The Vision

My vision was to build a boat that offers maximum safety, is easy to transport, and combines several kinds of sport. I also wanted the boat to be manufactured industrially in order to keep the price at a low level.

I was in the lucky position of owning a successful company - SANO GmbH ( - and in 2007 I was able to hand over the helm to my managing director. As a result, it was possible for me to invest all my energy in the development of the XCAT (formerly ROWCAT). I have had the vision for this boat for a long time. It all started when I trained for my yacht sailing licence on Lake Mondsee in Austria in 2001.

You have to be driven by enthusiasm to
develop things that enthuse others.

I was completely obsessed with sailing. It is awesome the way a sailboat accelerates as soon as the wind reaches it.

But I could see disadvantages too. Sailing is only great when the wind is perfect - not too light and not too strong. I soon arrived at the point where I had to decide: should I buy a boat, or rent one? However, neither option was really satisfying for me. Either you have to pay for expensive moorings and annual maintenance and you are stuck in the same lake, or you rent a different boat each time and have to continuously adapt to a new setup. Then of course there is the next classic problem: you plan a weekend on the water, get there and there is no wind. Or the area is not suitable for sailing all the time. You would still like to take a boat out on the water though and take some exercise.


The design task: develop a boat that does not exist yet.

Safety was also a big issue. Unsinkable would be ideal. Stable in the water - not susceptible to tipping.

These considerations finally led to a list of design specifications that defined how my ideal boat would look. And as the designer/engineer, I have always tried to put myself in the customers position to understand how the ideal boat for you would look. With the XCAT it was really easy, because I wanted to have a boat like this myself and there was nothing like it on the market that covers all these factors.

If true innovation were so easy, then everybody would do it.

It turned out to be quite difficult to take all these specifications into consideration. First of all there was the forwards rowing requirement. Following three design ideas and 4 actual prototypes, the Row Motion-Pro system finally took shape. It delivered awesome rowing performance.

At the same time we were working on an unsinkable, rugged and twist-resistant boat with solid hulls (we dispensed with the inflatable idea from the start - we didn't want to build a dirigible). On top of that it needed to be quickly assembled and no individual part should weigh more than 18 kg so that really anybody can carry it. Finally we managed it and now proudly present the XCAT

Industrial series production for consistent quality.

To manufacture the hulls we developed and built machinery ourselves. As a result we at Row&Sail are currently the only company worldwide that can produce a hull in an industrial process with an EPP core inside an impact-resistant HD-PE shell.

The advantages of industrial production are clear: we can start up production at any time and achieve consistently high quality. It was also important to me that we manufacture the boat in Austria. The foam core and outer shell of the XCAT (polyprophylene and polyethylene) are also very easy to recycle.


The next challenge: the XCAT Sail.

The XCAT Sail option came afterwards. That was a real challenge.

It should be able to be installed without tools and fit the basic boat without any kind of modification. In addition, it should be easy to sail so that even beginners can handle it without fear. We also wanted to make sure that it could be rigged quickly and was able to cope with a strong wind. It wasn't until last year that we finally managed to perfect the sail option. Thanks to the cooperation of the well-known sail manufacturer SE (Sails East Sailmakers) we now have a sail that perfectly matches the excellent quality of the XCAT and its characteristics.

My greatest wish and at the same time my greatest motivation is the satisfaction of each individual customer. Everyone who buys an XCAT should have as much fun as I have had, discovering something new every day.
That is what I put my name to and I look forward to your feedback on this amazing boat.

Jochum Bierma

Row&Sail founder and developer of the XCAT