A good used Hobie 16 can be had from around $1000 and up (maybe to $2000). I found sellers come in two varieties: The ones who sail their boat. Expect to get a little dull looking boat and worn sails here, but all the details you need to sail should be there.
The second category is the kind who had their boat sit in the garage or yard for 10 years (after the kids left or whatever). Some of these cats can look nearly new. Frequently lots of bits and pieces are missing (or broken), and don’t be surprised how fast the bill for replacement parts run up.
A quick checklist I saved from rec.boats. I lost the header, so I don’t know whom to credit.
For the most part Hobies are pretty bullet proof, I raced them forfive years (in fleet one) and knew Hobie Alter. Some signs to tell you how the boat was taken care of are:
1) Is the hull stiff? It should be, any flex is bad and may be a sign of the boat sitting along time.
2) Is the bottom of the hull chewed up? If so, it might have been dropped or dragged a lot.
3) Are the hulls the same? Sometimes the dolphin striker breaks and the boat folds up and people replace one of the hulls.
4) How tight is the tramp, and rig, is the mast ok (look at the rivets and screws for excess corrosion also look for salt/sand buildup everywhere to see if the owner cleaned it with fresh water after every use). Looseness in either says unused and poor maintenance.
5) If someone says he races it then they probably took better care of it and it might come with more gear. Check to see if the blades are sanded and if the sails were off the boom and rolled for a quick, yet incomplete, affirmation.
6) Check out the trailer, bad ones abound and may be expensive to fix or replace in relation to the boats price. Salt really does bad things to bearings.
7) Sail a new cat as much as possible, demos from a shop, or go out with the racers if possible. Then sail anything you’re considering buying. Maybe it’s more than you bargained for.
8) Don’t forget how you would buy a used car and apply the same good sense
This advice is written by a practical sailor who forgot to leave a name