It was drizzling and chilly the day the Boat of the Year team paid a dockside visit to the Dragonfly 32 Supreme during last fall’s U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis. With a half-dozen of us packed into the slender cabin to hear the builder explain the concept behind the Danish-built trimaran, I recall it being pleasant enough, but, well, tight. It reminded me of the way monohull sailboats used to feel down below, before designers started to widen things up to put three sleeping cabins, two heads and a full saloon into that size of a footprint.
When a few folks moved topsides, though, it was easy to picture a couple or a small family nestled into the two settees that flank the centerline drop-leaf table, the boat rocking gently in some shallow, quiet cove. Between the V-berth forward, the comfy foldout settees, and a crawl-in double tucked away behind the companionway ladder, there’d be plenty of room for everyone to sleep. In the fully equipped galley, the cook could whip up tasty meals over the course of a two- or three-week cruise. And with the pop-up centerboard and draft of just over a foot and a half (6 feet 3 inches, board down), heck, you could just about park the boat on the beach when it came time to jump in for a dip.
With its outriggers folded in, the Dragonfly fits into a conventional 12-foot-wide slip. But with the amas folded out to their full 26-foot beam, the Dragonfly’s sharp entry and sleek lines suggested only good things could happen when the square-top main was set along with the 100 percent working jib for tacking upwind, or with the screacher rolled out off the breeze.
And only good things did.
A few days later I boarded the boat with the judges again, this time out on Chesapeake Bay, and as quick as you could say “trim that sheet,” we were off to the races and having a ball. In about 12 knots of breeze we saw speeds in the 8-plus-knot range under the jib, and better than 13 knots with the big foresail set on a reach.
BOTY judge Tim Murphy pretty much summed it up when he recalled afterward, “What a fun boat to sail — holy cow!” His colleague Ed Sherman added, “I’m impressed with the quality of that boat. It had some of the lowest noise ratings of all the boats we tested, which was mind-boggling to me because this is sort of a light boat. My expectation was it was going to be noisy, slamming around out there, but that wasn’t the case.”
Indeed, in somewhat lumpy conditions, the tri danced across the waves, heeling only a few degrees as the amas dipped in and went to work translating wind speed directly into boat speed.
The Dragonfly comes in a couple of configurations. The touring version includes an aluminum mast and boom, a 25-horsepower outboard engine, and tiller steering (a wheel is optional). We sailed the racer model, with a carbon rig 2 meters taller. The boat also had the optional 20-horsepower Yanmar diesel and saildrive.
The Dragonfly isn’t a cheap boat. The base price is $350,000, and the version we sailed had a price tag of about $400,000. But the build quality was impressive, and the equipment and hardware were top-shelf. For the monohull sailor looking for a turn of speed not possible in your traditional racer/cruiser, along with standing headroom and volume to carry family or crew in comfort, it’s a boat that would definitely merit a test sail. If you take one, I’m guessing you’ll come back grinning.
For more about the Dragonfly, call 908-656-4342; dragonfly.dk.
Mark Pillsbury is CW’s editor.