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the rigger

While the catamaran configuration makes the ROCAT extremely stable, the (patented) 'swingarm rigger' transforms the boat's handling and efficiency – the animation below shows how it works.

The illustration is not quite right here as the hands should be outside your knees.

You row a ROCAT sitting comfortably in a high-back fixed seat, which provides proper support for your back. Your feet are attached to pedals on a sliding footbar. The ends of the footbar are connected by links directly to the rowlocks. When you push on the footbar with your feet (using your powerful leg muscles), your effort is transmitted directly to the oars through the rowlocks.

There have been 'sliding riggers' before, but the ROCAT version adds a new dimension in the form of the 'swingarm rigger'. This pivots on the side of the seatdeck so that the rowlock, at the outboard end, can swing horizontally. The arc of the swingarm is equal and opposite to the arc of the oar handle – this moves the fulcrum of the lever from the rowlock to the oar handle (a class 1 lever [pliers] is changed to a class 3 lever [fishing rod]). As the oar handle is now the oar's fulcrum, your hands are stationary through the power stroke. Unlike a conventional sculling boat, the rower's hands do not cross mid stroke.

You finish the stroke with your arms, feather the oars, straighten your arms and bring your legs back up to the start position for the next stroke.

Because your back is properly supported during the power stroke, not only can you exert more pressure, but this new rigger practically eliminates the risk of back injury (to which rowers are prone).

A rowing shell moves erratically through the water and, if it weren’t so long, it would also pitch dramatically. This is all due to the heavy rower (relative to the weight of the boat), moving manically back and forth on a sliding seat – this upsets the boat’s centre of gravity and momentum. As soon as the rower sits still in the boat, it moves smoothly through the water without pitching. With the reason for the extreme length removed, the boat can be short enough to carry on a car with ease, and strore in a garage.

The ROCAT is 5 metres long, which is over 3 metres shorter than a conventional shell.