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a Proa in the island area of ​​the Caroline Islands
Proa as a new building

The Proa or Prau , Malay perahu , Dutch. prauw , engl. prow is a type of sailing ship from Indonesia and the South Pacific . In the Malay language, perahu stands for "boat", "sailing boat" and in the narrower sense for an outrigger boat with a sail.

The unusually narrow hulls are usually built from hard teak . A large number of Prau types emerged under the influence of foreign cultures. These include the Prau Mayang , the Prau Bedang from Madura and the Paduakan from Java . The latter is up to 30 m long and 6 m wide. A common feature of all Prau types are asymmetrically set sails.

Proas or outrigger canoes are beside the catamarans and trimarans the multihulls . A proa has two hulls, one larger than the other. Proas are sailboats and typically use a crab claw sail . In addition to the crab claw sails, there have recently been models that are driven by means of a kite , a stunt kite. In this model, the sailor sits on a roller-bearing seat, which can be moved on a rail between the hulls. By shifting the center of gravity, higher speeds are possible than with many monohull boats.

The rig is located on the large hull (Waka, also Wa'aka) , the small hull is always driven to windward (the side facing the wind). It serves as a counterweight, the balance is done by team members.

Turning maneuver of a traditional outrigger canoe

In contrast to monohulls, the Proa does not have a tack or jibe where the bow or stern is brought by the wind. Since the boat is longitudinally symmetrical, the bow and stern are simply exchanged when changing direction (also called shunting , see video below).


  • Alfred Dudszus: The great book of ship types: Ships, boats, rafts under oars and sails, steamers, motor ships, marine technology. Pietsch Verlag, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-613-50391-3
  • Stefan Gulás: sailing ships . Werner Dausien Verlag, Hanau 1987, ISBN 3-7684-0776-4
  • Björn Landström: The Ship - From the dugout canoe to the nuclear boat. C. Bertelsmann Verlag, Gütersloh 1961

Web links

Commons : Proas  - collection of images, videos, and audio files
Wiktionary: Prau  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Dudszus, p 216
  2. Landström, p. 224
  3. a b Gulás, p. 84
  4. Kiteproa (JPG) Retrieved May 19, 2010.
  5. The Proa-Wende - animation of the shunt process . Retrieved February 4, 2019.