The Danish designed and built trimaran combines comfortable cruising accommodations with exciting sailing performance (published fall 2017)
In early June, we had the opportunity to cruise on a Dragonfly 28 “Touring” in Denmark’s “South Sea”. After a full week of sailing with the entire family over hundreds of miles, varied weather conditions, and multiple harbors, we got to know the boat, (and our family) very well.
We have sailed on a similarly sized trimaran for years in the Northeast United States. While we have often raced against Dragonflys, we had never sailed on one, and were excited to find out more.
After spending a week with this boat, we can honestly say we leave very impressed. This is a great compact cruiser: fun to sail, particularly in a breeze, but comfortable and full of cruising amenities. What impressed us most aside from the boat’s performance, were numerous little design details and the quality of construction. This is a sophisticated compact cruiser, and the level of thought that went into its design and execution clearly shows.
Dragonfly offers boats for charter to prospective owners or to anyone who simply wants to enjoy a trimaran near their plant in central Denmark. Should you decide to purchase, the fee is applied to the sale. The boats are brand new with all the latest factory features and docked in Skærbæk harbor minutes from the factory. We were delighted to see that a spinnaker was included. Your first day includes a factory tour and a sail with Frank, who will make sure you are familiar with every aspect of the boat. For those not familiar with trimarans, this is very helpful experience. Trimarans sail differently, and there are a lot of unique systems to know about on this boat.
The factory is located next to farmland. Denmark is a beautiful country When we visited Quorning, there were three boats under construction. Demand for these boats is high. Dragonfly produced over 50 boats last year that were shipped all over the world.
Dragonfly offers trimarans from 25 to 35 feet. The 28 Touring we sailed is offered as a fast cruiser. For those addicted to speed, Dragonfly offers the same boat with 20 percent more sail area and larger amas. Dragonfly’s are glass boats with PVC cored hulls and decks with selective carbon reinforcing. While the wet layup is traditional, these boats are carefully crafted by a skilled, experienced staff at Quorning Yachts. To control quality, the plant produces many assemblies in-house that are often contracted out by other builders. Quorning has a full rigging shop to produce their masts, although the mast sections are built by a local vendor, and a complete woodworking shop that builds all the cabinetry.
The centerboard resides in a central trunk that makes up the table support in the cabin. It’s controlled by a pennant on deck that is attached to an auto-release clam cleat to protect against impact. The aluminum mast is a fixed round section reinforced with a unique dual diamond spreader set-up. Jens Quorning selected a round section to reduce effect of lateral windage with the boat folded. Cap-shroud tension is adjustable.
There are a lot of control lines on the 28, and they all lead to the cockpit. However, Quoring has routed them under the cockpit coamings providing a natural place for stowage and minimizing the spaghetti on the cockpit floor.
CRUISING & ACCOMMODATIONS
The 28 Touring is a quick, compact cruiser with accommodation for five, an enclosed head, and a complete complement of systems including a full galley with electric fridge and pressure water; our boat even included a cabin heater. There are berths for five, but cruising with three or four is more realistic. It’s a traditional layout with a V-berth forward, port and starboard settee berths and a bonus double berth under the cockpit. The bonus berth would be a perfect hide-away for small children. For those of us who are older and a bit less flexible, you enter feet first, or head first, but turning around could be problematic.
Headroom at the galley is infinite with the hatch open. Otherwise it’s about five-foot, 10-inches throughout much of the cabin. There is a separate head that closes off from the forward V berth and the main cabin with sliding panels. The 15-hp Honda outboard pushes the boat over eight knots. We had adequate power to dock the boat in 30 knots of breeze.
Trimarans are fun to sail, but can be a liability in crowded harbors, particularly if most of the available dockage is in slips. The Dragonfly folding system erases this concern. The beams and amas fold back along the central hull, converting the boat to monohull width in less than 10 minutes. You can’t sail with the amas folded, but the boat maneuvers easily under power, with the amas tucked neatly out of the way next to the hull.
Unfolding and folding the boat is ridiculously easy. Two lines lead out of each cockpit in front of the secondary winch to either haul each ama out or in. There are three steps to unfolding: 1. Ensure the cap-shroud tension is released; 2. Crank out the hull; 3. Secure the safety wire (this is a hard connection to prevent folding if the out-haul line is accidently released). Reverse the procedure to fold. No tools required! We did this while motoring in and out of harbors. Head up into the wind, unfold the boat, raise the main and you’re off.
SAILING THE 28
We were on the boat for a week and passing weather systems offered a chance to sail in wide range of conditions:
Boat sailing performance under various conditions:
• Blast reaching with the wind in the mid 20s at 14-16 knots with occasional bursts higher. We saw up to 18.4 with a full jib, single reef in the main, and the apparent wind at 60 degrees. Maximum fun-run was a two hour sail from Ærøskøbing to Svenborg with the wind at just the right angle. And we did not get wet!
