In 1977, Bruce Constantine and Rick Hollister took these photographs using a mast-mounted camera on a Hobie 16.
These guys were fast friends from high school, and Rick was a wizard at machining, model making, and miniature domithinguses. Rick built a camera mount for the Hobie Cat mast complete with remote controls.
The Cat in the photo is my dad’s, hull number 7557. Rick had hull number 718, and I’m guessing they used my dad’s Cat because it had tricolor sails; Rick’s 718 was a snappy, all-white. (At the time, these tricolors were the MOST colorful you could get. So my dad named her “Spectrum.”)
Bruce passed away in 2011, and Rick passed away in 2012. And particularly poignant, Hobart Alter just passed away on March 29, 2014.
First in the world! These guys did this in 1977. Nearly 40 years ago. Bring it Internet; Who did this before ’77?
These Cats — these specific two Cats — were tuned. Noone, and I mean NOONE ever beat them on boat speed. Yes, these guys raced them for realsies. (Hat tip to Jim and “Budda”!) If memory serves, Rick was a better yachtsman, and used to beat my dad on average.
Tuned? We’re talking about: file-shaped rudder trailing edges, tuned battens (i.e. sanded specifically to control how and where they flexed to control the sail shape), altered rigging mast-attachment-height, extended tracks for jib/main sheets, adjustable mast rake. FAST. I was told they once pulled a water skier. From a standstill.
In later years, my dad and I used to go sailing for fun, and other Hobie 16s — Hobies with SIX-digit sail numbers would slide over to say hello. We regularly met Hobie sailors who’d think we had lost numbers from our sail. Anyway. These newbs would slide up on us as we’re farting around. My dad would snicker quietly, and then yell, “Go!” So they’re already up to speed, moving faster than us. We’d flatten out on the trampoline, tweak this, adjust that, and SPECTRUM would smoke. their. NEWBY. ASS*S!
Bonus round: My dad used to say he had a drink with Hobie Alter at a bar. (But now I’m just showing off.)
I need to start writing my memoirs. I think I just might…