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Hi guys,

I am lurking on that board for almost two years and I do not post much …but I read a lot. I dream of a sail boat for many years, but I never found the perfect solution that matches all the variables that I need to work with (budget, need low draft, short season, expensive marinas, no pickup truck …)

So long story short, I recently stumbled on a possible solution while renting a Hobie Cat (Wave model) while having vacation near Cancun. I really enjoyed few days of happy sailing and I realize that this little toy could be the solution of my problems WHILE being a very good intro to sailing.

1. It is not that expensive to buy and maintain.

2. It is very light so I can trailer it with my car, no need of a pickup truck.

3. I do not need a marina and I can carry it everywhere solo.

4. It is shoal draft (like 10 inches).

5. I can solo it and go mostly everywhere.

For sure it does not have all the commodities of a sail boat, but I think it could be a good intro sail boat while exposing my children to the amazing world of sailing.

My question is …

Does small catamarans are a good intro to sailing if I plan to buy a sailboat in few years from now? Am I looking in the wrong direction?

Thanks guys!

Hobie wave short fun movie 

 

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Senior Pirate
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I grew up in Connecticut, sailing on Long Island sound. I then started a family and took a 30 year vacation from boats as my wife (now an ex-wife) hated them. When it was time to get back to the water and buy a boat, I knew this time around I wanted a catamaran.

I took a 6 week sailing course offered by a local company which featured Hobie Cats. I finished the course the same week I closed on my boat.

Was it a good thing to do? Well, yes, I needed a sailing refresher course. However, I discovered that sailing a Hobie Cat has absolutely nothing in common with sailing a cruising catamaran.
 

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My first boat was a Sunfish, and the second was an H16, and from then on it was multihulls. NACRA, custom cat, modified F-27, now a Catana. Have crewed on many, many different makes of multis as well.

I don't agree at all that sailing a small cat is different than sailing a cruising cat, at least as far as sailing techniques go. But then again, I have a Catana, and TC above has a Catalac, and maybe that's why he thinks the way he does.
 

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My first boat was a Hobie 14. The basic principles of point of sail, sail trim, tacking, gybing, and so on are essentially the same for any boat. I suppose that the handling of the sails is quite different if you are on a square-rigger, but for modern boats with basically triangular-shaped sails, it's all the same. The lessons I learned on my Hobie 14 have all transferred very nicely to all of the boats I have sailed since then: small mono daysailer, larger mono pocket cruiser, large mono cruiser, large cruising catamaran.

So, short answer to your questions... Yes, it is a good introduction. No, you are not looking in the wrong direction.
 

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My first boat was a Hobie 14. The basic principles of point of sail, sail trim, tacking, gybing, and so on are essentially the same for any boat. I suppose that the handling of the sails is quite different if you are on a square-rigger, but for modern boats with basically triangular-shaped sails, it's all the same. The lessons I learned on my Hobie 14 have all transferred very nicely to all of the boats I have sailed since then: small mono daysailer, larger mono pocket cruiser, large mono cruiser, large cruising catamaran.

So, short answer to your questions... Yes, it is a good introduction. No, you are not looking in the wrong direction.
Totally agree. Whatever works for you and gets you on the water is a good result. You will have fun, you will get wet, you will most likely dump it, and you will laugh a lot. Have fun!
 

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Worked for me! Hobie, then Windrider trimaran (you might want to look into that...it'll hold 2 people and enough stuff for camping and a 2hp outboard...I trailered it all over the place with my 4cyl 2.2L convertible), then cruising cat. They all sail quite differently, but we're humans...we can adapt.
 

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Frag, I haven't been on a Hobie Wave, so I can't comment on that particular boat. I did briefly own a Hobie 16 when I was in my 20s. (I'm now 57.) I'll relate my experience with that boat as it relates to your post.

The Hobie 16 was a handful for me, especially when I sailed in the surf near a beach. It was a very wet ride, which is fun when the water and air are warm, and miserable when it's cold. The boat was upside down a lot. None of my guests enjoyed capsizing. I figured that if I'm going to be always wet and often upside down, I'd give whitewater kayaking a go. It's much easier to right a kayak than it is to right a Hobie. As soon as I started kayaking, I sold the Hobie.