• Dead downwind with wind speeds in the high 20s to low 30s, with gusts to 35. We had the boat between 12 to 14 knots with occasional bursts over 16 surfing down waves. Single reef in the main, and a partially reefed jib. We either sailed at about 160 apparent with the jib drawing, or dead downwind with the jib wung-out to windward with the barber hauler. Controlling the jib with the barber hauler from the cockpit made everything very safe and easy.
• Tacking upwind in wind-speeds of eight to 12 knots, the boat tacks through a little over 90 degrees. Boat speeds ranged from 7.5 to 9 knots. As the day wore on and the wind increased to the mid to high teens with occasional gusts to 20, the boat would get up over 10 knots. Crack off a hair and boat speed immediately jumps to the mid-teens.
• Sailing downwind with the asymmetrical spinnaker in 10 to 15 knots the boat gets up to 10 when the apparent wind is brought to near abeam, but at the lower wind speeds the VMG suffers and we felt it was just as effective to head deeper.
• Sailing upwind in zero to eight knots on a bright sunny and calm morning before the breeze filled in. Like any sailboat, zero means the engine comes on, but with around four knots true, we started moving upwind with a decent tacking angle. Typical boat speeds were four-to-five knots. We had moments when the boat speed and true wind speed boat indicated close to the same at about seven knots. I’m not sure about the validity of this data, but the boat moved in light air.
This boat feels solid and planted to the ocean. She likes wind but we always felt safe and in control regardless of wind speed and sea conditions. The helm is balanced near neutral. It’s not dinghy light, but not unlike a large sport boat. We sailed in some solid breezes, but only experienced minor ventilation or cavitation on the rudder once when blast reaching.
We never really got wet! Between the wide, flared bow with chines that drive the spray down, the dodger, and relatively high sailing position, the spray rarely made it back to the cockpit. Full-disclosure, on the very windy days we also sailed downwind (which is the way it is supposed to be done!)
Unlike other tris, the amas remain in line with the main hull when unfolded, offering very little dihedral. Consequently, the windward hull remains in contact with the water until the wind is in the teens.
LIKES & DISLIKES
Things we really liked:
• Jib barber hauling system: this system is permanently installed and leads back to the cockpit. The geometry has been carefully thought out to provide good sail shape on reaches. We used it all the time when off the wind.
• Outboard cockpit seats : These allows you to get out of the cockpit to see jib tell-tales.
• Mood Lighting: There are two strings of LEDs behind wooden trim pieces on each side of the cabin overhead, which make for a warm cabin on a cold night (along with the cabin heater).
• Outboard steering: There is a linkage connecting the outboard to the tiller to direct thrust where you want it. This is invaluable for slow speed maneuvering.
• Large cockpit and cockpit table are great for socializing.
• Instruments location: The sailing instruments are mounted in an enclosure above the hatch high enough to be fully visible from any helm position.
• Cockpit dodger and enclosure: An optional bimini stores unobtrusively in the back of the cockpit ready to be made up into a sunshade or full enclosure when desired. It’s completely out of the way until you want it. We assembled it quickly one rainy evening in Faubourg and enjoyed the extra living space.
A few opportunities:
• Traveler: our boat didn’t have a traveler, but rather a boom vang/preventer arrangement consisting of port and starboard tackle that attached to the boom.
• While easy enough to connect, making simple adjustments to the main always required touching two lines, and a lot of a fiddling every time you tack. The boat is available with a traveler, and I recommend it.
• Outboard controls: Outboard controls were mounted under the cockpit locker lid, requiring the locker to be open when motoring and maneuvering. A simple single lever control fitted in the cockpit is preferred.
This boat does so many thing right. It goes anywhere: fold it and stay in a marina, anchor out, or beach it with the board up and have a picnic. It’s fast, solid, and seaworthy and performs well on all points of sail. Sailing past much larger monohulls never gets old and arriving early at your destination means the choice spots are still available.
If you are looking for a floating cottage with all the amenities, this boat is not for you. But if you want a high quality compact cruiser that is easily handled by two people and a blast to sail, consider the Dragonfly.
Dragonfly 28 ”Touring”
Beam (unfolded) 21’4”
Beam (folded) 8’2”
Draft (board down) 5’7”
Draft (board up) 1’4”
Displacement 4,620 lbs.
Sail area(working) 603 sq; ft.
Code 0 398 sq. ft.
Spinnaker 720 sq. ft.
Engine 15-hp outboard
+45 7556 2626
Steve Parks sails and races his F27 Flying Fish in the New England and New York area. Steve is a mechanical engineer and is a Senior Program Manager for Hydroid, Inc. Sandy Parks is Blue Water Sailing and Multihull Quarterly’s Art Director. They live in Middletown, RI.