Jump to content

Which Boat?


Recommended Posts

I'm tearing my hair out, may i please have some constructive comments on the Hobie Getaway, Nacra 570, Alpha Omega F14 (why doesn't Darryl have a website?).

I've known Mal & Trish Gray for years as i come from near Noosa and have been in contact about the getaway, but i'm not convinced on the resale of Roto plastics, should the need arise.

The Nacra 570 looks a nice boat, but if I'm by myself, she may be a handful.

Then the Alpha, which i think is the most ever under-rated vessel i've ever seen, i've heard stories of when Darryl came toLake Tinaroo and blitzed everyone. It makes me proud to be Australian, Inventive people like the crow-eaters should give this guy a little more recognition, what a beautiful craft, and go like stuff off a shovel!!!! However, it would be like owning a ferrari, i would only be racing, no cruising to the islands for a weekender, so it's back to the Getaway......

If anyone owns a;

Hobie Getaway,

Nacra 570, (don't think they've been here that long???)

Or AO F14,

Could you please give me the pros nad cons of your experiences with any of these wonderful craft listed above.

Thank you kindly


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Couple of unbiased points.

Try sail as many cats as possible, before you purchase.

Don’t rush your purchase, if you get it wrong it may not be that easy to resale or at least it can take some time.

People usually tends to recommend what they sail themselves!

Do you want a racer or cruiser.

There are many similar threads on this forum, use the search function.

What are they sailing around where you live?, go and see your local sail club and talk to the sailors there.

Nothing better than sail in a fleet of same boat type.

My biased opinion

If you want an all-rounder consider Nacra 4.5. Easy to handle and right yourself, can take up two 4 people.

Storage areas in the hulls for cursing etc optional kite if you want. Yea I have one.

Good luck


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, you guys know your stuff!!!!

Thank you for the responses so far, Chris, Can you rig the 4.5 on your own? If i go for a dual purpose boat, then i may find myself trying to convince the ministry (War, Industry, Finance & Economics... abbreviated to Wife) to go everytime i want to go. Do you go cruising far in yours i.e overnighters?

Rob, i've sent the email, but no response as yet, maybe he's flat out. If i get the F14, then i'll be back into serious racing, which i'd love to do. Having said that, I've been in contact with the Cairns Yacht Club, which have a beach division up at Ellis beach, and they have 3 x f18 Nacras, 1 x 14 Nacra, 5 x hobie 16 and claim a Hobie tornado? 18.

Port Douglas have 4.5s for club boats, but it is a much longer way todrive for a race (excuse1) and i find "some" of the Port Douglas locals intolerable (probably as they find me).

If i was going to drive, i'd race Tinaroo dam, cool freshwater and nice similar country folk up there, we're going up on Sunday to have a look at a Nacra I17 which a local fella has just bought, which may be out of my range pricewise, but may be convinced to go that way if it looks good.

Macca, have you seen a 570? the closest one to me is located in Townsville, as far as i know. It's a 4 hour drive just to go and have a look at it. But i really like the look of the 570.

I suppose i have to decide if i want to seriously race or race and cruise.

Might have to change my user name according to my decision eek.gif


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Alpha Omega story:

He took his new Alpha Omega to Jervis bay, where it cartwheeled in strong winds. After struggling for ages, a motor boat came up and helped him right it. Job done, motor boat takes off. Sailor still in water, unable to drag himself back on board. Too weary to hang on, his hands slip and the boat sails off on its own. Hours later he's rescued and the boat recovered.

Determined that wont happen again, the top of the mast was cut off and sail shortened, to about Paper Tiger size. A neat folding ladder was added to the side of the boat. Great strong winds boat. However, sailing it now on an inland lake is a bit slow.

The beams are very close to the back of the boat, leaving space only for very short rudder handles, which makes steering difficult. He has put long handles on, and cross-bar in front of the traveller. Haven't seen what happens when he gybes yet...


Nacra story:

The 14 square was cheap, because they're not popular and it was in a remote area. It's very fast and great fun on trapeze; so much more comfortable than hiking out.

Apart from the non-standard rudder cross-bar breaking, it has been fairly reliable. Recent cracking along the bottom seam has let some water in.

The sail has a very full cut, and the mast is very stiff. This make shaping the sail difficult; it's near impossible to get any of the telltales flowing.

At Wallagoot last weekend, the Nacra 14 square had great close battles with a Hobie 17, Paper Tiger and Maricat Sloop.


Hobie story:

He sailed his Hobie 16 down the coast, pulling in to sleep on the tramp at night with a tarp over the boom. Food & sleeping gear stashes in the hulls.

Carefully timed a run through the surf to get into the shallows of the inlet. The rudders swing back easily, so getting over sandbars didn't take too long.

A great adventure with friends was taking 2 Hobies out onto the ocean, to broad-reach massive ocean swells in 20 knots, then picnic lunch at Gabo Island before sailing back home.



