The following is my Hobie 16 Blue Book to help those looking to buy a used one to increase their chances of getting a good solid boat (also works well for purchasing a Hobie 14). This article as comprehensive as possible but it's impossible for me to really give you every little detail that has taken me years to gain so I do suggest you have a prospective boat survayed by someone who is qualified to do so. Just like with a used car, a sailboat should be looked at by a "mechanic" who knows the product… such as an experience Hobie sailor who is also preferably a Hobie dealer (not all dealers know the boats as they should especially if they are more into selling Hobie kayaks). As indicated his is a guide for purchasing a Hobie 16 but if you want a guide on how to buy a keelboat or other sailboats visit my other article related to this at http://bit.ly/1kxHfCL
Things to consider… You need to set a budget. What is the maximum amount you want to spend for a Hobie 16 complete with gear? If you answered less than $1000, then the best boat is going to be between the years 1970 – 1988, as boats beyond 1988 usually cost more than a $1000. Another thing to consider is what type of sailing you are going to do such as recreational or family sailing, or racing. The Hobie 16 is easy to sail but difficult to sail well, what this means is you will not be bored quickly with the Hobie 16 and as you become a better sailor the Hobie 16 will grow with you. Many sailors get bored with sailing at times but due to the Hobie 16’s unique hull design, large sail area, and speed, the Hobie 16 remains the most popular catamaran in the world. It should be noted that all catamarans will “pitchpole” or flip over forwards and the Hobie has gained a reputation for doing so by those who do not know how to sail it or by those who have never sailed one. Once again any cat will pitchpole but like with any sailboat learning to sail correctly makes all the difference in the world when it comes to sailing safely and enjoyably, so get sailing lessens by someone who knows how to sail a Hobie 16 and is an experienced sailing instructor. For racing, the Hobie 16 has strong racing fleets all over the world and good factory support (the Hobie 16 is built on five continents – North America: Hobie USA; Europe: Hobie Europe; South American in the country of Brazil; Africa in the country of South Africa; and Australia: Hobie Australia. If you are buying used for racing purchase a 1984 or newer as the weights were lighter in 84, and then weights were guaranteed at 320 lbs in 1996. You might actually get a boat lighter than 320 lbs between the years 1984-86. 150,000 Hobie 16’s have been manufactured thus far and counting.
The Hobie 16 (or Hobie Cat 16) set the standard for production "beach cats". Designed back in 1970 by Hobie, Sr., the Hobie 16 features one of the largest racing fleets in the world. The Hobie 16 was also accepted into the Sailing Hall of Fame for its impact on popularizing beach catamarans and still being the number one beach catamaran sailed throughout the world. Boats can be purchased for next to nothing and the fun you will have is worth ten times the Price. If you are simply looking for a durable and inexpensive recreational or racing boat, buy a Hobie 16. Also, the Hobie 16 is the only catamaran racing class for sailors with disabilities, called the Hobie 16 Trapseat. Mike Strahles who is a sailor with a disability designed the Trapseats. Trapseats are a hammock like wing seat that bolts onto each side of the Hobie 16 for sailors with disabilities but works equally well for sailors without disabilities, and can turn a Hobie 16 into a fun sport cruiser or the ultimate in disabled sailing!
Produced started on the Hobie 14 in 1969 and then in 1970 the Hobie 16 started production in very large production numbers, and is still in production today. Class racing is excellent and as a matter of fact the Hobie 16 is the worlds largest multihull class. Boat weights were reduced in 1983 by changing the construction materials, and in 1984 the weights dropped below $320 lbs, so if you want a light boat buy between the years 1984-86. In 1996 boat weights were guaranteed at 320 lbs and new corner castings were added along with integrated traveler tracks in the cross beams (not the older riveted on tracks). Available in a variety of hull colors. Sails also are available in a variety of colors. Mylar sails are now class legal but not currently being produced by the Hobie Companies. Some sailors are adding square top/flat top mainsails to their boats but are not class legal. A comp-tip is required for persons wanting to race (in North America) even though most club will let you race without them but not at the national and world level. Trampolines are typically made of mess material and or to a lesser extent vinyl.
