madforsailing test: Hobie Tiger

Hobie's Formula 18 speed machine
The Hobie Tiger represents something of a departure from the traditional market for Hobie Cat. First launched in 1996, interest in the Hobie Tiger got off to a bit of a slow start in the UK, but successes in the Formula 18 circuit, for which it was developed, have stimulated a lot more interest. Twelve Hobie Tigers featured in the top 20 in the 2000 Formula 18 Worlds, including the winner, Mitch Booth. The madforsailing test day was quite demanding in around 20 knots of breeze and bigger gusts (it always is when we’ve got a gnarly cat to review). But our (though not initially) fearless team included Tim Robinson and Ian Walker, both of whom were impressed with the ease with which this big high performance catamaran could be sailed. Our hot-shots identified a number of good features for the scoreboard. Fast and powerful, the Tiger was small and light enough for two people to handle, not only on the water, but ashore too. Reasonable freeboard ensured a fairly dry ride and the Tiger was more docile to handle than expected. While bearing away unleashed a wild animal onto a screaming reach - it was at least a wild animal with acceptable domestic habits. The construction was of a high standard and equipment was premium quality. The Tiger was clearly more durable than some of the more exotic racing machines. There were nice details like the textured neoprene strips along the gunwales that provided secure trapezing for both our heroic duo. The team highlighted a few dislikes. The Tiger was a bit difficult to get to bear away, having the boards fully up made it a lot easier. But the raised daggerboards have a back edge that Tim Robinson described as a salami slicer - there’s some risk