Dragon­fly 25

Small tri­marans are ideal boats for coastal wa­ters thanks to their shal­low draught, large deck space and per­for­mance, so the Dragon­fly 25 should feel right at home in New Zealand.

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY KEVIN GREEN

A fold­ing tri­maran that mar­ries tow­ing and stow­ing con­ve­nience with pul­sat­ing per­for­mance.

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 it to use a mono­hull berth. Or it can live on its break-back 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.

By the way, it’s sad to note the sud­den death late last year of the founder of both of th­ese com­pa­nies, Ian Far­rier, at age 73.

New Zealand’s pre-em­i­nent small tri­maran de­signer, Far­rier de­vel­oped his own fold­ing ama sys­tem that lives on in the thriv­ing Far­rier Ma­rine in Christchurch as his legacy.

Among a tri­maran’s other at­trac­tions is sta­bil­ity, as its 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 can af­flict mul­ti­hulls.

The Dragon­fly 25 – launched in 2016 – comes in two ver­sions: Tour­ing and Sport, which has a 1.3m taller car­bon rig. Our re­view boat was the lat­ter, im­ported by The Mul­ti­hull Group (TMG) for cruis­ing sailors and those keen on the sil­ver­ware. As I found out (off­shore from Syd­ney), it’s a lively per­former with a three-berth ac­com­mo­da­tion and the feel of a big dinghy – ideal for new­bie mul­ti­hullers.

Th­ese 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 Bay of Is­lands and coasts. 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-thewind pas­sage-mak­ing. FIRST IM­PRES­SIONS Ap­proach­ing the moor­ing, the first thing I no­ticed was the elon­gated amas in re­la­tion to the hull, which give both good

lat­eral and for­ward sta­bil­ity on the Dragon­fly 25. Large curved com­pos­ite beams con­nect the struc­ture while el­e­vat­ing the amas to re­duce 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 (this gives pos­i­tive buoy­ancy) while the hull is heav­ily rock­ered to pro­mote ma­noeu­vra­bil­ity. The ama wings and struc­tural bulk­heads are set in vinylester and heatcured in an oven to stiffen them.

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 in race mode out­board on the tram­po­lines with twin tiller ex­ten­sions. A hefty 8:1 block setup en­sures there’s plenty 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 Cor­sairs I’ve raced in re­gat­tas 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 stain­less guard rails on the push­pit and the pul­pit of the Dragon­fly. Hatch space is also good with man-sized 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 side-stays run­ning to the aft quar­ters of each ama. The sailplan used Elvstrom 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.

LIV­ING ABOARD

Trailer-sail­ers give you the free­dom of both the open sea and the open road – I’ve lived in mine while trav­el­ling around Europe in the past. Sim­i­larly, with the Dragon­fly 25, on your way to the Bay of Is­lands you can climb aboard to use its three berths.

Up front the porta potty 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, re­mark­ably, there is no 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 head­room if you perch be­low the main hatch.

The Tour­ing ver­sion can have a boom tent to in­crease the liv­ing space and pro­vide sun pro­tec­tion. 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 LEDS and would not be oner­ous to fit. Also, for sim­plic­ity there are clamp-on LED nav­i­ga­tion lights that are stand­alone as well. Vict­uals stor­age is avail­able un­der the cock­pit for one of those new ice­boxes that stays frozen for a few days.

OFF­SHORE AT SYD­NEY

Along with my crew of Jack and Rowan, we sped past North Head in a lovely 12-knot 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

The self-tack­ing jib took care of it­self so it was easy sail­ing, which is good for both cruis­ers and rac­ers on the Dragon­fly. Hard on the wind at about 40o 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 10 knots 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 13 knots 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 op­er­at­ing the 6hp out­board was fairly easy 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 25-foot trailer-sailer wide ap­peal.

LEFT All pow­ered up and rar­ing to go. The Dragon­fly is an ex­hil­a­rat­ing per­former. RIGHT Nicely-con­fig­ured, with all lines lead­ing back to the cock­pit. BE­LOW Sail con­trols fall easy to hand – a sim­ple, func­tional lay­out.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.