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  • I got my first taste of a cat about two weeks ago when I took the resort's Hobie Wave out into the breakers. For such a small boat, it sure handled the breakers well. This was the first cat I've sailed and now I've got the bug.

    I'm looking for an affordable, fast cat. to keep at my parent's lakehome. The bay they live on is shallow so anything with daggerboards is out of the question. I'd also like something that I could potentially race or at least keep me challenged (the Wave was fun but all together pretty simple).

    What do you guys think is the best boat to start with? I've been looking at some used H16s. What is a realistic price? It is hard to pay several thousand dollars for 20+ year old boats.

    Thanks in advance.
  • H16 is the standard boat to start on. The Prindle 16 is similar and there are many others that are a fine way to start but the H16 is soooooooo popular there are many of them, spare parts, people who know how to rig and repair them .... they are a great choice. Even old salts enjoy sailing them and they are great all around boats.

    Things to look for... soft spots on the hulls - very bad... torn sails (or VERY worn) - bad (will cost up wards of a grand to replace a main) and avoid boats with more than just a little surface rust (if you see its bad... it could be real bad where you cant see). Also make sure the trampoline is in decent shape as it can be around 3-400 to replace.

    for a decent/used Hobie you can spend anywhere from $500 and get lucky to $2000 for one in great shape .

    You probably want one with newer rudder systems (black plastic cams that pop up easier).

    I suggest you try and go for a test ride on any boat you may buy if you can. this will prove it has all the rigging, and the boat floats!!!! If that isn't possible i suggest you rig it in a yard... and if you can have a pro (or seasoned sailor) look it over with you.

    Good luck, keep us posted and upload pics when you get 1 :)
  • You need to decide on a budget that will work for you and then find the best boat in that price range. It could be a Hobie 16, Prindle 16, Nacra 5.0 or even a nice Hobie 14 Turbo. New aftermarket tramps for all the boats are around $220 and can be purchased at www.slosails.com I have seen thier products and the are of good quality materials and workmanship. If my budget was $2000 I would want to pay around $1300 to $1500 on the boat and use the rest to insure that the boat was truly ready to go on the water. I would not care what the seller told me about the rigging, I would still change it to all new rigging. I have been sailing cats since the mid 1970's and have learned the hard way about rigging. The expression amoung seasoned sailors is "THERE IS NO FRIGGIN WITH THE RIGGIN". It will fail at the worst time, when you have a child aboard, your mother-in-law. You get the picture. Good luck in your search for a boat, it is a great sport and a lot of fun, I know what I am talking about, I have been enjoying this activity for 34 plus years. The last time I went sailing was yesterday in 25 plus winds and I am 64.
  • Thanks guys. Two follow-up questions: I live in MN so I'll be exlusively lake sailing. Does that impact what model I should consider. Also, where is a great place to find used cats? Obviously I've been checking this site but most of the boats are a long, long way from where I live and have been sailed in salt water. I've been checking the local classifieds and craigslist but there isn't much to choose from this time of year. There is only one Hobie dealer in the state and they have a weak used boat selection. Thanks again and Merry Christmas, Happy New Year.
  • From my experience Craiglist is the best place to look for used boats. That's where I found mine. eBay is another choice, but not as good as Craiglist. Also your local Hobie Fleet might know of someone who is looking to sell their boat.

    Let us know know you buy!
  • besides mentioned above, find local repair shops and ask them if they know of anyone selling...

    I don't think lake sailing only makes much difference in selection...
  • If you are only sailing by yourself or are a light-weight, maybe the Hobie 17 would be a good option, but they can be expensive for what they are. Otherwise, get a Hobie 16, throw some new rigging on it, and enjoy. It is possible to make your own standing rigging, could save you big bucks.
    Biggest thing to look for on the Hobie 16 though are soft-spots=bad. Small, localized areas on the decks can be fixed, but if its throughout the boat, it's destined to become a yard-decoration. The prices can be all over the place in the midwest. I wouldn't spend more than $2000 on a more-or-less ready Hobie 16, but solid Hobies for $200 can be found in barns where the guy just wants to get rid of it. Just my $.02
  • becandc, I live in Minnesota as well, and in past where i find used boats in craigslist or contacting catamaran yacht clubs ( one in particular is lake waconia). Advice for craigslist is to look at surrounding areas like wisconsin, and you need to keep in mind that there will be more listings in the spring when people realize they dont want their boats anymore.
  • First boat? Exactly what you sailed at the resort - the Hobie Wave! You can find them used. Here's why: While the Hobie-16 is much more prelevent on the used market and most of us started on a 16, the Wave and Bravo have one HUGE advantage for beginners - rotomolded plastic hulls. Those things are tougher than nails and you won't be afraid to make mistakes when you hit something, bottom out or hit the beach. What is rotomolded plastic? The same stuff as a Little Tykes outdoor kiddie playset or jungle gym. The super-tough plastic that doesn't fade in the sun and the color goes all the way through if it gets scratched. You can kick it, bang it, slam it and it just gives slightly. A hard enough whack on fiberglass will crack it. The 16 has pretty tough hulls, but they're still fiberglass. Glass repair (whether doing it yourself or having to pay someone else) is a royal PITA! The plastic hulls gives a beginner considerably more piece of mind. And believe me - you will hit stuff as you learn to sail a cat.

