Trimarans are ideal boats for Australia’s shoal waters thanks to their shallow draft, large deck space and performance, so the Dragonfly 25 should feel right at home here, writes KEVIN GREEN.
As record breaking trimarans demonstrate these craft have performance as their central premise, so adding some liveability as found here on the Dragonfly 25, creates a fast passage maker with enough space for a small family. The downside can be mooring them but this isn’t a problem with this Danish made trailer-sailer that has a patented folding system which allows them to use a monohull berth, or be legally towed on Australian roads on its breakback trailer. For launching, the rig can be stepped by leveraging a spinnaker pole against the mast, something I’ve done with similar boats including Corsairs and Farriers in the past. Another attraction is their stability, as trimarans’ wide beam and weight centred in the main hull means these smaller designs are more stable than similar catamarans; an important consideration for going offshore. The trimaran concept of the deep central hull with swing keel gives the sensation and performance that monohull sailors will relate to while also having the enhanced stability that the generously proportioned amas create, to reduce the chances of the dreaded pitch-poling; that multhulls can suffer from.
The Dragonfly 25 that launched in 2016 comes in two versions: a Touring one and Sport version with 1.3m taller carbon rig. Our review boat was the latter, imported by The Multihull Group (TMG) for both fun sailors and those keen on the silverware. As I found out when offshore from Sydney, it’s a lively performance trailer-sailer with three berth accommodation and the feel of a big dinghy, so ideal for newbie multihullers. These quality Dragonfly trimarans command a fairly hefty price but what you get is a well made boat that will last and shouldn’t break down on remote voyages along the Australian coasts; something they are ideal for. The range also has a 28, 32 and for 2019, a 40 model. These have succeeded a 35 model that TMG also has in stock and I found to be a sturdy offshore cruiser, ideal for fast off-the-wind passage making along our coasts.
The deep, long cockpit can fit two crew with the steerer usually on the tramps.
Approaching the mooring, the first thing I noticed was the large length of the amas in relation to the hull, which gives both good lateral and forward stability on the Dragonfly 25. Large curved composite beams connect the structure while elevating the amas up to reduce water-drag. These also retract backwards via lines and jammers to fold the boat into a monohull shape that is stable enough to sit at a marina berth with the mast stepped. This proved a solid structure when deployed in the lumpy seas off Sydney, with no groans or shudders as our three crew pushed the boat hard to windward. Hull finish also looked good, with a large lip over the deck join. The build is hand-laid biaxial glass cloth set in polyester resin around a Divinycell closed-cell foam core; which gives positive buoyancy while the hull is heavily rockered to promote manoeuvrability. The ama wings and structural bulkheads are set in vinylester and heat-cured in an oven to stiffen them.
Sail controls are well laid out, allowing crew to easily unfurl both head sails and adjust the mast rotation.
The deck layout on the Sport version has all sail controls running via jammers to the cabin top with the main track bisecting the cockpit which allows the steerer to sit behind; or more likely to be outboard on the trampolines with twin tiller extensions. A hefty 8:1 block setup ensures there’s plenty of purchase on the main sheet and the track uses the full beam of the hull to create enough scope for useful trimming. A very similar arrangement to a Corsair I’ve enjoyed doing regattas with in the past. The rudder is in a sleeve for easy deployment while alongside on the transom is enough space for the 6hp outboard. Sensibly, there are sturdy liferails on the pushpit and the pulpit of the Dragonfly. Hatch space is also good with man-size ones in each ama (for storage and in case of problems) while the cabin has a rounded one ahead of the mast. The Sport’s rotating mast creates a smooth luff profile while the carbon build reduces weight aloft and improves stiffness. This is greatly aided by sidestays running to the aft quarters of each ama. The sailplan used Elevstrom EPEX laminate sails with slab reefing in the main while up front the Code 0 flew from the bowsprit with self-tacking jib inside it. These are controlled by sizeable Andersen winches and all lines are of a good diameter for handling.
Trailer-sailers give you the freedom of both the open sea and the open road, so I’ve lived in mine while travelling around Europe in the past. Similarly here with the Dragonfly 25, on your way to the Whitsundays you can climb aboard to use its three berths. Up front the porta potta is not the most savoury item in the small cabin but in an emergency will do. Near the companionway is a single burner metho stove and what is most remarkable is the lack of an intruding keel box under the foldable table. Danish designer and company owner Jens Quorning has cleverly offset it into the bench seating so there is floor space and even head room if you perch below the main hatch.
The Dragonfly's carbon mast rotates to create a smooth luff profile and is designed for quick unstepping.
The Touring version can have a boom tent to increase the living space and protect from the searing Aussie sun. I didn’t see any instruments or lights on our review boat but a couple of solar panels with a small battery can run a myriad of LED’s and would not be onerous to fit. For simplicity there is clamp-on LED navigation lights that are standalone as well. For victuals, there is storage, including space under the cockpit for one of those new eskys that keeps ice for several days.
OFFSHORE AT SYDNEY
Along with my crew of Jack and Rowan, we sped past North Head in a lovely 12kt northerly breeze which suited the Dragonfly perfectly. Lacking the twin tiller extensions I had to perch in the cockpit but this proved fine enough to enjoy the Dragonfly, with main sheet at hand which allowed me to ease it before each tack as we worked our way towards Manly Beach. The self-tacking jib took care of itself so it was easy sailing, which is good for bother cruisers and racers on the Dragonfly. Hard on the wind at about 40° the windward hull flew a couple of feet off the water while the sharp bow and chines of the hull kept us tracking safely. Switching on my phone Navionics showed us moving at 10kts and the tiller felt balanced and responsive, just like a skiff or racing dinghy. This gave us the confidence for a kite run back to the harbour so we hoisted the asymmetric from its bag, pulled up the lifting keel and skipped along at 13kts across the sparkling seas to inside the Heads where it was easily floated and gybed round the forestay before we did a letterbox drop. Alternatively, in the past I’ve simply dropped them down the forehatch of similar trimarans for quick deployment on the next run. Under power on the way home, I found that operating the 6hp outboard was fairly easily done and it’s well clear of the water when tilted up. Clearly the fun factor was apparent in spades on the Dragonfly 25 and the ease with which this is achieved should give this 25ft trailer-sailer wide appeal. Dragonfly 25 Sport Specifications Price $215,000
Powering to windward under self-tacking jib and flying an ama reduces the wetted area on the Dragonfly.
DRAGONFLY 25 SPORT SPECIFICATIONS
(Touring version $180,000)
LOA folded 8.95m
Beam sailing 5.80m
Beam folded 2.30m
Trailer beam 2.30m
Mast Sport 11.80 carbon rotating (Touring alloy rotating 10.50m)
Draft board up 0.35m
Draft board down 1.50m
Bowsprit length 1.40m
Engine 6hp outboard
Mainsail Sport 29m2(Touring 24m2)
Jib 12m2 (10m2)
Code 0 30m2 (25m2)
Gennaker 60m2 (45m2)
Weight inc trailer 1,800kg
Design Jens Quorning and Steen Olsen