Items to check on a prospective Hobie 16:
* Right and left rear corner castings at trampoline supports sometimes develop cracks due to abuse or lack of maintenance, particularly in early models. 1996 and early models have new stiffer/thicker corner castings so cracking is less of an issue.
* Check to see that the mast is straight by sighting up it when the rig is up. Look up the sail track. A slight bend is not an major issue as long as there is no cracking, etc. but a lot of bend (6 inches plus) results in reduced sailing performance and possible mast failure.
* Rudder cams should be in good working condition. You can test this by locking the rudder in the down position and tapping at the leading edge of the rudder with your foot. The rudder should not release until you give it a solid kick. The rudder should be easily brought in to the up position via lifting up on the tiller boat (not the tiller cross bar or tiller extension). However if it’s not easy to pulling up and release it might simply mean the rudder cam system is adjusted to tight.
* The spring that holds the rudder cam in place when locked down should be in good condition. If after adjusting this system you find the rudder release to easily you might need to replace this spring.
* Push with all your strength on the deck of the hull just in front of the front crossbar or front pillions (actually check all of the deck area). If there is flex in the deck (a soft spot), then there could be a potential for the hull to crank or even brake while you are sailing as this area is critical to the boats structure! A Hobie 16 hull should feel firm in this area. This soft spot can be fixed but it will take time, money, and skill to do so. It is probably better to just walk away from a boat with a soft spot as there are many used Hobie 16’s on the market so it will be easy to find a 16 without a soft spot. The soft spot issue is not a regular problem with Hobie 16’s but still this area as well as the structural integrity of the whole boat should always be check when buying a used Hobie 16 or any sailboat for the matter. One added note Hobie 16’s with colored hulls from the year of 1970-88 seem to have more issues with soft spots as compared to white hulls, particularly in the 1970’s boats because fiberglass was quite a new process and their were issues with the colored resin being more susceptible to UV rays, etc.
* Look underneath the hulls to see if there is a lot of beach wear. If you can see the hull resin color (typically a brown color) beneath the gelcoat/paint, that is okay. If you can see fiberglass matting (cloth like material) coming through the brown hull resin, the boat will need a bottom job soon. Depending on the extent of the hull bottom repairs its can coast little or a lot. If you just see resin it’s a good idea to re-gel coat it or simply use some marine paint to cover the resin.
* Check at the back of the boat where the rudders connect to the hull. The metal fastener housings that the rudder castings hook to are called gudgeons. If there is cracking around the gudgeons, the boat has probably had some problems when beaching. This can be a severe problem so look carefully at the back/stern of each hull.
* Look for worn wires on the mast. Look at the shrouds (side wires) forestay (front wire) and the trapeze wires for broken strands. Also check the bridle wires (very front, attach to bows) for broken strands. Ask the owner when he replaced the wires last. Most manuals suggest a five year maximum life for wires even if they have not been used. Most Hobie’s you will come across have never had their wires replace and contrary to popular belief they do not last for ever.
* Look for broken strands in the halyards (lines that pull up the sails).
* Look at the sails for broken battens (solid pieces of fiberglass) in the sail pockets.
* Look for tears in the sails. Old says with tears can be fixed via sail repair tape but any sail older than 10 years is not advised to have patches sown on as stitching the sail can weaken the material resulting in more tearing. If there are tears or missing fabric around the bolt rope (front of/luff of sail that slides up the mast track, this can be a near impossible to fix due to its constant sliding up and down the mast track each time you go sailing.
* Check the stiffness of the sail material. The newer the material, the stiffer the sail. Rub and crumple the sail material between your hands, if the sail feels still and crackles when you do so the sail is pretty new or unused, if its soft and makes no sound its very old. Old sails can work fine but who knows when it will tear and if you are sailing against a 16 with newer sails you will notice right off they will be faster unless the sailor is inexperience that does not know how to optimize their sails power.
* Trampoline condition. Tramp should have no tears or holes. If a tramp is old and the hiking straps are broke or do not exist you can simply take the tramp in to a vinyl business and put some new ones on. However having someone sow new straps on can potentially weaken the material and make it tear. Hobie trampolines are heat welded (no stitching) other than the hiking straps are sowed on. There are after-market-tramps available but are not class legal. Some after-market-trampolines even have life time warrantees on the stitching… unfortunately the material they are made of do not hold up help well as compared to a Hobie manufactured trampolines.
