Is the open water rowing world ready for a rowing cat that works? : LUSENET : Open-water rowing : One Thread

Way back, on April 28 2000, Andre de Bardelaben wrote in this forum "The more I contemplate the concept more convinced I am that, for most of us, human-powered multi-hulls are not the way to go." At the time I had recently embarked on the development of an open water rowing catamaran, and I sincerely hoped that he was wrong!

Four and some years later, I can categorically state that he is.

The ROCAT, as my boat became known, is in the latter stages of development before going into production early next year.

Have a look at our website and see what you think.

with best wishes ... Christopher Laughton

-- Christopher Laughton (, September 24, 2004


What is the thought behind the blunt stern? Conventional wisdom would call for a pointed shape

-- Kim Apel (, September 24, 2004.

Dear Christopher,

I saw your new creation. It looks very slick and techy. I'm certain that it will appeal to many of the folks who liked the Rowcat/Skimmer concept. I wish you much success in your endeavors.



-- Andre de Bardelaben (, September 24, 2004.


I'm glad to see that you are still covering this forum. Thank you for your good wishes, but I think I detect a diplomatic disapproval in your response.

I firmly believe that the ROCAT will appeal to a much wider audience than the Rowcat/Skimmer/Kataram crowd, and that it will open up the sport/activity of open water rowing ... time will tell!

And, BTW, we are having to add skegs because the boat has insufficient directional stabilty without them.

Best wishes ... Christopher

-- Christopher Laughton (, September 25, 2004.


There were 3 main opjectives in the ROCAT's design ... speed, stability and transportability. I set a 5 metre max length so that it can comfortably fit on most cars. With a sliding seat, this would be a big problem as the longitudinal displacement of cg causes a short boat to pitch dramatically. By fixing the rower's position and moving the rigger, you eliminate pitch.

However, as I wanted to be able to use this boat safely in rough seas, I realised that I would also need a hull-form which would effectively damp out wave-induced pitch.

I should put some pics on the website to illustrate the under-water shape ... in fact, the design waterline is at the base of the transome and the back end is quite flat to provide the required rough sea pitch-damping.

We put proto 3 in the water again today and I was bemused to watch Anthony row by on a smooth sea ... it is uncanny just how flat it rows, and also without the jerky motion one associates with a fast rowing boat.

Sorry my answer lacks the concision of your question ...

best wishes ... Christopher

-- Christopher Laughton (, September 25, 2004.

Looks very nice.

Two things come to mind, The first is that the cockpit should have drain holes with screens on them so that water easily flows out but not your lunch/waterbottles.

The second, for the market for this boat, performance recreational craft, will the performance be fast enough because of the shorter waterline? Or will its open water capabilites be sufficient such that those craft won't be viable in the waters where this one would be safe?

I'm glad to see an additional style of rowboat back on the market. Yours, -Gary-

-- Gary Powell (, September 27, 2004.


The drain hole question often comes up, but is actually not a problem. Remember that proto 2 (which appears in most of the pics on the website) was a development craft which was chopped and glued as necessary ... it had just two 6mm drainholes because that was all that I found were needed. Whatever the conditions, the seatdeck does not seem to take on water; the holes were more there to let out the rain!

To your second point, it is the aspect ratio of the hull which is more important than the length. We have yet to find out how the ROCAT will perform against a conventional sculling boat, but I don't think there will be a lot in it. And when it comes to open water capabilities ... well, we are yet to see if any existing boat can out-perform the ROCAT in a rough sea.

If this all sounds a bit conceited, I don't mean it to be ... I have rowed proto 2 in all kinds of sea states and was constantly amazed at how well it handled. Although it will be a one-design class, I can't wait to pit it against other rowing solutions.

with best wishes ... Christopher

-- Christopher Laughton (, September 27, 2004.

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