Is The Hobie Cat 16 Dead?

They say a cat has nine lives, and in the sailing world Cat owners will probably agree to some truth in that. Question is; Is the dead? A few years ago I was at the outdoor retailer show and saw the Hobie guys there. Because I sail my Hobie 16 all the time, my affection for the 16′ runs deep. So you can imagine my excitement as I headed toward their booth, I felt like I recognized a family member and could help but stop for at least a quick chat.

Hobie WaveTo my surprise, all they Hobie dealers wanted to talk about was the Hobie Island…the new rave. After all their talk, I wanted to say, “Is the Hobie 16 dead?” I sure hope not! I know there are many Hobie 16 lovers like us all over the U.S. and around the world who love sailing their 16’s, because we hear from you all the time! Why would Hobie want to do away with a boat so well loved and cherished by owners across the globe still looking for parts, sails, tramps, tillers, rudders and often the entire package. It’s a quick learn on a Hobie 16 and an easy thrill when you fly a hull. Since our 16 is almost to the status of family member, I was feeling a bit cut as if my Hobie Cat 16 was now a dignified “has been” that was put out to sea (pun definitely intended) and the Hobie Wave was supposedly the newer, sportier and sexier upgrade. Really? But seriously, really?

Hobie Cat 16 AdLet’s fast forward to June 2013, the latest issue of Sail Magazine. On the very last page, what do I see? An ad for Hobie 16, a simple phrase in bold letters covered the top of the sail, “My Life. My Hobie”. Four little words that sum up my affections for my Hobie. It was like a peace calmed my sailor heart and a steady excitement rose up inside of me. The Hobie isn’t dead! Since seeing this ad, my mind is now flooded with questions and future possiblities. If Hobie hasn’t given up on their classic 16 model, what’s in store for the future?

  • Will their be a Hobie 16 revival?
  • Will Hobie 16 Nationals grow bigger with new added interest?
  • Better sail colors? (Grey has never been my favorite color)
  • Will new technologies make the experience even better?

What do you think is in store for the future of the Hobie Cat 16? What do you want to see in the new 16’s? Would you rather buy a brand new 16? I know we have a Hobie following out there, we want to hear from you. Where will your Hobie take you in the future?

*Images provided by Sail Magazine and

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  1. Robert says

    No, not dead, the greatest boat ever designed. Hobie makes more money on the kayaks though. The H-18 and the H-20 are faster and funner. I own one of each. As well as an F-18. But if it is real windy somewhere, the last guys to come in off the water will be the H-16 guys. The new sail colors suck big time. Hobie has some real regressive policies about their gear and regattas. I think the tribe will continue to shrink as a result. We see roughly 10% of our boats show up for a national or world championship in the F-18 class. largely because of liberal rules as regards building boats and sourcing things like sails. If a Hobie Nationals had that sort of turnout, it would have 10,000 boats.

    1. getwet says

      Hey Robert, Thanks for the feedback. Wow, with all those boats it must be hard to choose what to sail on any nice day. I have a few friends who sail their F-18’s on a regular basis. There a lot of fun and I get a big kick out of sailing with them. But, when comes to set-up and take down, I get a lot more sailing time on my vintage Hobie 16.

  2. AK says

    Can I paint my Hobie 16 hulls?
    If so… any recommendations?

    1. getwet says

      Sure you can. Gel coat is the best. You can also use Automotive single stage paint, or a single stage epoxy. What you need to do is sand the surface down usually with 400-600 grit sand paper. Make sure it’s clean before you paint it. You can use a spray gun or a roller.

  3. CaptSteve says

    I love my H-16 and have been sailing it since the mid 80’s. I’ve sailed it off the Big Island and Oahu as well as all over California. Very fun and fast boat. The hulls and sails have held up very well.

    1. getwet says

      Sounds great. We were on the Big Island about a year ago and was hoping to find more sailing, but we could hardly find any sailors , let alone Hobies! We’re headed back to the Big Island in October, so if you’re down there let about that time let us know! We love our Hobie 16. As soon as we get a new tramp we’ll be back out soon!

  4. tim says

    Im about to buy a H 16 complete with trailer and it looks very nice shape but it is a 1974. Should I have concerns

    1. getwet says

      Check the hulls for soft spots, that’s the biggest concern with the 1970’s era of Hobies. Make sure the tramp feels stable and has no tears. If the sails, mast, lines and trailer are all in good working condition you have found a good one.

  5. tim says

    I have never owned a Hobie before, this will be my first sail boat of any kind. But I couldn’t pass it up for the price

    1. getwet says

      You can find a Hobie in decent shape for a pretty good price. It’s the perfect boat to start out on. Good luck and let us know how it goes!

    2. Chris says

      There’s a learning curve on a Hobie cat not best boat to learn how to sail but there fast

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