Hobie 21 Sport Cruiser VS Hobie Getaway.

The H21 Sport Cruiser was released by Hobie Cat Company in 1992. It was perhaps the first beach catamaran that was designed with the family in mind. I can only assume that the Hobie 21 didn't sell very well as my H21 is a 1999 with sail number 266, meaning they sold fewer then 50 of these boats a year. I'm not sure when the last boat was made, but it must have been in the early 2000's. Comparing this to the Hobie 16 with over 135000 built, this number is dismal
ModelLength Over AllBeamDraftWeightMast
Hobie 21SC21'8'6"11" to 3'1"[2]600 pounds29'

When I say it was a boat built with "family in mind" I mean that it is comfortable and safe. It's the complete opposite of the Hobie 16. If you want to sail with your wife and kids you really have two options the Hobie Getaway or the H21SC. I wouldn't really consider taking my family out in anything but light wind on a H16 or NACRA 5.8. Consider these features:

A furling main sail makes raising and lowing the sail between trips simple. Taking down a sail on a windy afternoon can be quite a challenge if you also have to keep you eye on your three year old. The furling main sail can also be reefed for sailing in heavy wind. 

The boom is set several feet off of the trampoline. The boom is high enough to keep it clear of little heads. The high boom makes for comfortable sailing the rest of the family. The Hobie Getaway was a boomless rig, which I really liked, but the height of the boom on the H21 feels safe and sacrifices less performance. Combining that with the furling boom makes it a nice option. 

With kids comes stuff, and the H21 has storage everywhere. The cat cabin and huge storage in the hulls never goes un-used. This is one place the H21 out shines the Hobie Getaway. The Getaway has a few small bins in the hulls but frankly they are leaky and too small.

I'm baffled as to why more beach cats don't have front trampolines and wings. If you ask me these are must have features.  The Amount of seating space on the Hobie 21 is beyond compare. The Cat Cabin makes a great place to sit and lean on. I have a family of 7 and the size of the boat was the real reason I swapped the Hobie Getaway for the H21SC.  As my kids turned to teenagers, the Getaway was too small for our whole family to go sailing together. If you want to go sailing with friends, the 21 dosn't get bogged down with a full crew. 

The H21 has retractable dagger boards, which makes it point much higher then the Hobie Getaway. As far as general performance goes the H21 is much faster then the Getaway and moderately faster then a H16.  With a port-smith handicap of 74 compared to the H16 at 76 and Getaway at 83. My Getaway had a terminal velocity of 17mph while I made 21mph on my second trip out on the H21SC.

All those features come at a cost, literally. I found my 1999 H21SC after a year long search. The boat was listed at $8,000, which seems to be the running rate. Compare that to the Getaway. For 8K you can find a Getaway that is practically new. 

Rigging the Getaway can be done in 20 min once you get your crew trained up. So far we haven't rigged or de-rigged the H21 in less then an hour. This is one of two big downsides to the H21. The other is the weight. At 600 pounds the H21 really isn't a beach cat. It is best launched from a boat ramp and equipped with an outboard for navigating the launch and docks. It takes four or five strong adults to launch with beach wheels. Stepping the mast requires some strong arms or the use of a Gin Pole, which is what I use. The Gin Pole adds 20 min to the rigging of the boat, yuck.

What I really like about the H21 is that is sails well in all wind. On the forth of July our club held a race in some 25mph+ winds.  Two boats went over that day a NACRA 5.8 with an experience sailor and no surprise a H16. My boys and I rescued both boats on the 21SC. Without reefing the main, I never felt close to pitch-poling or loosing control. The Getaway also handles wind really well also. 

If you your new to sailing or sailing with a family I would strongly recommend the Getaway. It is much simpler to rig and unless you have a  huge family the H21 may be too much boat. However if you have a few years of sailing under your belt and want a boat that can handle heavy wind and take friends along the H21 is a sweet option.

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Comments

  1. ~~ The Hobie 20 & 21 has crossed my mind, but with my age I should cool it down some. Right now I have a Hobie 14T, H 17 with a super jib and a H 18 Mag. ~~

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  2. I would agree with you on the H17, but the H14 will pitch poll pretty easy.

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    Replies
    1. ~~ It will and can, but I do keep ''the pointy end up'' ... Still fun little cat. That was my first cat with just the main sail. I learned a lot and it taught me a lot... 'Respect'

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  3. Anyone have a 21 Sport Cruiser for sale??! Looking to buy one for this summer!

    Thanks Greg.

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    Replies
    1. Every now and then they show up on craigslist, facebook market place or thebeatchcats.com

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  4. Hi Kevin, I am considering getting a H21 SC - looks great, but is it really that stable? If it capsizes, must be really hard to right. I had an H16 for a while, capsized once in 25+ MPH wind and needed help to right it (totally unprepared). I could never sail it to its true potential after that - for fear of another capsize. I would normally store it mast up and only launch from ramps. Mostly extended daysailing on lake Erie or the Chesapeake, most often singlehanded. The stability, the motor mount, the storage, the wings look very appealing to me. Any advice would be appreciated!

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  5. Sorry for the delay. The H21SC is very stable. The H16 and H21 are completely different boats. I have no idea how difficult it would be to right in the event of going over. I have "capsized" every boat I have beach cat I have owned at least once for practice, except the H21. One of these days in calm warm water I will give it a try. I have ad the 21 out in 30+ winds and it was pretty solid. I would advice reefing the main in anything over 20, and with a furling reefable main it is very easy to do. On the down side the H21 is not really a beach cat, it likes to be lanched from the boat ramp and cannot be easily dragged out of the water with out 4 adults.

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