Hull weight and stiffness are critical in a racing boat, and you will want to race it. Regardless of boat type, a bargain light-weight racing boat with new-ish sail and carbon foils will rock your world.

In Maricats & others fibreglass boats are cheap & heavy, the good foam-core ones rarer and expensive (so I'm told).

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Lots of questions but here goes…

Yes I can rig the 4.5 myself, my smallish daughter can rig it on her own.

Handling, rigging, righting is much more about technique than weight and raw strength.

(Righting is an important skill to practise and learn, you should do that when help and / or safety boat is avaible, like on club racing days.)

Yes I have done overnighters camping on my 4.5 even solo. When I get enough of ”society” I take my 4.5 or sea kayak and go for spin, usually just one night. But I have done longer trips. If I go sailing or paddling will depend on where I go , weather forecast etc

I am in Townsville not far from Cairns…. You have both the Port Douglas sail club and CYC close that’s great. And you have “small fleets“ of F18 and 4.5 and others close by. I know members from both CYC and port Douglas , trust me they are all friendly. If you make contact I am sure they will help you out and even try to draft you to there class! Generally the F18 people are more focused on competing where a clubs like Port Douglas Sail club is relay like an extended family, a few adults learning a bunch of kids and teenagers to sail cats, a great cause. Don’t know anybody up at Tinaroo but I believe they have a regatta on in the first week of May. If you got a cat by then tow it up and join in, if not go for a drive and check out the different cats, if you ask I am sure someone will take you for sail…?

I have not seen a 570 in Townsville, but I don’t know everything… If there is one a 4 hours drive seems a small price to pay for a good look and/or test sail if you can make contact with the owner.

When you contemplating racer or cruiser also consider single handler or double handler or both.

Will you always have a crew to go sailing with if you pick a larger cat?

I also have a F18 but my problem is that I can’t always find a crew to go sailing with.

When I sail two up I usually go with my daughter or wife, if I mention the F18 neither looks happy, if I suggest the 4.5 I get smiley faces.

As a consequents the 4.5 get used and the F18 not. I think that my ”girls” find the F18 hard going and outside there comfort zone, that combined with my low F18 skills probably don’t induce confidence either, but that’s just my situation.

Also like to mention there is regattas on at Mission Beach in October, Airlie Beach in September and Townsville in July all good opportunities to check out cats in our region.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Tony, Macca and Chris,

You guys should all be salesmen for the boats, they are all top equipment no doubt. I promise to stop hassling from noe until i drive up to Tinaroo to see Devons' new I17 Nacra, and see what type of atmoshere they have there. I was going to go up to Port Douglas on the weekend and see what the score was there, I've just found out an old mate of mine, Rob West, used to race Nacras there. Might drop in and see if he's still having a sail. I haven't written off any boat yet, there is just soo much choice these days... wow.

Thank you all very much for the sound advice,


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, went to Tinaroo last Sunday, and Devon's I17 hadn't been delivered!!! Makes me think twice about going for a Nacra, He says it will be there next time, but he paid for it in December, even more reason to "shy away".

Going to try and get up to Port Douglas this weekend and see how they are up there, It will be hard to beat Tinaroo, everyone was so friendly, not clicky and they welcomed me with open arms. I ended up having a crew job on a lightweight sharpie, and we took line honours for the first race, 2nd race was a pursuit start and they fixed us right up with the handicap.

I can only hope the Port Douglas folk are just as nice as Chris says they are, when i lived at the marina, i had some very bad experiences. I'm going with an open mind, and to see if Rob West is still sailing there.

Does anyone else have an I17 Nacra here? I am seriously thinking about getting one, because one is already coming (soon i hope). They seem to be the best performance package for single handers, and great with a spinnaker. Should be easier than the races i sailed on the skiff moth, and faster than the fireball i had for 2 seasons.

Now considering

Hobie FX1 (still waiting on price)

Nacra I17


AO would be nice if they had more of them out there, but there's not so many around I've heard, I'd like to race nationally eventually, Wife has just found FX1 on ebay!!!!

See ya


Link to comment
Share on other sites


Thanks for letting us know how you are going always interesting too see how it pans out.

As Tonyj already pointed out if you are going down the full racer path you have to check out the F16

Viper by www.ahpc.com.au and the Blade from FCA. I also saw a brand new NACRA SQ16 at TSC last weekend, looked very nice.

Cheers Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

How good to have so many choices.

The 4.5 is an awesome boat. I had one with a kite and loved it.

The 570 looks amazing.

I have a Playcat and it is great as well. Rig it in 5 minutes and sail it all day with family and friends.

The Getaway is ok, but too heavy.

Have you looked at the Playcat?

Nacra are bringing them in now and want to start a class at some stage.

