboat business that it no longer made business sense for them to keep certain boats in the line any longer. Hobie isn't exactly hurting - they're selling more boats of more types now, than at any time in their history. They've just found a very profitable niche and are filling it quite well.

I've sailed a Weta a good bit... never found it to be the least bit dry, unless it's just not being pushed very hard or is sitting in the parking lot.

 
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I've sailed a Weta a good bit... never found it to be the least bit dry, unless it's just not being pushed very hard or is sitting in the parking lot.


Weta = Wet, eh? 

 

Hobie has had so much success in the kayak, sailing kayak and roto-molded sailboat business that it no longer made business sense for them to keep certain boats in the line any longer. Hobie isn't exactly hurting - they're selling more boats of more types now, than at any time in their history. They've just found a very profitable niche and are filling it quite well.


Yes, those Mirage Drive boats and the tris have some really fanatic fans too,  people buy one, then they buy another one for their wife ..

Still, for a lot of people "Hobie Cat" is the generic name for a beach cat.  It would be like if Kleenex got out of the tissue market. 

The US Multihull Championship is the Hobie Altar Cup,  maybe they will sail it in Bravo's next? 

Alter-Cup-Copy.jpg


Actually, they have the list of boats to be used on the site: 

2017 it  was the Hobie 17 - 16 boats competed. 
2018 - Nacra 17 
2019 - Hobie 16
2020 - Weta 
 

 

Tcatman

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FYI,  the rotation is not random... It's single handed.... Double handed Spin, .... Double handed Sloop,  Repeat ..  so back to single handed.  Glad to see the Weta join the party

 
FYI,  the rotation is not random... It's single handed.... Double handed Spin, .... Double handed Sloop,  Repeat ..  so back to single handed.  Glad to see the Weta join the party
Interesting, that may change too, we have the foiling boats now, too, to think about.  Not sure what version of the Nacra 17 will be used next year.  I think they are mid-upgrade to foiling on that boat.  

 

Ventucky Red

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For sure though we've lost almost all the manufacturers in America of this quintessentially American boat.   NACRA is in Holland,  Prindle is long gone,  (NACRA may own the rights).  G-Cat is out of production.  I think ARC is still building the Roberts / Supercats. 
 
Had the opportunity to talk with Jack Young right after Performance closed down the Borchard Ave facility and moved to warehouse deal a few blocks away... I think on Edinger Ave in Santa Ana...  They were pretty happy about getting rid of the manufacturing due to all the regulations (environmental and business) being put on them... 

They made more than Prindles, NACRA, and Cat Boxes... at that facility... it was where I got introduced to the Johnson 18 sailboat...   and it as always cool to get the tour when picking up parts...  and dropping off a boat or two for repairs.

Getting back to Hobie...  I can see the why in this..  just makes sense

 
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