Hobie Alter

California surf shop owner turned boat designer

In the late 1960s surf-shop owner Hobie Alter (b. 1933) and some friends decided to design a catamaran. Easy to drag down a beach, fun to sail, and costing only $1,000, the Hobie 14 was an instant hit. In 1971 Alter unleashed the Hobie 16; to date it's the largest class of catamaran in the world. With over 200,000 Hobie Cats sailing, Alter is the undisputed father of mass-multihull racing.

Showing that he was anything but a one-trick pony, he designed the Hobie 33, a lightweight rocketship was Alter's contribution to the monohull World. First launched in 1981, the class is still going strong, as are the beach cats.