I have had 5 adults on it.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

G'day All,

Thanks to Tony and Chris first of all for the input, you've just made the decision heaps harder, the Blade and Viper look great boats, but the Nacra is a little more of a local boat. I'm hesitant with Nacra for the reasons above and would possibly only enter in a contract with strict stipulations on the delivery date, mainly because i don't have the patience to wait 3.5 months for a boat.

Not too say i wont be buying an f16, but is my weight of 85kgs enough for one of these? I've considered the "A" class, but until they get a spinnaker on them, they aren't my cup of tea, same as the playcat.

The 570 is a beautiful boat to look at, but racing it single handed is a dead end street which stops at the junction of club drive and state championship boulevarde. Consider the I17, there is one on it's way, they are presumably faster than an F16 (correct me if I'm wrong) so i'd assume that they are the next thing???

Danny has a beautiful boat for sale, but i have to drive down and pick it up. Which, when analysed, is not such a bad thing. 1. I get to pick his brain on the finer points of a boat which he is familiar with and 2. i get to have a holiday for the first time since god knows when...

Emmessee, is the Nacra 14 the same as a 4.5, i.e. the hull symmetics? and is there a fleet of n14 boats out there?

Have to delay the decision further.........

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Dont be fooled by the length of the boat, the f16s are shorter than the I17, but on paper they are faster with a yardstick of 71.5, which is miles ahead of any other 16 foot cat. The I17 however has a yardstick of 72.5 and A-class sits in at 71. Further more, with the latest f16s such as the blade and viper on the water, ive heard many reports about them sailing comfortably faster than their yardstick, so they are no slouches.

One of the great things about f16s is you can race with or without a crew. If have a crew, you race sloop+spin, if your crew cant make it, take the jib off and race 1 up cat+spin.

85kg is also good weight to handle an f16 one up, as they are quite light, with minimum weight at 104kg (which i believe the viper comes in at exactly, as it was also build to fit the 104 class in Europe).

Further more, the f16s are a quickly growing class thats following in the footsteps of its big brother the f18s, with more designs and builders jumping on board all the time. So if the national/international racing scene is what your after, formula class racing is the way to go in my opinion, as its quickly growing in Europe, USA, Australia, and even asia (one club in singapore has something like 20+ F16s).

I dont actually sail an f16 mind you (out of the price range of a uni student), however, i personally cant wait to get one of them in the near future.

Not to say any of the other boats arent great in their own respects as well, but i thought id share an opinion on the f16s.

Personally, being an engineering student, i love the strategy evolved in a formula based development class, as its not just about how you sail, but also about which boat you pick and how you choose to configure it. Where the boats arent all identical and you are afforded a lot more freedom in how you setup your boat, even in the design of the boat it self (in either choosing a manufacturers' design, or even designing and building your own, which is completely allowable).

Its a lot like formula 1 car racing i suppose, with lots of different manufacturers all competing against each other with their varying designs.

[This message has been edited by MCGriffith (edited 21 March 2009).]

[This message has been edited by MCGriffith (edited 21 March 2009).]

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've recently purchaced a Taipan 4.9, also able to sail as F16, and can be found at affordable prices, if you have patients.

Coming from another cat class to the Taipan was a real treat, in comparison the responsiveness of this boat is head and shoulders ahead.

Its Fast, Light weight, strong (Kevlar construction in the majority of these boats), but the real bounus i see anyway are the options.

Cat rigged or Sloop, (1 or 2 up), I generally sail Sloop but when my crew can't make it, it doesn't bother me, in fact i enjoy it.

Spinnaker under both cat and sloop, becomes an F16.

Its an existing class that sails large fleets at both state titles and National titles.


You should be able to find evidence at the web site.

One of the bonuses about raceing in a decent fleet is the guys are happy to share tips and tricks, and you can really tune your boat in comparison the same boat as yours. Apples with Apples.

Taipan also sails as F16, both sloop and cat rigged, which is great to seem them developing.

Although I see the Taipan as the better option cause it already has a strong class and can sail in the developing F16 class too.

When I was considering my next class i took all this and more into account.

I am wrapped with my decision, and am dreading the end of the season.

Buy A Taipan there GROUSE!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What ever you do, make sure you look at the Taipan 4.9 they are a no fuss,easy to handle,great one man or with crew boat.

If I knew what I know now I would have bipassed the purchase of five other Cataman brands. Mine is a early nineties model and it is still strong and up to speed.

If I was under 80kgs I might have gone for a 14footer but as I am 90kgs this will do me.

Cheers Rob

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks Rob, herman and Mcgriffiths,

I have considered the Taipan, and am still looking at the pictures of Danny's boat every night. They certainly seem to be the growth class over the last couple of years.

I am still trying to get to the lake tomorrow to see the Inter 17, They look great.

Does anyone know if the 16sq Nacra is within the F16 rulebook? I think they may be too long.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Create New...