* Trapseat condition (if the boat came with them). Trapseats hook onto each side of the boat and are
hammock like wing seats. Check Trapseat seat material for tears, wholes, and loose stitching. Also look for fatigue in the metal structure or cracks at the weld points. There are three types of Trapseat that were produced the oldest Trapseats produced (1983-1995) had two support bars (per seat) that rested on the hull tops on the outer edge and the two newer designs eliminated this setup by connecting the support bars to the Hobie 16 trampoline frame pylons. The two newer designs have a much more clean and elegant look to it. There are no significant differences between the two newer designs other than the latest design has less sharp edges and a cushion built into the hammock.
* Wing Seats can be used on a Hobie 16. Wing Seats attached to the side rails and then go upward and have the appearance of bench seats. Many Hobie 16 sailors like them for recreational sailing, but they do get in the way of hiking out on the trapeze system. They are not class legal and remember if you purchase a new Hobie 16 putting Wing Seats on it voids the warrantee. Hobie Co. feels the Wing Seats put to much stress on the boat in the wrong places that could result in hull or tramp frame failure.
* Look for areas of discoloration in the hulls. This may indicate a repair of some type damage or structural problem.
* Ask if the boat leaks. If so, how much in two hours. A few cups of water are okay, but half a gallon or more is unacceptable. You can do a leak test on shore by have a system blow air into the hull (vacuum with hose and air suction reversed) and then get the hull real wet with soapy water and look for bubbling. It’s ok if you find air coming out of the top of the pylon as each hull pylon has air holes. When you are going real fast with lots of spray this is where some water will get into the hull and that is ok… thus why a cup or water or two is ok to find in the hull. Leaking around the pylons is common and via some silicon one can easily stop the leaking. Leaking around the gudgeons (where rudder assembly attaches to brackets that attach to the stern/rear of the hulls) can also be an easy fix via removing them and applying silicon. However if there is cracking around the gudgeons that allow water in the hulls then one has some structural issues that need to be fix sooner than later. Any other leaking such as where hull sides and deck edges meet or anywhere else on the hull can be challenging to fix.
* Look all around the hulls for gelcoat (paint) cracks. Sometimes this is okay, but if the area around the cracks is soft, walk away and look for another boat! Press on the decks with the palm of your hand with all of your weight. Once again, soft spots can most of the time be fixed but it takes time, money, and work.
* Ask the owner of the boat to rig the boat with you the first time to make sure that all of the parts are there. If the owner does not want to put up the mast and rig it (most will not do it) then you need to know what you are looking at to make sure all the parts are there. If you do put up the mast make sure that you look overhead before you stand the mast to make sure that there are no electrical or telephone wires you may hit. Once you have rigged the boat, actually get on the boat and pretend that you are tacking. Move the sails, the rudders, and anything else you would normally operate when sailing the boat.
* Ask the owner why he is selling the boat. How long has it been on the market? Are you the original owner? When was the last time you were sailing on this boat. Just good questions to ask to get an idea related to the history of the boat.
* Ask the owner what model year the boat is. Then go to the back of the boat on the stern of the hull and look for the VIN/hull number. There will be a hull number that will end some letter and numbers, or just numbers. If it looks like this "CCM77L" it would indicate that the boat is a 1977 model. The last two digits are the year of the boat. Make sure that the title that the owner gives to you has a VIN # (hull #) that matches the number on the boat. Make sure that the person you are speaking to owns the boat. They must own it outright with no "legal owner" listed. If there is a legal owner listed, you must make sure that the lien on the boat has been satisfied. Simply call the lien holder. Make sure that the person selling the boat is the singular owner and that there are not two names listed on the title. If there are two names, then the other person must also sign off and date their interest in the boat. To be really sure that this boat is as it appears, contact your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles / Transportation / Licensing, what ever it is called in your state) and County Assessors office. Have the Hull numbers for the boat and the VIN # for the trailer ready along with the owners full name and address. However many Hobie’s have never been registered with the state so it may be likely the state has no info on the boat. And I have found most owners have lost the title on their boat as well. Most important you must have a bill of sale with the vin number of the boat and trailer if it has one on the bill of sale, with date of sale. You can request a new title or more accurately MSO (Manufacturer Statement of Origin… turns into a title once the boat is titled with the state) from you nearest Hobie dealer… Hobie offers the MSO to dealers via email so it can be a fairly quick process to get. Remember it is not the dealers responsibility to supply you with a MSO on a used boat, that responsibility lye’s with the owner. Remember as soon as you talk with the state you can potentially open up a big can of worms that can cause you and the owner a lot of headaches… so tread lightly.
