Forty years ago, George Rossiter decided he didn’t want to be a doctor like both his parents, or a fast-track business whiz like most of his friends. He wanted to build boats. And stubbornly, that’s what he did. He started out building wooden row boats – not the little punts that others did but sleek, streamlined boats, through which a person could find both fitness and peace. George went on to study Marine Architecture and the boats evolved into the ultimate in style and function. From the original wooden boats he moved to fiberglass for the hull and teak to accent the topsides and interiors. He built hydrodynamic, smooth-in-the water boats. And he added created innovations that others have since tried to copy.
He built his boats by hand and sold them one at a time. Slowly, over the years, more and more Rossiter boats found their way on to waterways across the continent and around the world. And people came to recognize and trust them for their quality, performance and craftsmanship.
Two decades ago, Scott Hanson had a dream. He left big business and he and his wife Cindy moved to Kennebunkport, Maine where he enrolled in the celebrated Landing School of Boat Building and Design. There he learned the most up-to-date design and building techniques. Scott graduated with honors in Yacht Design and Boat Building.
In 2007 George and Scott met and a new chapter in the Rossiter story began. Scott and Cindy bought Rossiter Boats assuring George that his legacy was in capable hands. Under Scott’s direction, Rossiter quickly outgrew the original shop and the business moved to a modern, state-of-the-art plant where the tradition of craftsmanship continues – still one boat at a time.
George’s fiberglass rowboat, the Loudon, was and continues to be our most popular rowing boat. Over the years we have added the Whitehall designs, the Pocket Skiff, Tenders and the Wee Skiff to our line up. And we purchased the production rights and enhanced the molds for the popular Laser Sport Shell.
Encouraged by Rossiter rowing enthusiasts and his cottage friends, George designed his first power boat over twenty years ago – the Rossiter 14 – with all the innovation and skill he had brought to all his boats and everyone who has driven one agrees, “It really is a Rossiter.”
This success lead customers and dealers to encourage Scott to continue to design larger outboards. So, after listening to boaters’ needs and wish lists and painstakingly reviewing all the competitors’ offerings, Scott used his knowledge and skill, worked with the best boat designers, the latest computer-enhanced design and 3D modelling first launching the Rossiter 17 Classic Closed Deck Runabout and Center Console in 2011 and soon after the Rossiter 23 Classic Day Boat, our most sophisticated power boat yet. And with each new model, the response is always, “It really is a Rossiter.”
So now, with Scott firmly at the helm, Rossiter has entered a new era. Our rowing and power boats can be found on both sides of the Atlantic, from coast to coast and from the Great Lakes to the Gulf where they are instantly accorded top-of-the-line status in quality, fit and performance at boats shows and out on the water.
With our always expanding dealer network in place and owner accolades every time a boat is delivered, the tradition continues.
All Rossiter Boats come with our Limited Lifetime Warranty. Rossiter offers the original retail purchaser a Structural Warranty that covers any major structural defect in the material or workmanship, for the duration of the ownership. This Structural Warranty may also be transferred to the second owner for a full 10 years from the first retail purchase date.
Rossiter also offers a 2 year Component Warranty to the first retail purchaser for factory installed parts from the date of purchase. This Component Warranty may not be transferred and is subject to some limitations.
Additionally, any quality workmanship defects will be fixed by us, at no expense to you for time, materials or transportation. Frankly, if you ever have a problem, please call us and we will do our utmost to satisfy you. After all, these aren’t just boats, they are Rossiters.
“My Rossiter is AWESOME, so quiet, smooth and responsive, and in 6’ seas on the Gulf she performed exceptionally.”
Gordon, Ft. Myer, FL
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The Early Days of Rowing
The water-based summer communities on the islands off the east shore of Georgian Bay grew beginning late in the nineteenth century. No roads, simple cottages, no plumbing, no electricity, inhabited by academics, professionals, business people, free spirits and eccentrics, there for the entire summer.
In the earliest days, if you wanted to get somewhere or something, you rowed. The row boats were freighters, beamy with lots of freeboard made by a dozen different builders to be the nineteenth century nautical equivalent of the panel truck.
George Rossiter named his rowboat after W.J. Loudon, a pioneer of the Go Home Bay community. Loudon rowed miles at a time to pick up guests and the mail, to go fishing or on a picnic. Georgian Bay is open and deep. Storms come quickly and if you row in exposed water, you better be in a good hull. Loudon always felt safe in his rowboat and he could never understand why anyone would canoe when rowing was so much faster and safer.
