This is the story of a seven-year idea-to-production personal design and development project. It is a tale of excitement, determination, optimism/naivety, triumphs, frustrations, tiredness, satisfaction, perseverance and disappointment.
A keen rower moves to a place almost surrounded by an ocean and it’s only natural that he should want to get out on the water in a fast and stable rowing boat, but when I moved to west Cornwall in 1973, no such craft existed. Skinny fast boats are more fun to row but they are hopelessly unstable. Stability generally comes with a broad beam and a lot of drag.
The obvious solution was a rowing catamaran, so I stole some time from my furniture-making to knock up a rudimentary prototype to test the idea. Although it worked very well, I had neither the time nor resources to take it further.
Many years later, in 1999, the dti (Department of Trade and Industry) launched the SMART Micro Project Award scheme to stimulate innovation. I entered a proposal to build and test a working prototype of a rowing catamaran and the ROCAT, as I called it, won the award.