* In some states... Ask the owner if he has paid his county tax on the boat for the current year. Call DMV and make sure there are no outstanding parking tickets or other citations on the trailer. If the boat and trailer are out of date on registration, it could be very expensive to get the boat and trailer back to current. The certificate of non-operation slips are much more limiting than they used to be so call DMV to confirm you will not halve to pay the additional registration fees and back penalties due. Remember as soon as you talk with the state you can potentially open up a big can of worms that can cause you and the owner a lot of headaches… so tread lightly. Not to scare you but many states can be pretty easy to work with.
* If the owner no longer has or has misplaced the certificate of title(s), make sure you have them provide you with a "duplicate certificate of title" along with the funding per lost title to cover DMV fees and processing fees. Do not give payment in full for the boat until the title has been cleared with DMV, etc! The following was already stated previously but feel I should state this twice… Make sure that the person selling the boat is the singular owner and that there are not two names listed on the title. If there are two names, then the other person must also sign off and date their interest in the boat. To be really sure that this boat is as it appears, contact your local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles / Transportation / Licensing, what ever it is called in your state) and County Assessors office. Have the Hull numbers for the boat and the VIN # for the trailer ready along with the owners full name and address. However many Hobie’s have never been registered with the state so it may be likely the state has no info on the boat. And I have found most owners have lost the title on their boat as well. Most important you must have a bill of sale with the vin number of the boat and trailer if it has one on the bill of sale, with date of sale. You can request a new title or more accurately MSO (Manufacturer Statement of Origin… turns into a title once the boat is titled with the state) from you nearest Hobie dealer… Hobie offers the MSO to dealers via email so it can be a fairly quick process to get. Remember it is not the dealers responsibility to supply you with a MSO for a used boat, that responsibility lye’s with the owner. Remember as soon as you talk with the state you can potentially open up a big can of worms that can cause you and the owner a lot of headaches… so tread lightly.
* What additional accessories come with the boat? Beach roller, lifejackets, harnesses, wetsuits or sailing gear, spare wires, pins, shackles? Extras are nice, but add no real value to what you should pay for a boat except for a cat box and beach roller/dolly. Does the trailer have a spare tire?
* You must also get from the owner a "BILL OF SALE" or similar documents, which is a standard document available at the DMV, etc. A home made version does not do the trick. When you arrive at the DMV with the bill of sale you will be assessed State Sales Tax based upon the amount paid for the boat and trailer. You must get separate bills of sale for the boat and trailer showing correct hull and trailer numbers. It is payable at the time of registration. Some states do not require you to register your boat… check with your state.
* There are other things to check over and there is no way we can cover them all in this article. If you use this as a fundamental guide and some common sense, you can make a good purchase! Good luck and always wear your PFD/lifejacket, stay away from power lines and lighting, know your limits, and if you lack experience on this boat or simply lack sailing experience then take sailing lessons, you’ll be glad you did! Nothing in this articles guarantees your purchase will be right for you and we take no responsibility or liability for your purchase. This article is simply a helpful guide.
Hobie 16 approximate market values: UPDATED: Jan. 1, 2016
1970-1976- All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: Free to $300
1977-1979- All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: $300-500
1980-1983- All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: $500-800
1984-1988- All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: $700-900
1989-1993- All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: $750-999
1994-1999- All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: $800-1300
2000-2006- All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: $1200-$1999
2007-2011- All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: Variable above $1800 but not to exceed $4000.00
2012+ All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: Variable above $2000 but not to exceed $5000.00
Current years to one year old- All colors, complete boat with trailer and all related gear: Variable above $4,000 but not to exceed $6000
*Note that these prices do not include a spinnaker as “related gear.” You should not expect a spinnaker and its gear to be included in the above prices. Nor expect wing seats or Trapseat to be included. Spinnakers and seats are extra and will add extra cost to the boat but if the seller does not add cost to the boat then good for you.