    You can get a Wave with a trap kit and even a small headsail. I would look for a used one in the $1000-$1500 range. Sail it for 1-3 years and then once you're better and want something faster you can look at something different.
  • I actually know of a Nacra 5.0 in the Duluth area for around $1500, i can get you the contact information if you want.
  • I'd be interested in at least hearing more. PM me and we'll exchange contact info. Didn't you just buy this boat (http://www.thebeachcats.c…iewtopic-topic-1943.html)?
  • ya thats the one, i was going to buy it. They guy had it listed in the Twin Cities craigslist for 1200 and listed in the duluth for 1600. I called him and was set up to drive to the duluth area to get but then he decided to want to sell it for 1600 and that was a little too much. I ended up with another one i found on craigslist tho.
  • What did you end up buying?

    I'm torn on the Hobie vs. Nacra debate. A lot of people speak highly of the nacras but I'm wondering if it will be too difficult for me to find repalcement parts, races or even solo. The Hobies seem abundant and pretty forgiving.
  • Regarding replacement parts...I've been sailing a Prindle 16 for years in So Cal. I have never had a problem getting parts. Most of the parts that need replacing are generic (lines, shackles, blocks etc.) or are made to order (rigging, tramps etc.) Don't get all hung up on replacement parts it's really not a big deal especially with the internet now. Buy yourself a boat that excites you even when it's on the trailer. In my opinion (very biased) I would stay away from the Hobie 16. My boat blows them away and a Nacra 5.0 would be even better. No matter what you buy, there is going to be a learning curve, so get what excites you and go from there. My buddy Reed bought a Nacra 5.8 for his first boat and he has done great with it. This is a fun and exciting sport so make sure you get a boat that you will be happy with for a long time. If you take care of them they last for ever.
  • Becandc : don't buy the H-16 . The P-16 & the Nacra are better designed cats . The H-16 is a great boat if you have no other choices ,but you have other choices .When the P-16 was designed they eliminated all the design problems of its predessesor the H-16. The lee hull on the H-16, because it'shape & design buries & causes capsizing alot . The P-16 has much larger hulls & can be sailed harder & faster before the lee hull buries. The same goes for the Nacra. I owned & sailed H-16 & P-16 for many years . you will be much happier with the performance of the P-16 or Nacra .(both cats are made by Performance Catamaran in California so parts will be no problem) I also agree with the info some of the others gave you ...go to a lake & get on a few cats ,find cat fleets near your location talk to the owners. Good luck ! Cat sailing will enrich your life . Bill
  • I completely agree with the last two posts. I have been sailing beach cats since 1976, Hobies, G cats, Prindles, Nacras and Super Cats. In my opinion the Nacra is the Timex of beach cats. It takes a lickin and keeps on tickin.
  • The market will drive you selection as much as anything. All the cats I looked at were 2 to 6 hours away. Be patient, and buy the best one you can fetch for your budget.
    I walked away from soft spots, my P18 has totally solid hulls.
    I agree that getting parts for an out of production boat is a very minor concern, like having to clip your toenails from time to time.
  • kgatesmanThe market will drive you selection as much as anything.

    That's a very astute and true comment. When it comes to buying your first beacchat, the main thing is to buy one. If you have local beachcat groups you can sail with/against then you will quickly find which are the popular boats in your area.

    If not, buy whatever is available, (that fits your number and weight of crew) they are all good boats (with the possible exception of the Aqua Cat).

    Don't let advice about which brand is better sway you unless you have a fleet of one brand or the other around to join, but if that's the case, you WILL be better off buying the popular local boat because you will get better and more enthusiastic help getting started.

    Damon Linkous
    1992 Hobie 18
    Memphis, TN

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