Another thing I didn't like about the Hobie was the lack of cockpit. It was uncomfortable to be on the boat for more than an hour or so, unless I was in the trapeze. And that's when I was in my 20s. I have no desire to subject myself to that now.

But I did learn a lot about sailing from the Hobie. Actually, enough to sail bareboat cruising boats, both cat and mono. I don't find a great deal of difference in cat vs. mono or small vs. big. What I learned from sailing the Hobie 16 was how to sail with two sails. There is a significant difference between one sail and two sails.

The Wave has only one sail. That's great for beginner sailors, espeicially kids who simply want to goof around away from the parents. But it's a disadvantage to learning with the intention of moving up. If you buy a two-sail boat, you can sail it with just the main, then graduate up to a main/jib combo. It is also a small boat, so you have to consider the size and weight of the people who will be sailing it. Again, great for kids, not so great for adults.
 

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Hobie is great to learn on. I would go for the ones that have a head sail. Lots of fun if a bit wet and prone to capsize.

If you are a cold water area get your kids shorty wet suits.

Only downside is that most other boats will feel a bit pedestrian unless you get a Sydney harbor skiff.
 

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The first sailboat ride I ever went on, was on a Hobie 16. I later owned two different H16s (the last one was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005).

They are fun boats and a great way to learn to sail. Another advantage is that used, they hold their value well. It is very easy to buy a used one in good shape for $1000 to $2500, use it for a couple of years, and then sell it for about what you paid for it.

Just get some instruction in how to flip it back over (because you will flip it, sooner or later). Hint: Don't cam off the mainsheet, no matter how tired your arms get. A sudden gust will capsize it before you can uncam it. :D
 

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I learned a lot on my H14. I can't imagine a better first sail boat. The mesh tramp is always dry even after a rain and the thing will not sink.

Once you can tack a H14 in strong wind then you will really understand how the sails work and what relative wind means.

I recommend getting a Bob (float) for the top of the mast. If you get knocked over you will want it. If you don't get knocked over then you are not learning enough.

PS - Maybe a H16 for easier hull flying.

Scott.
 

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I had a H16 in the early days and I agree with the other posters in that they are a good beginners boat. They can be rigged with a system to ease righting after capsize. I guess my only complaint compared to sailing a cruising boat (not including lack of amenities, of course) is that these things are so dang fast you mostly seem to sail on an apparent close reach. I've never sailed any other boat that can throw out a rooster tail quite like a H16!

Sent from my GT-P1000 using Tapatalk 2
 

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Yes.

Catamarans in that size teach you a lot (probably more than monohulls in the 16ft range).

Backwinding the jib for most tacks, the trickiness to dock one, the sensitivity to flip over, the challenging points-of-sail... A catamaran was my 2nd sailboat and I miss it more than any of the others. Kids will enjoy the speed and the area of trampoline, crawling up to one of the bows, trapezing out, etc.

I'd recommend a Prindle because the hulls are more buoyant and they turtle less, they're probably cheaper used because they're less famous as well.
 

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I wouldn't recommend a cat as a learner boat for several reasons. First and foremost, they can be really difficult to tack and at times this can be really frustrating and it could put you off sailing.
Any boat with a trampoline instead of a cockpit, is going to be a lot less pleasant to sail, as it's much wetter and with no lockers and no place to stash a cooler, it just isn't as much fun for a little trip one afternoon.
On the other side, they are fast and very exciting to sail, and with a little bit of practice, one can even back them into the slip, under sail.
But you are sitting on the tramp, not in the boat and as a multi-use vessel, the cats don't really make the grade.
 
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many mono sailors will not know how to sail a Cat very well. any sailor that has mastered a Cat can sail any mono with ease. get a Cat with a trapeze. the kids will love the Trapeze. I like the Prindle Cat better then the Hobie, it handles the waves and surf better. I have had mine for 36 years and it is still one of the most fun boats I have owned.
 