* take off $200 for boats in less than good condition, then subtract out at retail price the cost of replacing broken or missing gear
The Trailer. Trailers, like boats come in all shapes and sizes. There are very expensive trailers and then there are very inexpensive "bolt together" trailers that will do the job underneath an 16 to 18' cat or smaller. Carnai, Trailex, Shoreline, Cathauler, THE, Peak, EZ loader, Zieman, Pacific make up some of the manufacturers that have produced trailers for the Hobie 16. Carnai and Trailex are currently trailer manufactures that most Hobie dealers sell. There are painted and galvanized models by each of the manufacturers. The very best are galvanized trailers with heavy duty frames and will generally cost you $1500-2400 with hull rollers and guides. The Carnai trailer is currently thought of as one of the best galvanized trailers for the price. It will easily fit any of the 21' and under Hobie Cats and other cats on the market today (must add hull cradles for round bottom hulls). Trailex is the most popular aluminum trailer but many Hobie sailors indicate the aluminum trailer does not last as long as the galvanized/steel trailers. Some people will tell you not to use rollers as hull supports, as doing so will result in hull damage! This is true for round bottom hulls but the Hobie 16 has very strong and pointed hull bottoms and thus no need for hull cradles.
The trailer wheels should be at least 12" diameter if you plan to travel any distances at all. Galvanized is generally better than painted if you live within 10 miles of the coast. (Your trailer will rust if it is not galvanized) A galvanized trailer will look as though it has a poor gray paint job with clouds texture in the paint like finish. The trailer must be galvanized in full at the time of its production. No aftermarket galvanizing systems are really effective. If a trailer has become badly rusted you can have it sand blasted to remove the rust but remember, you can only remove just so much rust before there is no more trailer left!
The bearings on the trailer should be in good shape. Ask the owner when he last packed the bearing on the trailer. If the bearings have a zirt fitting you can easily re-inject the bearings with new grease. "Buddy Bearings" are the most common brand of bearing sealer cup and we recommend you look for that brand name.
Check the ball coupler mechanism to ensure that the fitting is in good condition and adequately locks on to your hitch ball. Most old hitch balls are 1 7/8 " balls although some are 2". Newer trailers are now mostly 2” as is the case for Carnai and Trailex. Make sure the electrical hook up on the trailer matches your system on your vehicle, if it does not then of course you will have to have it corrected on your vehicle. A four prong flat electrical is the most common although four or five hole round hook ups exist on older trailers. If a trailer is old have the electrical wires and lights changed on the trailer to the new flat four prong plug and newer lights.
Make sure that the VIN # stamped on the trailer matches the certificate of title! The number can be found on the left side of the tongue or stamped on the tongue itself. The trailer must have an ID # on it if you ever hope to recover it in the event that it is stolen. In some states the boat will not have to be titled and registered in some states but in all states the trailer must be titled and registered. Registration is typically not transferable to a new owner of the boat and so when you register the trailer you will get a new license plate. The seller must cancel his registration; the new owner can not do this.
Insurance... While insurance on the boat and trailer are not required in most State’s, it is highly suggest you get some through your personal agent. Most insurance companies offer very good plans that are very inexpensive! BoatU.S. Marine Insurance Co. (www.boatus.com) is considered by most to be the best boat insurance due to its extensive coverage at a great price. Have the item insured before you take it home! Homeowners insurance will generally cover you up to $1000 but you should take out a separate policy for $1000 more than you paid for your boat.
Once again this list is not completely comprehensive and we suggest you have a prospective boat and trailer surveyed by someone who is qualified to do so. Just like a used car, a catamaran should be looked at by a "mechanic" who knows the product… such as an experience Hobie dealer. Some Hobie dealers may be new to the sport of sailing and the Hobie bran of boats. Check with you local or nearest Hobie fleet for your closest more experienced Hobie dealer.
Nothing in this articles guarantees your purchase will be right for you and we take no responsibility or liability for your purchase. This article is simply a helpful guide.
Visit my other article/guide on how to purchase a used keelboat or other sailboats at this link http://bit.ly/1kxHfCL
Author: Miles G. Moore