Close, But No Cigar

Business Idea of the Day: Tongass Rain, Electric Catamaran


Photo Credit: Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran

Founder Bob Varness of Juneau Alaska,  joined Kickstarter trying to fund his idea of making a catamaran that is completely green using hydroelectricity to re-charge the engine.  Bob a long time whale watching captain has been on the water for many years and has seen first hand what his diesel engines do to our environment. 

Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran would be powered by twin motors and lithium ion batteries. it is a 50 ft. displacement catamaran that holds up to 47 passengers with 3 crew. The catamaran will be able to cruise at 8 knots for about 10 hours on a single charge. The boat will be absolutely silent when in motion. Sticking to that green name by installing display solar panels, wind generators and onboard broadband with TREC cam’s.  The cost of Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran will be at 25% the cost of the same vessel equipped with diesel engines.

As of now $1.244M will fund Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran. The kickstarter has generated $2,336 and has been labeled as unsuccessful with its time limit ending without the requested funds. Although a good idea, Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran is still on the drawing board looking for a way to be funded.

Food for Thought: What if  Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran  changed the direction of the business idea and looked for a partnership? The idea of a green catamaran that can hold up to 47 passengers running on batteries is an excellent one. However how does this attract passengers, are tourist looking for a quiet boat ride or are they looking for some sort of authentic alaskan adventure.

Throughout my travels I have been lucky enough to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world via cruise ship. One excursion I see at many tropical places mostly in the Caribbean, are booze cruises. Thats when it hit me, Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran should have tried to partner with Alaskan Brewing Co. Making Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran the first and only green booze cruise in Juneau, which only sells our locally brewed Alaskan beer.

Although some people may frown upon a booze cruise the truth is that they are successful businesses in many cruise ship ports around the world, here is a popular catamaran booze cruise in St. Johns U.S. Virgin Islands. I believe tourist would enjoy to view our beautiful scenery while enjoying one of our delicious brews on a boat that is efficient and environmentally friendly.

In the end Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran was a great idea, that didn’t have the support it needed. Hopefully they can turn it around and we will see them in the Juneau Tourist industry sooner than later.

Call to Action: What do you think Tongass Rain Electric Catamaran should have done to get funded? Partnerships, industry change, create a cheaper product? Leave me a comment below indicating what you would have done.


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