Prior to the Hobie Cat, invented by well-known surfboard maker Hobie Alter, sailing was for the elite. It was a sport reserved for members of yacht clubs who had the mega bucks it took to buy a big boat.
But Alter’s design — the Hobie Cat 14, a small catamaran sailboat that became known as “the people’s boat” — changed the world of sailing when it was unveiled 50 years ago.
“It was a very revolutionary idea, hugely successful,” said Paul Holmes, who wrote the book “Hobie: Master of Water, Wind and Waves.” “(Sailing) was a rich guy’s thing. The Hobie Cat changed everything.”