The word Catamaran comes from the Tamil kattu “to tie” and maran “wood, tree”.
– Thousands years ago catamarans were used on the coast of Coromandel in south-eastern India.
– Around 3500 BC started the great voyages across the Pacific Ocean towards Polynesia aboard double canoes.
Polynesian Catamaran – Artist: John Webber, artist aboard Cook’s ship.
– 1662, Sir William Petty designs “THE EXPERIMENT”, described as “a fantastical bottomless double-bottomed machine”, and races them successfully against mono-hulls.
– 1820, “DOUBLE TROUBLE”, first catamaran built in the US by John C Stevens, famous for his bet at the origin of the America’s Cup.
– 1876, “AMARYLLIS”, is designed by the famous architect Nathaniel Herreschoff and beats the entire fleet of the New York Yacht Club.
Herreschoff patented – 1876
– 1937, “KAIMILOA”, built by Eric de Bisschop, a French explorer, was launched in Hawaii and sailed back to Cannes in France in 264 days.
Kaimiloa – Eric de Bishop
– 1947, “MANU KAI”, launched in Hawai by Brown, Kumalae and Choy is probably the first ocean going cruising catamaran to be launched.
“Manu Kai” at
– 1960, The Prout brothers design the “SNOW GOOSE”, an 11 meters cruising catamarans.
– 1964, “REHU MOANA”, takes part to the OSTAR race. Built by Dr. David Henry Lewis. After the race he picks up his family in the US and sails around the world. This is the first circumnavigation by a catamaran.
– 1983 The Fountaine Pajot shipyard launches the Lousiane 37, the first light cruising catamaran, industrial production of cruising catamarans has started in France.
A 1984 Louisiane 37
– 1998, “DOUCE FRANCE” 138’ designed by Lauriot-Prevost and Van Peteghem is the largest cruising catamaran launched so far.
Douce France – a VPLP design built by Alumarine
– 2005, the Maxi catamaran “ORANGE II” – 37 meters – built by Multiplast Shipyard and sailed by Bruno Peyron, sails around the world in only 55 days 16 hours with an amazing average speed of 22,20 knots.
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