01 June, 2015

Hobie 16

Hobie 16
In 1980 Chris Knight, MD of SSB was advertising for sale, his Hobie Cat for 13k. I wanted this catamaran very much; but could not afford to buy it at the time. This item stayed on my bucket list for over 30 years!


I was sailing a Yamaha Seahopper at the time. It was fast but it hasn't got a trapeze. So I looked for a dinghy which goes faster and has a trapeze like the Hobie and I found it.


BSP's Panaga yacht club, was buying a new fleet of 470's and selling its old boats by auction (advertised in the Salam). I entered a bid and bought all three for 2k. I cannibalised the parts and ended up with one complete 470 sailing dinghy. However Eugene was just too young to use the trapeze as shown in this file photo ( minimum body weight required was 60 kg).

470 dinghy

The 470 is a very powerful boat. In fact too much boat for a novice single hander because it was designed as a 2-men boat. It had three sails: jib, main and spinnaker. I was soon looking for another dinghy and I found it.


An expiate arrived from Oman on transfer. He packed his own Laser inside his 20 ft. container with all his furniture. At the Shell yacht club, Piasau, he found a whole fleet of brand new Lasers at his disposal. He advertised his old boat for sale and I was the only person interested in it. I offered him RM650 for it and I got it. He was most surprised when I arrived with my own boat trailer to pick up the boat the next day! Except for me, there were no other buyers out there looking for a sailing dinghy!

my 470
In my 15 years sailing in Miri, I have never met another sailor except those from Piasau Boat Club using company owned boats. I was a COE and not eligible to join this exclusive club of sailors. So, I decided to buy my own boat when I took up sailing as a hobby. I kept on buying until I bought my 10th sail boat yesterday. Yes you guessed right!

Trademe photo

It was a Hobie 16, big brother to the Hobie 14 and 12 which has just one sail, the main. This Hobie 16 is a sloop rigged, two-man catamaran (twin hulls). The Hobie concept is a massed produced cat for surfing, racing and just for fun sail boat (130,000 sold world wide). It carries an enormous sail area for its size, 22.3 sq metre (240 sq ft). Its performance is brilliant in a fresh breeze. Because of the large sail area, it sails almost like a skiff. The crew and helm both have a trapeze for hiking out if necessary. The off set design of the hulls made a centre board unnecessary. The twin rudders are operated by well designed cams allowing the boat to beach safely. On hitting the beach, the rudders are rigged to kick up automatically, thus avoiding damage.
on the way home

This Hobie 16 (sail No 82193) was advertised for sale on Trademe, (a NZ buy/sell web site). I monitored it daily for three weeks. There were no buyers because winter is approaching next month. Within 2 hours of viewing the boat in Raglan, I paid the owner and towed it home. This will be my winter project this year. I can sail it right now but the weather is slightly too cold in June for performing capsize drills. This was the very reason why I decided to buy a 19ft trailer yacht in 1996 (Kestrel). It doesn't capsize; neither should a Hobie 16 when single handed by an experienced helm. After 35 years' sailing different dinghies and yachts, I feel quite confident and capable of handling this, my first catamaran.
front lawn

There are lots of things to fix on this 1982 model. I laid out and examined the jib and main (sails). They are in reasonable condition. The main sheet is good but the jib sheet is pretty worn out. Lines are expensive ($3 to $5 per metre) I need to replace all the shock cords which are in poor condition. The traveler is broken and un-serviceable. First I will wash this boat with my hi-pressure pump and give it a thorough inspection on the front lawn where it is parked now. It will probably not be launched until next spring when the weather gets a bit warmer for dinghy sailing. Included with this boat is a road trailer and also a separate set of launching wheels for the beach. The mast weighs 18 kg and  8M long. The taller front support for the mast on the road trailer enables it to clear the towing vehicle by a slim margin.

winter project, 2015

The boat is 2.5M wide and overhangs the trailer wheels on both sides. On the way home, I found out that it was much easier to tow on the highway than my previous boat, a Noelex 22 which weighs 736 kg.
my previous boat

Down sizing certainly has its many advantages. It seems now possible that I will continue my sailing hobby for a few more years to come. A catamaran can not plane (overtake its own bow wave) but it can fly one hull under windy conditions; making it an extremely exciting boat to sail, comparable to a skiff. This is my very first catamaran. I am very confident that I will be able to handle it alone on the water if I choose to launch it when the wind does not exceed 10 knots. With stronger wind speed I will need to learn to hang out on the trapeze!
That would not be too difficult if the wind is steady and not too gusty. I have rigged up the mast with the boat on the front lawn and practised doing this.


  1. Well done David! Keep up with your beautiful hobby. I envy you. What happened to our dream of sailing into the sunset?It died when our dear Zam died too.

    1. Robert,
      Most sailors upgrade to a larger yacht with a fixed keel and mast. My retirement allowance does not allow me to do this, unless I sell my house. My wife hold [veto] power and refused to budge. So, no more yachts for me...


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