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Don't judge the catamaran on the Hobie wave sails. The H16 is much more fun and is a great learning experience. I started out on it as well. The only down side to your listed requirements is the draft. The rudders will *pop* up when they strike or drag on the bottom but you won't be able to effectively sail with them in the up position, more like point in to shore and once they pop, pray your pointed in the right direction. Once you outgrow the tramp and trap life, needing somewhere dry to hide, a meal or other creature comforts, you'll need to look around but to learn to sail and to get some fun under your belt, go for it.

Look for one with or upgrade to:
1. A trailer box (keeps all your stuff stored and locked without sitting on the tramp.)
2. Double trapeze (can't go without unless you sacrifice fun factor, also long tele tiller)
3. Beach wheels (not every launch ramp has a sandy spot to let you slide in and out)
4. Foam Mast topper (can't remember name other than 'anti-turtle thing')
5. Cooler mount for in front of the mast. (beer)
6. Full thin wetsuit (dubs as flotation/warmth)
7. GoPro with a leash
 

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I can't see how anything that sails would be a bad intro.

The important factor is how you learn. While some teach themselves successfully, it is the least likely method to learn the proper techniques and keep from getting frustrated and dropping out.
 

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Comments on a few of the things that have been mentioned...

Are cats poor for learning because they don't tack very easily? NO! In fact, that's part of what makes them GOOD for learning. Once you learn how to tack a small catamaran, tacking a monohull is just dead simple. You will almost never get caught in irons, and if you do, you will know exactly how to get out of it. The difficulty of tacking them is a positive for learning on small cats, not a negative.

They tip easily. Yeah, they do. In fact, half the fun is getting them up on one hull and riding that edge, where you are about to tip over but you don't. Do that very much and you will tip over plenty, but you will also learn exactly what it feel like when a boat is at just that point. Lots of people have a fear of heeling--they feel like the boat is about to tip over. Spend time riding the edge on a small catamaran and you will get a good laugh (please, laugh on the inside, not out loud at them) at folks who panic about the boat tipping over when you are just heeling a little bit. You will know, with absolute certainty, by the feel of the boat, that you are nowhere NEAR to tipping over.

They're uncomfortable, because you're sitting on a trampoline. Yeah, they're not the most comfortable boats in the world to cruise around in. You can't heave to, go below, and fix yourself a sandwich or get a beer when you feel like it. But then we're talking about a boat to learn about sailing on, not a boat to learn about casual cruising on. This is the kind of boat that you SAIL! All the time. When you're tired of sailing you get off the boat. So, great for learning to sail, and for sailing. Not so great for the casual day-sail where you want to take some friends, stop for lunch, maybe even nap while someone else helms the boat, or that sort of thing.

Good luck.
 

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Small boats are the BEST way to learn; they give a feel for the weather that is hard to match on a cruising boat until it really kicks up. You can press the limits with no real consequence, and learn what they feel like.

Please read this.
Sail Delmarva: The Merits of Learning to Sail on a Small Boat

Hard to tack? Different, perhaps, requiring better technique than a heavy mono. Better technique that will serve you well. As for all that "back wind the jib" stuff, you will not see racers doing that because it is SLOW. It is timing, balance, and sail trim through the tack.

Wet? Well, any performance dingy is.

One of the biggest drawbacks is speed. You have to spend a LOT of money on a cruising boat to break 15 knots, yet any Hobie 16 can. It feels funny spending more for something slow.
 

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yeah the wave isnt the best to improve or learn your skills upon

people often mistake the hobie 16 as a learner boat, which it is not...it was and still is probably the most globally known, recognized and sailed boat

its a racing machine thru and thru and can do much damage if you dont learn the right way

I too agree that if you can master a hobie 16, and with kids, any mono boat is going to be a walk in the park.

at the school I used to teach down here the hobie 16 was the perfect way to get newbs out on the water, I would take 3 new sailors out, get them hooked with speed, flying a wing and fast overall fun sailing, then get them federated with the sailing school and then start learning on small keelboats and dinghies...progressively going up the difficulty scale

a laser was right before hoping on and learning the hobie 16.

like the hobie the laser is no beginner boat...so if you want to learn get a boat that is suited to that...

a small keelboat or swing keeler is the best to learn on then get into tuneable semi racers and the like that can be used as a fun boat but can also be raced on too...
 
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