The first powerboats were small inboards that held about as many people as a rowboat, and were often used to pull strings of rowboats. The day someone fitted a reliable internal combustion outboard engine marked a decline in rowing on Georgian Bay. Over the next fifty years, the rowboats sat in their boathouses, pulled out once a year for the regatta, the rot unnoticed until they were too far gone to fix. By the 1980’s, one could count on the fingers of one hand the number of serviceable rowboats in Go Home Bay. Nobody rowed. Few even knew how to row.
Early in his education, George Rossiter veered off the trail from the rest of us. He wanted to work on his own at something he enjoyed. So, out of his deep feelings for Georgian Bay and his instinctive respect for the designers of the boats which moved us around there, George became a marine architect.
Not long after his graduation, George heard of a very old rowboat sitting in a barn which was reputed to have been very fast. In the heyday of rowing, smaller lake rowers had different needs than those in Georgian Bay. Goods were hauled over roads along the shore of the lakes and rowboats carried nothing but the rower. These rowboats were designed to move light loads quickly, unlike their freighter cousins in the island communities in Georgian Bay.
The hull George found was a lot sleeker than the hulls used in Go Home Bay. Marooned in a barn, the boat took some imagination to see on the water. However, there was no mistaking the lines, perhaps a little short at 17’ but its fine entries and steeper deadrise angles, pleasing sheer line and moderate 46” beam suggested the perfect boat for light load rowing in open water. In George’s mind, this was the hull to resuscitate the sport. To stay fit, to enjoy the peace and quiet – this boat could offer a perfect way of achieving both.
Working from the mold an earlier designer had abandoned, George redesigned the hull above water, giving it a little more freeboard. He trued up the lines and built it out of fiberglass finished in gleaming white gelcoat. Out of respect for the heritage of the boat, he carried the lapped strakes of the original wood design over into the mold. To emphasize the elegant sheer line, he finished the strake under the gunwales in navy blue. He fitted the hull with teak gunwales and small decks fore and aft and mounted the aft seat on runners so that it could be moved amidships for a flat trim when rowed solo and to help children sit closer to the oarlocks and row comfortably. All that remained was to install teak foot rests on adjustable aluminum brackets set in a floor mounted runner, high quality bronze oarlocks and sturdy lines and the Loudon was born.
Introduced in 1990 and several refinements later, there are now over over 600 Loudons, all over North America and around the globe.
The History of the
Rossiter Power Boat
As much as George Rossiter loved to row, he also understood that people needed a safe, practical powerboat at times. So in 1997 he designed the Rossiter 14 to be a small seaworthy powerboat which offers a soft, dry and stable ride as well being fuel efficient and as fun to drive as the Loudon is to row.
George was also aware that a well-designed boat must have good balance. When it is going along, a well-designed boat will lift over waves evenly along its length, not just at the bow. The basic angles of deadrise (the amount of V in the bottom) along its length change slightly to shed water and give a soft ride at the bow and then provide enough lift at the stern. The Rossiter 14 was designed with a ‘lifting pad’ at the stern to provide more lift and improve efficiency. The beam/length ratio is also very important as a boat that is too narrow will be very tippy and a boat that is too wide will be inefficient. George worked very hard to see that the design features of the wooden prototype were carried through into this sturdy fiberglass design.
And as storage space is often a problem in a small boat with no place to keep required items like rope, lifejackets, tools, bumpers, throwing lines or flashlights George added well ventilated and self draining lockers with the hatch arrangement designed to keep the locker contents dry. And the stern deck easily accommodates a battery case while the liner is arranged to provide side stowage of longer items like paddles and fishing rods. Other details such as a nonskid finish on the cockpit floor and the coaming around the deck which keeps out the spray and makes it easy to snap on the cover all make the Rossiter 14 safe, easy to keep clean and all your gear organized.
George took two years to design and build the Rossiter 14 prototype, taking great care in the details both inside and out. Details which you would normally only expect to find on much larger and more expensive boats.
THE EVOLUTION OF A POWER BOAT
For years proud owners of our Rossiter 14 power boat asked if we would build a runabout with the same classic look, fit and finish, and unbeatable soft, dry ride that thrives in big water … but with just a little more room and horsepower. So together with a top design team we created the Rossiter 17 Center Console and Runabout models knowing that some like to feel the wind in their hair while others want the protection of a full windshield and canvas. We also took full advantage of the latest in computer-aided design and 3D modeling to insure that the hull performance and engineering delivered the stability, performance and sea-keeping characteristics you’ve come to expect from a Rossiter power boat. Not to mention the fact that both models offer self-draining cockpits.
Powered by either 90 or 115 horses, either of these two Rossiters can take the whole family out for a day of picnicking and waterskiing or haul supplies back and forth with ease … all the while looking and acting like nothing else on the water.