Very popular in the market, the catamaran and the trimaran are known as multihulls because they each have more than one hull. The catamaran has two equally sized hulls, whereas a trimaran has one main hull with two outriggers.

Besides the difference in the hulls, they differ in their capacity, accommodation, helming, speed, safety or anchoring. Catamaran has the reputation to provide good comfort and trimarans are knows to be faster and fun to helm.

But what are the real differences between Trimarans and Catamarans?

Stability and Performance: Distinct Sailing Experiences

The Trimaran

The hull is the major distinction between a catamaran and a trimaran. The cat has a classic, simpler, and sleeker design with a double hull.

A trimaran, on the other hand, is a multihull vehicle with tiny outrigger hulls linked to the main hull with an innovative design that stands out among other boats. It resembles a spaceship to some. There are, however, some additional distinctions.

Trimarans are made up of three hulls: one main hull and two overhanging hulls. Trimarans are believed to be unsinkable as a result. They do not capsize even in the most severe storms, and even if they do flip over, they manage to stay afloat. The main disadvantage of a trimaran is that it combines the sailing capacity and comfort of a monohull boat with the security of a multihull boat in order to stay afloat. The Maxi Trimarans used for races such as the Rolex Middle sea race or the Race for water with the Ultimate boat are among the quickest boats available reaching speed of 30 knots!

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The Catamaran

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Catamarans are fascinating vessels. Often called “Cats” that is both an abbreviation of their name and a nod to their adaptability. These boats are enjoyable to sail and offer a high level of comfort. They range in size from a few cabins that can fit two people to a huge group of 20. While many catamarans are inexpensive and suitable for families, others offer extra luxury and can sail to some of the most beautiful and expensive sites in the Mediterranean and Caribbean. Finally, while catamarans are excellent yachts for stability, they are most suited to sail in shallow waters, lagoons, or calm sea gulfs.

Trimaran and catamaran, the size difference

La Linea Trimaran VS Vulpino Catamaran

The modern catamaran design, which measures around 12.2 meters (40 feet) in length, was introduced in the 1950s. Early catamarans had trouble coming around when riding windward, but later designs solved this problem. She is the collective of three tennis courts with 131ft (40m) LOA and 77ft (23m) beam, dwarfing every other contender in the 88 boat fleet. Compared to a catamaran, a trimaran is substantially more stable.

The highest righting moment on a catamaran occurs at 12° heeling, as indicated on the stability curve. When sailing in strong gusts and rough seas, this angle is rather easy to achieve.

Multihulls, the difference in safety

You might be surprised to find out that Trimarans are extremely safe; in fact, many, including all Corsair trimarans, are almost unsinkable. They’re foam-cored, and the materials’ buoyancy is extremely high in comparison to the boat’s displacement.

The trimaran is the strongest of the multihulls due to its three-hulled design, complete anti-drift scheme, and weight centering. There are considerable variances in righting torques between a catamaran and a trimaran.

Catamarans are a safe way to travel the ocean. Offshore, catamarans are frequently far safer than monohulls of comparable size. Increased motion ease, great steadiness, speed, and surplus buoyancy due to a lack of ballast all contribute to safety.

A large contemporary catamaran has excellent roll inertia and ample buoyancy. The combination of these factors makes capsizing, or inversion, extremely unlikely. When a 30-foot breaking wave hits a cat beam, the boat will just surf sideways.


The Speed, the trimaran is the winner

Catamarans are recognized for their velocity, and some of them are capable of breaking world sailing records. They may travel at a pace of 15 to 30 mph, with the best reaching speeds of well over 60 knots.

Cruising catamarans may reach high speeds of 15 knots, or 17.3 mph, on average (27.84 kph). In the correct wind conditions; however, some excellent race cars cruise catamarans can reach speeds of up to 30 knots.

On downwind runs, reaches, and broad reaches, catamarans are usually faster than trimarans. Sailing a catamaran is less exhausting than sailing a trimaran. Sailing flat has a number of benefits. Carrying tanks and other diving equipment is significantly simpler on a cat if you are a SCUBA diver.

Catamarans are lighter than trimarans because they do not require a heavy keel. This, along with the fact that their sails are kept parallel to the wind, allows them to sail quicker than trimarans, especially on a run or broad reach.


Trimarans can often double monohull sailing speeds on practically every point of sail while cruising catamarans are typically 25-30 percent faster than a sailing monohull of the same length. Of course, when the boats are filled for cruising, these comparisons vary significantly.

A trimaran is more capable of sailing upwind than a catamaran, which is more susceptible to drifting. Trimarans are thus faster than catamarans, and this advantage is especially noticeable when sailing against the wind due to the weight centering in the central hull, which reduces pitching.

The third hull really makes trimarans substantially quicker than any other hull form at a given length based on the relation between speed and a boat’s ‘waterline length,’ i.e. that more hull distance in the water leads to higher speeds.

Which is Better: A Trimaran or a Catamaran?

Catamarans are ideal for hosting gatherings and parties while keeping their stability on the water.

A trimaran is a more ideal boat for you if you want to develop your sailing talents on something more challenging. Furthermore, if you’re a speed demon, keep an eye out for the fastest trimaran boats and choose the one that best meets your needs.

While choosing between a trimaran and a catamaran appears simple on paper, it becomes more difficult when you are in front of the fact, or better yet, in front of the boat.