A design with out a prototype is just a dream, a prototype with out production is a curiosity, a product with out a market is expensive bit of futurism. Timing, production, distribution, finance and marketing are all vital. Ok so I was ahead of hobi, so what.
The evolution of the sailcraft has been underway for thousands of years but March could well become the significant point at which sailpower begins to merge with other energy forms to create a suite of harnessed energies when the history books are written 1000 years from now … and the electric announcement continues Hobie’s design and innovation ethic which has a sixty year tradition of creating brand new markets globally, something it has done half a dozen times with a remarkably good batting average .
http://www.zippyflounder.com/gtp/descriptive.mht for pictures
Vector convertible sail/electric power boat 1997
The Vector was another look at the small sailboat market with the concept that more utility would allow for an easier market penetration. As can be seen from the concept drawing the form was a trimaran that could be powered by peddle, electric or wind. In the prototype the outriggers each carried a small electric trolling motor and with re pitched propellers would cruise along at 12 mph. The peddle units outriggers were just for stability and with a kick up propeller being driven by a semi linear drive system. The peddle unit turned out to be quite complex and of limited market appeal so was scratched. The sail version used full size outer hulls with attached rudders and a 10 square meter wind surfer type sail. This proved to be a very nice combination as the boat was light weight and with only one on board performed quite well. Both versions used foot peddle steering and the sail controls lead to the front bulkhead. In the end the product was shelved as the market for small sailboats was flat.