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Old 20-06-2015, 09:39   #1
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Dragonfly for passages

We're wondering about the suitability of a Dragonfly 1200 for extended passages. The 3500lb or so payload is in the ballpark with other boats we're considering. The promo material claims offshore capability, but that can mean many things. Has anyone done extended cruising on one of these? How do the hinges/folding mechanisms hold up?

Any insights appreciated.
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Old 20-06-2015, 20:04   #2
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

Hi Joe,

I think there's a frequent poster here who lives on Whidbey Is. and owns a smaller DF. I can't remember his screen name though. Maybe I'll recall it. Edited to add that in the next thread I read "Fast Tri's need advice" there he was: Seniormechanico has a DF 1000. Hopefully he'll chime in, maybe offer a ride…. Maybe he's a member of NWMA if you post there.

People sail Farrier 25C's and to Alaska in 5 days through 40m knot winds. That sounds pretty capable. Farrier 28's too. If all else fails you could buy my Farrier/Corsair 28, priced to sell fast.


Eric
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Old 20-06-2015, 20:53   #3
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

Joe,
I own a Dragonfly 1200 going on 6 years now, and I'm the second owner of this 2001 vintage boat after having owned a DF 1000 and DF 920 before it. I have not done "extended" cruising, as we use it mostly for day sailing and vacation/weekend coastal cruising and the longest we've been out is 3 weeks at a time.

To answer your questions:
We've not had any issues with the folding mechanism but I'm a believer in preventive maintenance and they could have issues if neglected (like any other rigging or moving mechanism on a yacht).
As for offshore capable; the boat is CE rated category A (ocean crossing) and I know of several that have crossed the Atlantic on their own bottoms. (I heard one is underway currently). Would it stand up to the "Baja Bash? Probably (I've never experienced it and don't want to) but you or I might not. It's better than a cat when beating into heavy seas, but it's a light buoyant boat. It would have less motion than a heavier monohull but the motion would be quicker, and under that circumstance you would want to slow the boat down for your own crew comfort.

With regard to capacity, tankage might be an issue unless you fit a desalination system, as they only hold about 40 gallons each of fuel and water. That's fine for coastal cruising and you want to keep these boats light for performance reasons. I have the 59 hp Volvo-Penta engine and average about 1.2GPH at 7.5 knots. We use about 8-10 gallons of fresh water per day (2 people combined, YMMV). Even though trimaran cabins are less roomy (for a given LOA) than other hull configurations, you should bear in mind that the amas provide lots of space for bulky low density gear such as specialty sails, fenders, bridles, cleaning buckets and storing trash/recycling until the next port. Monohulls need to take precious cabin or locker space for such items. Cats usually have a bow compartment available for such things.

Please feel free to ask me anything. I might be able to give better answers if I know more about your intended uses.
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Old 20-06-2015, 23:58   #4
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

Eric - I'm hoping senormechanico chimes in. We'll see. The results of the Race 2 AK should boost the stock of Corsairs. By the time we get back from fishing, you'll be shopping for your new cat. We hope to get out of town Monday and won't return until mid-September, so our investigations will have to happen over the web/email until then. I have to admit, we're getting antsy. It's not like we've got 5 years to put into looking.

SailFastTri - this info is very helpful. We're retiring from commercial fishing this year and are looking to get back into a multihull. We're planning on sailing back to Alaska and exploring some of the places we haven't been (Aleutians). We're also interested in exploring Patagonia. Along the way there will probably be some ocean passages both in the Atlantic and the Pacific. While things change all the time, we're not planning on spending a lot of time hanging out in the tropics. We've looked at a couple of performance cats in the 40 - 50 foot range, and that's probably the best solution, but I have a personal preference for tris, and of the tris available, the Dragonfly 1200 has the most promise. A desalinator and diesel cabin heater would be essential. The dodger and cockpit appear to provide sufficient protection at the helm. Baja Bash - I haven't done that either, but I have bashed from Florence, Oregon to Neah Bay and bashed various routes of the Inside Passage from Puget Sound to Alaska and back. Given that I'm a "slow learner", I expect further bashing in the years ahead.

Preventative maintenance? What kind of maintenance does the folding mechanism require? I gather the wires holding the cross-arms in place need to be replaced periodically with expensive parts for Quorning. Anything else? Do you find the sails easy to manage? It's a big sail plan for a 12 meter boat, but no bigger than the other boats we're considering.
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Old 21-06-2015, 05:11   #5
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

Having read some of Beth and Evans's tales of sailing Patagonia; for that I'd be looking for a heavily constructed aluminum monohull with large tanks and hatches that can stand up to being rolled. Evans also wrote about nightly catabolic winds approaching hurricane force. A high SA/D multihull with thin-skinned composite hulls is going to require more babying under such conditions, as it's more critical to avoid contact with the hard stuff around you.

As for the Aleutians, I've watched enough episodes of Deadliest Catch to know that Dragonfly tris (or F-boats) or any other lightly built performance multihull are not ideal for such conditions. Not saying they can't go there, but cruising is not racing and there are more practical choices.

Now to answer your questions: As you noted, the factory says Dragonfly water stays should be replaced on a (conservative) 5 year schedule. The (other) cables that run through the net perimeters and aft beam should be checked annually like any other wire rigging and replaced as needed. I replaced mine after 12 years as PM, because a cable developed a one-strand "meat hook" so I did them all. The folding lines and sheaves are no different than any other running rigging so they need to be checked now and then. Not rocket science, and a rigger can handle anything needed.
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Old 21-06-2015, 05:59   #6
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

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Originally Posted by ejlindahl View Post
Hi Joe,


People sail Farrier 25C's and to Alaska in 5 days through 40m knot winds. That sounds pretty capable. Farrier 28's too. If all else fails you could buy my Farrier/Corsair 28, priced to sell fast.


