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Press release – embargo: immediate – 16 January 2007

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The ROCAT has just been declared a finalist in the Sports & Leisure category of the International JEC 2007 Innovation Programme Awards.

The ROCAT is a new and highly innovative rowing catamaran. It combines a number of novel features to transform the ancient sport of rowing into an exciting new watersport with a much wider appeal. It is both fast, and extremely stable, which means that it can be used safely on open waters previously off-limits for rowing. And it has a new (patented) sliding rigger, which is not only more efficient than the conventional sliding seat system, it is also less likely to damage the rower’s back. The ROCAT’s use of cutting edge advanced glass and carbon fibre composites technology makes it exceptionally light and strong, so that it is easy and safe to use, as well as being easy to transport and store.

The JEC Composites Show, which takes place in Paris in April, is the leading international composites trade fair. Every year, as part of its ‘Innovation Programme’, they give awards for the most innovative use of composites materials in eight different categories. Judges are looking for technical excellence and originality, market openings, financial impact, and benefits for end-users. In the face of competition from companies of all sizes, from all over the world, ROCAT’s unique way of making its 5 metre hulls in one piece attracted the attention of the judges, and they voted it into the final three of the sports and leisure category. Whether or not the ROCAT wins the award, it will be exhibited on the Innovation Programme stand at the show in April.

The ROCAT’s designer, Christopher Laughton, said: ‘ROCAT has been trading for less than a year but, thanks to the internet and a very good product, we have received orders from countries as far a field as Canada, Argentina and the USA. It is extremely gratifying that our innovative use of these exciting new materials has got us into the finals of such a prestigious international awards programme. Anthony Fryett, Production Manager at ROCAT, said: ‘It’s bizarre to think that this small company in west Cornwall can be pushing the boundaries of advanced composite technology. It feels really good to get this recognition by an international panel of composites experts. And it will give customers extra confidence in the product, too.’

Notes for editors

  • ROCAT is a winner. In March 2000 designer Christopher Laughton won a DTI Smart Micro Project Award, which enabled him to start development of the ROCAT. The ROCAT won second place in the international British Marine Federation’s Concept Boat 2002 Competition, and in 2004 ROCAT was selected by the National Maritime Museum, Cornwall, for its Feature Boat of the year.
  • The ROCAT came to market in March 2006. It is designed for recreational rowing and racing on open, or coastal waters. It measures 5 x 1.8 metres (16 ft 5 in x 6 ft), and dismantles easily to be carried on a car. The hulls, which are the heaviest components, weigh just 9 kg (20 lbs) each.
  • For further information on the ROCAT, see www.rocat.co.uk, or telephone Christopher Laughton, 01736 366560.
  • Free, press-quality photographs of the ROCAT, are available on the website www.rocat.co.uk.
  • The ROCAT is available for purchase or demonstrations from ROCAT Ltd, Bosulval, Newmill, Penzance, Cornwall TR20 8XA, telephone 01736 366560, www.rocat.co.uk
  • The designer/inventor of the ROCAT, Christopher Laughton, graduated in Industrial Design (engineering) in 1971 and, before embarking on the ROCAT project, ran his own multi-disciplinary design practice for some 25 years.
  • Open-water, or coastal rowing is an increasingly popular sport, particularly in North America and France. The ROCAT will be competitive with conventional monohull boats on flat water, but will outperform them all in rough seas. Also, it’s excellent portability brings thousands of people within easy reach of somewhere to row, and its inherent stability and safety make it attractive to schools, activity centres, and people with disabilities.
  • The JEC Group is a company devoted to the promotion of composite materials. JEC supports the development of composites through the dissemination of knowledge and the promotion of exchanges between suppliers and users. It is the world’s leading information and business network for the composites industry.

For further information on the JEC awards, see www.jeccomposites.com/jec-awards

The ROCAT: fast and stable and easy to transport … a winning combination!