Hobie Cat 16 Is Still Kicking – Ultimate Buyers Guide

For many people owning a sailboat is a lifelong dream, and it’s been a dream of yours too.

It’s not hard to see why. A sailboat is both the ultimate in luxury and adventure. Whatever the size of your boat, it is something to be proud of. People who own sailboats have wild weekends. They have picnic baskets with real wine glasses that never break. They have the courage to wear loafers without socks, and they look good doing it. They have tan skin and perfect highlights in their hair.

There’s nothing like the open water. The smell of the surf, the sound of the waves, and the wind in your hair all instantly transport you to paradise. When you’re aboard a sailboat you transform into the person you always knew you were, and you search for adventure in a way you never normally do. You have long been bitten by the sailing bug, but you are finally going to do something about it.

Maybe you’ve been out on some long excursions or sailed around the marina with friends. Maybe you’ve chartered boats, or rented boats, or spent years on a family boat. You’ve got experience with sailing, and a passion for sailing, but now you need the means to sail.


Everything You Need to Know about the Hobie Cat 16

Hobie Cat 16 sailing in the sea

Which means you need the right sailboat. There are thousands of models that you can choose from, and they range from the rugged to the ritzy and everything in between. So you first have to decide what kind of sailor you want to be. Do you want the pounding waves and the thrill of racing across the water? Of course, you do, but are you ready for a 30-foot sailboat and all that comes with it? Maybe not. What you need are a boat that is equal parts and adventure and ease. You need a boat that can give you a thrill a minute, but that can also be a nice stepping-stone linking your love of all things water with your love of sailing.

With thousands of boats to choose from, there’s only one that’s right for you. It’s a boat that is as legendary as it is fast. It’s the Hobie Cat 16.

The Hobie Cat 16 revolutionized sailing, and it’s about to revolutionize your weekends, your tan line, and your social media feeds. Here’s why.

A Proud Watersports Lineage

Man sailing in the ocean

The first thing to know about Hobie is how much the company changed the face of watersports and watercraft. Hobie was founded by Hobie Alter in 1950 when Alter carved his first surfboard out of balsawood in his parent’s garage. Within a few years, he was making hundreds of surfboards, and he then opened the first surf shop in Southern California.

Next, Alter invented the polyurethane surfboard whose light foam core revolutionized the sport of surfing and seemed to single-handedly turn the whole world into surfers.

But the revolutionary inventions weren’t just limited to surfboards. In the late 60’s, Alter started to dabble in boat designs. He took inspiration from Polynesian catamarans and applied the same lightweight technology he used on surfboards to the ancient boats. With that, the Hobie Catamaran or Cat was born.

In 1970 Hobie introduced the Hobie Cat 16 and sailing has never been the same since. In fact, it is such a game-changing watercraft that it occupies a spot in the sailing Hall of Fame, and over 100,000 of them have been produced. According to the Hobie website, more people have taken to the water in Hobie Cat than in any other boat.

The Hobie Cat 16 is a classic boat. It is coveted by collectors and enthusiasts alike. It is the red Ferrari of the sailing world, and it has the pedigree to prove it.

Satisfy a Need for Speed

Lineage and legacy are nice, and clearly, the Hobie Cat 16 was born of a love of the sea, but it was also born out of a love of speed.

The Hobie Cat 16 is a racing boat, and it shows. It’s double banana shaped hulls cut through the water with ease, and even in light winds the aluminum alloy frame and 2 sails can catch considerable wind and get going pretty fast.

It is most popularly used as either a day sailing boat or a racing boat. It’s not a boat with a lot of frills. In fact, it doesn’t have any frills. The Hobie Cat 16 is not your picnicking boat. It has no below deck. The deck itself is actually just a square of a raised trampoline. You might not be able to test out your sockless loafers while onboard, but you will experience the thrill of the wind and water. That’s what has made the Hobie Cat 16 so successful. It is a boat made for the love of boats. Riding one in high winds is a thrilling adventure. There is really nothing between you and the roaring water, and most Hobie enthusiasts wouldn’t have it any other way.

Each year there are Hobie Cat 16 racing events held all over the world. The International Hobie Class Association was founded in 1991 and it hosts championship events, teaches sailing classes, and holds meetings.

By owning a Hobie you get to be a part of this elite group of sailors who have a wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm ready to share with you. They can help inspire you to sail for speed, or simply give you the means to sail for fun.  

Try Out the Trapeze

Lake view

Until watching a video like this one here, you might not have realized that the words boat and trapeze can actually go together. But if simply zooming over the waves isn’t thrilling enough for you, you can use a trapeze system while aboard the Cat 16.  

