For hotels and resorts company, see Outrigger Hotels & Resorts. For ski equipment, see Outrigger ski.
Relief of Borobudur Temple (8th century AD) in Central Java, Indonesia, showing a ship with outrigger
Outrigger on a contemporary Hawaiian sailing canoe

An outrigger is a projecting structure on a boat, with specific meaning depending on types of vessel.

Powered vessels and sailboats

An outrigger describes any contraposing float rigging beyond the side (gunwale /ˈɡʌnəl/) of a boat to improve the vessel's stability. If a single outrigger is used it is usually but not always windward.[1]

In an outrigger canoe and in sailboats such as the proa, an outrigger is a thin, long, solid, hull used to stabilise an inherently unstable main hull. The outrigger is positioned rigidly and parallel to the main hull so that the main hull is less likely to capsize. If only one outrigger is used on a vessel, its weight reduces the tendency to capsize in one direction and its buoyancy reduces the tendency in the other direction.

On a keelboat, "outrigger" refers to a variety of structures by which the running rigging (such as a sheet) may be attached outboard (outside the lateral limits) of the boat's hull. The Racing Rules of Sailing generally prohibit[2] such outriggers, though they are explicitly permitted on specific classes, such as the IMOCA Open 60[3] used in several major offshore races.


In fishing from vessels, an outrigger is a pole or series of poles that allow boats to trawl more lines in the water without tangling and simulates a school of fish.


Early racing sculls with outriggers in 1851.

In a rowing boat or galley, an outrigger (or just rigger) is a triangular frame that holds the rowlock (into which the oar is slotted) away from the saxboard (gunwale for gig rowing) to optimize leverage. Wooden outriggers appear on the new trireme around the 7th or 6th centuries BC and later on Italian galleys around AD 1300 while Harry Clasper (1812–1870), a British professional rower, popularised the use of the modern metal version and the top rowing events accepted the physiological and ergonomic advantages so acceded to its use in competitions. Wing-riggers are made by some manufacturers of racing shells which are reinforced arcs or form a single projection akin to aircraft wings instead of conventional thin metal triangular structures.

See also

Look up outrigger in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.


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  1. Early Ships and Seafaring: Water Transport Beyond Europe; Sean McGrail; Glossary
  2. ""The Racing Rules of Sailing 2017-2020"" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-12.
  3. ""Class Rules - IMOCA 60 (Open 60 Monohull)"" (PDF). Retrieved 2016-11-12.
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