The making of the Hobie Wild Cat

Dr Yann Roux of K-Epsilon on the development of the Hobie Wildcat F18
With the F18 World Championship taking place in Erquy, France this week, so it seemed a good opportunity to look at how Hobie's new Wildcat F18, launched last year, was developed: Left: K-Epsilon's Dr Yann Roux and right designer Martin Fischer At present the Italian, French, and Dutch national F18 titles are held by crews sailing the Hobie Wild Cat. At the Eurocat 2010 regatta held last in May in Carnac, seven Wild Cats finished in the top 10 and their “constructor’s title” is looking good too at the Worlds Mitch Booth, Olivier Backes and Micha Heemskerk in the top 10. Left: K-Epsilon's Dr Yann Roux and right designer Martin Fischer The development of the Hobie Wild Cat was a joint effort of Hobie Cat Europe, their sailing team, K-epsilon for the CFD RANSE simulations and Martin Fischer who was in charge of the design. After a development and prototyping period of about six months the series production was launched in early spring 2009. The design brief given by Hobie was very simple: Designing a boat that can win the F18 World Championship. Despite the existence and success of the Hobie Tiger, design work started from a blank sheet of paper and there was no constraint to use existing parts from the Hobie production line for the new boat. Several design meetings with top sailors like Jean Christophe Mourniac, Mitch Booth, Darren Bundock and Glen Ashby were held. They gave valuable input on many aspects, and this collaboration certainly helped improve the final version of the boat. To race in the F18 class, boats must fit into a simple box rule that basically specifies maximum length (5.52m) and beam (2.60m), maximum mast length (9.10m) and sail area (21.00 sqm upwind plus 21.00 sqm for the spinnaker) and a minimum weight of 180 kg, ready to sail