Catamarans are the modern equivalent of the ancient Polynesian sailing boats. Wood in combination with epoxy has a very high strength to weight ratio. Wood is a renewable resource and can handle multiple flexings without showing stress. A conventional fiberglass and foam boat will last maybe fifty years, but a wooden boat properly sealed with epoxy fiber-glass, could last from one hundred and fifty to two hundred years. The hull of a wooden catamaran could be up to an inch thick and the joinery of the wooden fixtures can handle the forces of the sea. There is a dynamic type of structural integrity that can flex and be as strong as steel when needed.
The world has seen an unprecedented growth in the popularity of cruising catamarans. Compared with monohull boats of equal length, catamarans offer massive space advantages above and below deck. They are more easily handled than a mono-hull of the same length and with the beam, they make a very stable platform for cruising on the ocean. They are roomy and fast with a large deck area.
The word "catamaran" comes from the Tamil word Kattumaram and is a boat that has two hulls, joined together by a frame. Catamarans have only recently been introduced to the western world but have been used for many hundreds or thousands of years by the Paravas, a group of fishermen who live along the southern coast of Tamil Nadu in India. The Polynesian used catamarans and outrigger canoes which let them to migrate to places such as New Zealand and Hawaii.
The catamaran consists of three main components - the Main hull, the outrigger and the poles connecting the two hulls. Small recreational catamarans are designed for one or two sailors to operate and can be launched and landed from the beach. The rudders can be retracted, thus protecting the sensitive rudders from being damaged when the catamaran is brought up on the beach.