A Short History of the Catamaran

Catamaran pic
Image: mauritiuscatamaran.com

The CEO and managing director of Desicon Engineering in Lagos, Nigeria, Akanimo Udofia, is responsible for both the general business strategy, growth, and sustainability of the company. Harvard Business School graduate Akanimo Udofia is a water sport aficionado and enjoys catamarans.

Catamaran-style vessels were first developed around 1500 BCE by the Polynesians in south Asia. The original catamarans were two canoes bound together by a wooden frame with or without a sail. This simple device was effective enough to allow these sailors to visit distant Pacific islands.

Rarely utilized in the western world prior to the 19th century, the existence of a more modern catamaran can be traced back to the Tamil people of south India in the 5th century. This version of the catamaran was first discovered and written about in English by the adventurer William Dampier who observed them in 1697 while sailing around the world.

The two-hulled boat was introduced to Europe in 1662 by William Petty, who wanted a craft that could sail faster in shallow water with less wind and fewer crew. The radical design was ill-received, and it would be another 160 years before the West was ready to make use of this simple and effective design.


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