The Hobie Cate 16 actually allows for a double trapeze so that you don’t have to be all alone out on the edge of the boat. You get to have a friend there to share the adventure and perhaps keep you calm should the occasion call for it. All you have to do is get the correct wire system for your Hobie and after a little time rigging and configuring, you can actually ride on the edge of your hull with the wind in your hair. It’s like extreme sailing, and it is one of the perks of a catamaran. It might not be your preferred way of sailing, and you can certainly use your Hobie Cat without it, but you have to try it at least once, right?

Some Hobie Cat sailors get pretty daring with their trapeze work, but you don’t need to take the boat to the edge of capsizing to have a little fun. All you have to do is just lean back into the water just a little. You might feel like a fish on the end of a line, but it’s an experience you will never forget.

It is Low Maintenance for a Sailboat

People who own sailboats do have a tendency to treat them better than their firstborn child, but the Hobie Cat 16 doesn’t require you to be that attentive or that obsessive. As boats go it is pretty low maintenance.

It is comprised of 2 sails, 2 hulls, and a mesh trampoline, so you don’t have to deal with a lot of complicated equipment. The 2 hulls were designed to work without the help of a daggerboard, which means that the boats can pull up right onto the beach with no problem. You don’t have to worry about running aground in shallow waters, and you don’t need a ramp, or pulley system to safely get your boat in and out the water.

The rudders also lift up by pulling on the tiller crossbar, so it is easy to keep your boat in good shape no matter what your level of skill is. If you are a fairly new sailor you might enjoy the simplicity and purity of the Hobie Cat 16. It’s a relatively small boat with a length overall of just over 16 feet, so it feels less intimidating and less imposing than other sailboats.

It’s a great boat if you are looking for an experience that is a few steps up from a canoe, or kayak. As long as you are comfortable around the rigging, moving up to the Hobie Cat 16 from a canoe, or kayak seems like a logical and reasonable step.

Perfect for a Small Crew

Group of men sailing in the beach

You don’t have to have a full crew to sail your Hobie Cat 16. You can sail it solo with ease, and you can enjoy the pleasure of the sun and surf without any annoying chitchat or chatter. For you, sailing might not be a social thing. It might be a solitary outing where you get to clear your mind and let the hassles of the day trail behind you and blur with the shrinking shoreline.

No problem. The Hobie Cat allows you to embrace your brooding, solitary inner sailor without sacrificing safety, or maneuverability. Depending on the weight of those on board, you can sail it with a crew of 1 to 4, but you can just as easily sail it on your own. The space is small enough that everything you need is always right at your fingertips. You don’t have to go racing around the boat every time the wind picks up, and you don’t have to be in 3 places at once. In fact, for the most part, you just get to lean back and enjoy the ride.

If you want to sail with other people you have that option, but you do need to be conscious of the weight limit, which is 529 pounds. That means if you have 3 crewmembers they need to weigh at or below 175 pounds each otherwise you risk capsizing. It is for that reason that you will see most of these boats with crews of 1 or 2 individuals. Of course there is also not a lot of space aboard, so if you are looking for a boat for social outings you will need to invest in something bigger.

You could, of course, just get your own fleet of them and hop from island to island, disembark and have our picnic on a private beach, but that might have to wait until you win the lottery.

Pay a Reasonable Price

Speaking of winning the lottery, to own a Hobie Cat 16 you don’t really need to. As sailboats go it is pretty reasonably priced. Sailing is notoriously expensive, but you can buy a brand new one for right around $12,000. Yes, that’s a little more than the rest of your outdoor sporting equipment, but it’s still less than a car, and it’s a worthwhile investment.

But if money is still an issue you can always locate a used model that has been well loved by someone else. With more than 100,000 of them produced, it is not hard to find a used one, and it’s also not hard to find one that is still in good shape.

The Hobie Cat 16 is Still Kicking

Two boys riding  Hobie Cat 16

The Hobie Cat 16 is a king among sailboats, and it has reigned supreme for more than 4 decades. It is one of the most popular boats on the water, and you can find people sailing it all over the world. It is small, speedy, and perfect for a small crew. It’s a nice beginner sailboat, but it still provides an exhilarating experience.

  • Performance
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  • Ease Of Use
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Summary

Hobie Cat 16 is cheaper and easier to find; designed with beach landings in mind, so they’re tough; still in production, so parts are everywhere; easier to rig; easier to push around on the sand; huge racing class. It’s a great boat. On the very rare occasion I take someone with me two full-size adults can trap at the same time where the 16 is more of a one-man boat.

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