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Main Types of Catamarans Used in the Shipping World

A catamaran is a boat that has two hulls instead of a single hull which the traditionally designed one-hulled boats have. Catamarans were designed to be fishing boats though their use has increased and widened manifold in today’s times. The following points will enable us to understand the boat and its types very clearly.

Origin of Catamarans

The catamaran was first created by the fishing community ‘Paravas’ in Tamil Nadu in the 17th century. The main feature of these boats was the fact that they had two hulls which offered a lot of stability and balance as compared to the other fishing boats of that era. This concept of two-hulled boats was adopted by the British and then made popular across the world.

Present-Era Catamarans

In the present times, catamarans have evolved from being mere sailboats or fishing boats. Evolved does not mean just a change in the usage but also in the design and construction of these boats. There are two basic design types of catamarans known as the Pontoon and the SWATH (Small Waterplane Area Twin Hull).

The former is quite small, compact and uses floats (known as pontoons in the marine slang) as a major technology to propel in the water along with the dual hulls; whereas the latter is quite large and is designed primarily to maintain the balance in areas of the sea which have unpredictable currents and tides.

It has to be noted that in today’s times all variations of catamarans are motorised and engine-powered making them even more reliable than what they used to be before.


Some of the main types of catamarans can be elaborated as follows:

Cruise Catamarans

These catamarans are also known as luxury catamarans or ferry catamarans. This is because they offer the best possible luxury to the passengers who take a trip in such ferries. And the addition of engines has made such ferries even more attractive with the crowd.

The speedier nature of such ferries ensures that the passengers get the cruise trip of their choice without any lapse in time. It has to be noted that luxury catamarans operate not internationally between nations but internally within a country.

Some examples of cruise catamarans in the world that are very popular are the Stena Voyager (operating in the Irish Sea) and Victoria Clipper IV (operating between Seattle and Victoria in the USA).

Sailing Catamarans

 Catamaran sailing is another type and utility of a catamaran. Sailing catamarans are used for recreational purposes by people who want to experience the life of a sailor.

Catamaran sailing does not involve any place for residing in the boat. In other words, catamaran sailing can also be referred to as catamarans that are used as yachts.

The average speed that is achieved in a day in a sailing catamaran is up to 300 nautical miles. Such catamaran sailing was first introduced in Europe though it has started gaining popularity all over the world now.

It has to be noted that catamarans are quite novel in their creation and development. Unlike some other types of boats, they have not become inoperative or extinct.

Their name still commands unique respect, which is what makes a catamaran adapt more successfully to the changing era and times.


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