RIP Hobie
April 1, 2014 11:09 AM   Subscribe

Hobie Alter, inventor of the hugely popular Hobie Cat line of catamarans, has died.

If you've ever flown the hull in a Hobie 16 or 18 or taken a Holder 14 out for a spin, you have Mr. Alter to thank.
posted by Aizkolari (23 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
No, but I do have a scar from my singlehanded trip in a Hobie One 14.

posted by the man of twists and turns at 11:18 AM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Our family cat when I was a small child in the '80s was named Hobie Cat. I thought we were so special to have a kind of boat named after our pet.

I am my father's daughter in many ways, but the idea of flying a hull (or god forbid, flipping one of those things) has always terrified me. But there's nothing quite like skimming mere inches off the surface of the lake.
posted by muddgirl at 11:22 AM on April 1, 2014

I have a cat named Hobie after him. I've lost count of how many 1960's-present day Hobie surfboards I've owned and collected.
posted by blaneyphoto at 11:24 AM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Let's not forget his Hobie 33.

posted by tylerkaraszewski at 11:29 AM on April 1, 2014

Also the Hobie Hawk RC model sailplane.

posted by smoothvirus at 11:33 AM on April 1, 2014


I learned how to sail in a Holder 14 and then learned and taught on Hobie 14's, 16's, and 18's while growing up in So Cal. Flying a hull is one of the most magical things I've ever experienced. I once turtled a Hobie 18 off of Catalina when I was a teenager and spent 30 minutes trying to right it before the sailing instructors at my summer camp came to rescue us. We were able to get it back up, but just barely.
posted by Aizkolari at 11:33 AM on April 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

I raced Hobie 16's and the Hobie 18 for a season.
They were glorious for what they are, design flaws and all. I hated the wave though.
posted by captaincrouton at 11:36 AM on April 1, 2014

I think it would be appropriate if we would all take a few minutes and listen to this
posted by Colonel Panic at 11:43 AM on April 1, 2014

I love the time I spent suspended on a wire, standing on the side of a Hobie 16 hull, trusting my friend Dave to not kill me. Sometimes parallel to the water, sometimes soaring high above it, it was all so very magical.

On days with less wind, the small, soft cooler that filled with beer, strapped to trampoline, was never full for long.

Ahhh, the memories and stories.
posted by cccorlew at 11:48 AM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

I got the worst sunburn of my life when I was about 15 while spending a week "camping" in an RV at Port Aransas with some of my parents' friends who had their Hobie 16 with them. Good times.
posted by tippiedog at 11:56 AM on April 1, 2014

I remember flying the hull of a Hobie in Florida, while on vacation. Not out on the wire though – I've only done that on Lasers.
posted by Kabanos at 11:58 AM on April 1, 2014

I am my father's daughter in many ways, but the idea of flying a hull (or god forbid, flipping one of those things) has always terrified me.

You can get a floater for the top of the mast to keep it from turtling. I found righting poles useless when soloing as I don't weigh enough, but I heard good things about water bags.
posted by captaincrouton at 12:02 PM on April 1, 2014

Did you know the first sailing through the Northwest Passage was done on a Hobie Cat in the 1980s?

Granted it took them 3 summers (leaving the boat and heading south at summer's end and returning the next summer), and they dragged it over ice in a number of places.

But it was done before GPS and satellite phones.

(Some CBC video.)
posted by ShooBoo at 12:10 PM on April 1, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sadly, another famous Hob(i)e(y) died this week too.
posted by kickingthecrap at 12:47 PM on April 1, 2014

posted by strixus at 2:11 PM on April 1, 2014

This post inspired me to find the photo of 14ish year old me "flying the hull" sans life vest. Because that's how teenagers rode in the 80's.
posted by vitabellosi at 4:21 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

Thank you Hobie Alter for many good times.
I will never forget when we flipped one in Poros late one afternoon just as the Athens ferry came around the corner heading straight at us out of the sun.

posted by adamvasco at 5:48 PM on April 1, 2014

Oh, wow. So many early childhood memories and stories associated with these little boats. Also yeah, relatives with a cat named Hobie.

posted by LobsterMitten at 7:00 PM on April 1, 2014 [1 favorite]

We had a knock-off catamaran, not a real Hobie. The hulls became compromised and the foam got soggy (to be fair, we abused the hell out of that boat, it was more swimming raft than sailboat), so my dad hacked it open and replaced the foam with plastic milk jugs. Needless to say, the milk jug-filled knock-off catamaran went down on her inaugural re-launch.

Some time later, I had the opportunity to sail on a real Hobie Cat, it was a sweet ride -- crisp, responsive, didn't sink.
posted by Bron at 7:17 PM on April 1, 2014


took a Hobie out once, didn't bonk my head, didn't barf. total happiness.
posted by drowsy at 8:27 PM on April 1, 2014

Grew up surfing on the beach where Hobie's grass shack was, in the middle of some very spendy houses. He was always cool about getting you the brah deal on one of his boards. I had a Hobie 16 that we beach-launched constantly, always beating the hell out of it. I snapped the mast off coming back in on a day when perhaps I was a bit too altered so be conning a cat. Free mast and stays from Hobie, all part of the service. Damn, this makes me misty-eyed, both for my youth and for Hobie.

posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:03 PM on April 1, 2014

the only time I was ever rescued at sea was off a Hobie 16

posted by bonefish at 1:49 AM on April 2, 2014

In my distant youth, many of the cool kids had Hobie cats at their cottages. There's at least a couple fleets of them around Toronto, with regular racing.

I went from windsurfing to a small cruising sailboat; I didn't have a Hobie phase. But I do take them out whenever I can - usually a Hobie Wave (yes, yawn but beats not sailing). If I ever win the lottery, I will have a cottage with a Hobie.

posted by Artful Codger at 11:14 AM on April 2, 2014

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