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Hobie Classes

The International Hobie 14

This was the first sports catamaran that was ever invented! Created in 1968, the Hobie 14 is unique and universal. It was a real revolution in water sports and continues to make the adrenaline run!

The Hobie 14 was the original catamaran designed by Hobie Alter. The general shape and design of the boat is very similar to the later built Hobie 16. They share many of the same parts. The 14 was originally designed to be sailed as a uni-rig with just a main sail. It is possible to convert a standard 14 into a Hobie 14 “Turbo”, by adding a jib and dolphin striker.

The Hobie 14 is known for its forward mast and very bent banana shaped hull. The forward mast and odd shaped hulls make the boat quite sensitive to weight placement fore and aft. If the helm sits too far forward, he or she can cause the leeward bow to dig in, resulting in a pitchpole. Hobie 14s are great for younger sailors who want a solo multihull that can be held down without much weight. Used boats can be found quite cheaply.

The Hobie 14 is an outstanding platform for an experienced Hobie sailor wishing to both single-hand and be able to right the boat by one’s self when the inevitable flying hull goes over too far.

ISAF StatusInternational Class
ConstructionFiberglass / Foam Sandwich
No. of Crew1 or 2
DesignerHobie Alter / Phil Edwards
National OriginsUSA
Year Designedlate 1960’s
Approx Number Built70,000
Number of TrapezeOne
Hull Length13′ 11″ / 4.25 m
Beam7′ 8″ / 2.34 m
Draft (rudder up)10″ / 0.25 m
Sail Area112.59 sq. ft. / 10.46 m2
Sail MaterialDacron
CenterboardsNone
Boat Weight242.5 lbs / 110 kg
Max Load353 lbs. / 160 kg
Boat Weight

The boats are built to tight standards today and all weigh within 10 lbs (usually lighter) than the 242.5 lbs. class minimum.

Crew Weight

The class minimum crew weight has been waved so it allows the boat to be sailed by youth, woman and everybody else. However a crew weight of around 152 lb make the boat very secure in case of capsizing. Nowadays you could find also some rigs to help you get the boat back-up.

Sailing Characteristics

The Hobie 14 sails well in all conditions but excells in breezy and wavy conditions. Originally designed to sail in the surf right off the beach, the 14 still is one of the best catamarans on the market for sailing off the beach. The boat powers up in about 12 knots of breeze where most sailors will begin trapezing upwind. Downwind in waves, it’s all about surfing and the 14 loves to surf waves. In breezes over 15 knots the 14 provides an exciting ride. Similar to the Laser, there aren’t many strings to pull but the boat continues to challenge even long time Hobie sailors.

Production Changes

While incremental changes have been introduced over production, a Hobie 14 will look very similar to a new one. Changes over the years have improved and standardized boat production around the world. New boats today are built with better hardware, hull weights are tightly controlled and a new boat needs only a few racing modifications. In recent years, the major changes have been the introduction of cross bars where the traveler tracks are integrated into the cross bar, hardware upgrades and carbon fiber EPO3 rudders.The sails went through an upgrade in late 1990’s and are now made from higher quality cloth. Since mast rake is a critical component of upwind performance, there have been many tweaks to all sorts of parts, from the mast step to the mainsheet boom bail, to the shroud length to increase mast rake.

Modifications for Racing

A 6:1 downhaul system, fiberglass or carbon fiber rudders are common racing modifications. A 6:1 low profile mainsheet system has been standard equipment for many years but if your boat has the older 5:1 system this is the first thing you need to replace. The Comptip mast has been standard equipment for over 25 years and is required for racing.

Special Needs

Like most Hobies, the 14 is very robust, however, there are some a few things that will extend the competitive life. Water left in the hulls is not good for longevity of the hulls. Keeping the boat clean and covered when not in use will not only keep your boat looking nice but will help keep everything working. Rudder systems need special attention to maintain the locking cams in good working order. Carbon fiber rudders need extra-special care. They must be kept out of sunlight when not in use and you should avoid all bottom contact.

What to Look Out For in a Used Boat

Hobie 14’s have been in production for over 40 years and it is still common for find used boats on the market from the early 1970’s or even 60’s. As a general rule, “you get what you pay for” when shopping for a used boat. As a starting point when looking at a used boat you want to ensure it is a ‘complete boat’ with all it’s parts. Replacing major components that are missing (i.e. sails or mast) can be costly. Delamination of the hulls is the most common issue seen in very old hulls. Delamination leads to a wavy or spongy softness to the fiberglass. This is a serious problem that can lead to catastrophic hull failure if not addressed. Small areas of delamination can be repaired but a hull that has delamination over it’s entire length is generally not repairable. All wires and standing rigging should be carefully inspected and replaced if more than a few years old. Fiberglass or carbon fiber rudders are a plus but can be obtained separately. Sail condition is a consideration. Typically the racing life of the sails is about five years but some replace their sails more frequently.