Eric
The boats you mentioned above are not "passage makers" and don't have the load/tank capacity for long term voyage provisions. They would likely flip the first time they encounter the catabolic (catabatic?) winds Evens described in Patagonia.
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Old 21-06-2015, 09:27   #7
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

SaiFastTri -
I think Eric was joking about the Corsairs.

I appreciate your concern about the suitability of multis for some of the places we're interested in exploring. The boat I have is probably the most suitable for that, but it doesn't sail. Not that it's a good idea, but we've always pushed the limits of suitability of our things - cars, boats, motorcycles. For us it's a matter of paying attention, evaluating risks, and being able to deal whatever events arise. We could always be caught out, but so far, so good. For examples of cruising multis sailing high latitudes, you can look at Cassanovas with their Horstman tri (Cape Horn) and David and Kathy Kane on Lightspeed (Aleutians). FWIW, Deadliest Catch is sensationalized coverage of the winter crab fishery. Travelling through the Aleutians in the Summer will likely involve a lot of motoring through fog. And those katabatic (with a "K") winds are called williwaws in Alaska. We know them well.

Again, very useful information on the DF1200. I've read of a few instances of problems with the folding mechanism. I just don't want the thing folding up on me in a gale. I gather your DF12 has been relatively trouble free as boats go.
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Old 21-06-2015, 09:40   #8
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

Yup just joking. But the competitors, (combatants), in the Race to Alaska endured some pretty sporty sailing for such boats. Theres a guy on this forum that sailed his 40 -50' cat I think from Japan to the Alutiens and down our coast a year or so ago. Mike Reed but I forget his screen name too. Darn this getting old.
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Old 21-06-2015, 10:11   #9
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

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Originally Posted by jdazey View Post
SaiFastTri -

snip

Again, very useful information on the DF1200. I've read of a few instances of problems with the folding mechanism. I just don't want the thing folding up on me in a gale. I gather your DF12 has been relatively trouble free as boats go.
Yes, no issues that maintenance of components' normal wear couldn't cure.

One other thing, if you are serious about sailing in heavy weather: The Dragonfly nets are a close mesh which is better for comfort, but once the winds get up to full gale force it could be a contributing factor to capsize by adding lift under the windward hull. I've sailed in steady 35 gusting to 50k and it wasn't a problem, and been on a mooring in 70k+ gusts but I could tell it wasn't helping either. The 1200 is a much heavier boat than the other models and less affected but regardless; a more open mesh would mitigate this.

I've had my nets re-sewn with Tenara thread and replaced the polyester webbing so they're going to be with me for a long time, but I'd spend the $ to replace them if planning the trips you are.
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Old 21-06-2015, 12:52   #10
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

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Old 21-06-2015, 20:31   #11
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

Eric - Those R2AK guys are a lot tougher than we are

SailFastTri -Good tip about the bow nets. We'll keep that in mind. We don't go looking for heavy weather, but sometimes it finds us.

Senormechanico - message received. Thanks.
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Old 28-10-2015, 16:30   #12
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

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I have a personal preference for tris, and of the tris available, the Dragonfly 1200 has the most promise. A desalinator and diesel cabin heater would be essential.
Did you take a look at the Neel 45 trimaron?
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Old 28-10-2015, 20:17   #13
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

We did briefly consider the Neel 45. It didn't make the short list for a couple of reasons, one of which was the helm position. While protected, it's remote from the passengers. We come from a background of Pivers, Cross's, Horstmans, Browns, Newicks, etc.. The Neel is probably a great boat but too much of the condomaran aesthetic for us.

In the end we bought a Chris White cat. The Dragonfly was very tempting, but we succumbed to the additional accommodation of a cat. I have no doubt I'll miss the Dragonfly performance.
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Old 30-10-2015, 01:42   #14
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

I been looking at the dragonfly 1200 as well seems they don't market it very much and don't know if they ever made very many of them. The boat has existed for some quite years but don't know if it had any updates.
Would also want to circumnavigate. Spend most of the time in the Pacific but there are some things I would need improvement on.
I need a lot more galley. Seen that the DF35 can be made with a larger Galley. Perhaps this option is available on the 1200 but the website is very minimal on information.
I would also want to have a lot more deskspace being a ham operator I need to fit a lot of equipment.
I I think there should be a separete sub-forum for dragonfly.

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Old 30-10-2015, 03:47   #15
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Re: Dragonfly for passages

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Originally Posted by jdazey View Post
We did briefly consider the Neel 45. It didn't make the short list for a couple of reasons, one of which was the helm position. While protected, it's remote from the passengers. We come from a background of Pivers, Cross's, Horstmans, Browns, Newicks, etc.. The Neel is probably a great boat but too much of the condomaran aesthetic for us.

In the end we bought a Chris White cat. The Dragonfly was very tempting, but we succumbed to the additional accommodation of a cat. I have no doubt I'll miss the Dragonfly performance.
I would be interested in knowing which model of Chris White you got ,we looked at a Voyage 46, before we got our Outremer.
I doubt that your passages will be slower than the DF. Big performance oriented cats soak up the miles with little effort ,and the crew stays comfortable. I am sure that the DF is capable but you may find you're throttling back for comfort, seamanship reasons
Congratulations on the new boat
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