Catamarans and Multihull Craft

  • Liang Yun
  • Alan Bliault


The history of the catamaran goes back almost to the time when man first used a tree trunk for overwater transportation. While conventional monohull ships had their beginnings in the dugout canoe or pirogue, the catamaran’s origin was the raft formed by lashing two or more logs together. By creating a catamaran configuration, we gain improved transverse stability, dependent on the space between the two hulls, a more spacious platform for crew and cargo, and improved performance in waves. The modern high performance catamaran vessel builds on this basic idea, using the very slender hulls to minimize drag for a displacement or semi-planing form dependent on the required service speed. Norway was the nursery to the concept application in the 1970s, while Australia has been the engine of development since the 1980s with several major shipyards building larger and larger ferries, for operation worldwide. We summarize this development, particularly the craft from industry leaders Austal and Incat, and consider the potential in the future, as catamaran ferries are increasingly the means by which coastal logistics are implemented by countries such as those around the Arabian Peninsula.


Froude Number Hull Form Trim Angle Service Speed Transverse Stability 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Liang Yun
    • 1
  • Alan Bliault
    • 2
  1. 1.Marine Design and Research Institute of ChinaShanghaiChina
  2. 2.A.S Norske ShellSolaNorway

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