Boat Review: Dragonfly 28 Performance

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While many redesigns have more to do with marketing then with actual design, the recently launched Dragonfly 28 “Performance” from Denmark’sQuorning Boats (which follows in the wake of the company’s successful Touring and Sport versions) truly does push the envelope in a meaningful way to incorporate the latest in multihull technology.

At the heart of the trailerable Dragonfly 28 Performance’s new look and feel are a pair of dramatically reconfigured amas to enhance both speed and stability. Most noticeable are the wave-piercing bows, a design feature whose benefits cannot be overestimated when pushing a boat like this hard in rough conditions. Not so obvious, but equally important, is the fact that the amas are almost 2ft longer and provide 20 percent more volume, which in turn translates into sail-carrying ability. In fact, according to Quorning CEO Jens Quorning, the amas now provide sufficient buoyancy to fly the central hull like a MOD 70. Nice!

To take full advantage of this additional stability, the 28 Performance carries the same larger rig as the Sport version, but with even beefier spreaders and standing rigging to help support the boat’s carbon mast in blusterier conditions. The rudder is also 10in deeper to provide that much more control, and the centerboard features a nifty hinged hull opening to seal the trunk when it’s retracted. Laminated Elvstrøm Technora EEPX sails come standard. 

Construction of the hulls is in polyester with biaxial fibers and a divinycell foam core to promote stiffness while keeping weight to a minimum. Bulkheads are fabricated in vinylester and securely joined to the hull with vinylester adhesives to make the overall structure stiffer still. All molds were machined using a CNC 5-axis cutter to ensure a precise fit, and there is a retractable carbon sprit forward for flying a Code 0 on a German-made Bartels continuous-line furler. The main hull includes multiple chines and flares dramatically in the bow to deflect spray and maximize the usable space below. Not surprisingly given Quorning’s reputation, build quality is impeccable throughout.

Of course, the other Quorning trademark is practicality, and despite its red-hot speed potential, the Dragonfly 28 Performance is also chock-full of features that make it as user-friendly as it is fast. First and foremost among these is Quorning’s tried-and-true “Swing Wing” system, which makes it possible to easily deploy and retract the amas in as little as a minute. The boat is also perfectly stable with the amas retracted for motoring through a crowded mooring field. Auxiliary power is via a 15hp four-stroke Honda outboard, with engine controls to starboard.

Belowdecks, the 28 Performance boasts the same practical layout found aboard the Touring and Sport versions. This includes a 6ft-long forepeak berth, a compact but very workable galley straddling the companionway, and long, comfortable settees that would put the seating aboard many a larger cruising monohull to shame. Fun little features like a hinged footrest on the starboard-side settee (so your feet don’t have to dangle uncomfortably over the deep cockpit sole) and an extraordinarily large berth aft (I’m still at a loss as to how the design staff managed to get it all in there!) speak volumes as to how well this boat is put together. With the centerboard retracted, the Dragonfly 28 Performance draws just 15in, making it beachable. This is a boat that will cruise as well as it races.

Unfortunately, the day of our test sail was a light one. Nonetheless, unlike many multihulls this is a boat that is plenty of fun to ghost around in during a drifter, maintaining way and coming about smartly in even the faintest of zephyrs. Having sailed aboard the 28 Performance’s 32ft and 25ft cousins, I can also assure you that Quorning-made boats are an absolute blast to sail when it’s blowing stink as well. 

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April 2017

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