In the mid-1960s, Hobie Alter had a vision for a lightweight, inexepensive toy to play with when the wind ruined the waves for surfing. Using the techniques he pioneered in the surfboard industry, he conceived the Hobie 14 – the first true beach catamaran. It wasn’t too long before there were thousands of them, and the World Hobie Class Association was formed to help control the chaos.
Rules were drafted to maintain the one-design aspect of the boats, which makes competition a test of sailing skill and not the thickness of one’s wallet. “The Hobie Way of Life” summarizes how Hobie sailors and their families feel about a sailboat that gives them an irresistible sense of freedom, camaraderie, excitement and fun. Hobie Catting means instant friendships wherever Hobie sailors meet with other Hobie sailors. Participating in a fleet picnic, points regatta or overnight flotilla puts you with people who have the same fun-loving interests.
For some sailors, Hobie racing is about competition and the exhilaration of winning (or losing) fairly. For others, it’s the challenge, excitement, concentration and physical exertion. But for the vast majority of Hobie sailors, it’s about fun, camaraderie, familiar places, new places, old friends and new, and memories of fun times with people who share a love of the sport. As Doug Campbell, the retired president of Hobie Cat Company says, “It’s all about fierce, fair competition among friends.” The Hobie Class of North America, as a regional association of the International Hobie Class Association (IHCA) carries on the “Hobie Way of Life” tradition that Hobie Alter started over 50 years ago. We organize regattas (including women’s and youth events), publish the quarterly HOTLINE magazine, organize Guest Expert Programs, provide grants to deserving youth sailors and a host of other services. If you own a Hobie Cat, we encourage you to support the class association by becoming a member. Membership is as little as $15 per year and additional family members are only $10 each.
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