What is a Trimaran?

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  • Written By: Elizabeth Holli Wood
  • Edited By: Lucy Oppenheimer
  • Last Modified Date: 16 October 2019
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A trimaran is a type of sailboat. The trimaran is a multihulled boat that consists of three individual hulls. The three hulls are known as the main hull, or vaka, and two other, smaller hulls are called the outrigger hulls, or amas. The frame work that connects the vaka to the amas on a trimaran is called the a.k.a..

The name trimaran comes from the root word tri meaning three and maram meaning wood or tree. Trimarans have been recorded as being built as early as 4,000 years ago by Polynesian societies. These Pacific Islanders created the original design they called the proa which is said to have inspired the trimaran design. Trimarans have gained modern day prevalence in the late 1900s and early 2000s. They are currently used as personal boats for sailing hobbyists and have even influenced the design of passenger ferries carrying over one thousand passengers.

Trimarans are built in factories, but many are still made by hand in the traditional style in which they were originally conceived. Their style extends well beyond the traditional design. In fact, their design has even been used, to some degree, by national military defense organizations, including United States Navy engineers, in the development of their military warfare.


The trimaran boat is favored because of its multihulled design which is, in many ways, more functional than traditional, monohulled boat designs. They serve many different functions and are highly regarded for their lightweight design, which makes them move easier and quicker through the water than a boat with only one hull. Because they have three hulls, they balance very well on the water. This makes them very difficult to overturn. The boat will typically stay afloat safely on the water with very few problems. Even if completely filled with water, one outrigger hull is typically enough to keep them afloat.


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