Dragonfly 14 – A Family Oriented Trimaran/Skiff With Performance
Sailor Lance McIntosh is building this excellent-looking trimaran / skiff. He refers to it as the “Dragonfly 14 Trimaran.” He designed this sailboat himself. And as you can see, it’s apparent that he has paid a good amount of attention to detail and appearance.
The ultimate pay-off will be a daysailer that not only looks great, but offers performance to match. We certainly hope to hear more about this craft from Lance. As you will see in the pictures below, he has made plugs for the hulls, so this design can theoretically be offered as a production model if there is enough interest. (Thanks for sharing the below with us Lance :-)
Dragonfly 14 Trimaran/Skiff
by Lance McIntosh
I started sailing since the early 70′s when my family added a sail, dagger boards and rudder to a family canoe. Our second boat was a 14ft Foamcrest which we built from plans in 73. Over the years I have sailed a variety of dinghies, Hobie 14′s, Feather Cat, Hallcat and a Laser which is still a favorite. The Dabchick is still the wildest ride in the Cape Southeaster!
After two particularly cold and tiring experiences on my inverted Hobie 14, I began looking into small boat designs which would hold the Cape Southeaster offering speed, stability and single handed righting capacity. At that stage I began drawing trimaran designs and embarked on an initial trimaran project trying to construct a hybrid of Feather Cat hulls and a narrowed Laser hull. Due to family relocation, that was never completed; but the dream lived on!
Two years later, with a new house and workspace, I was ready to start again. I now live in Cape Town South Africa and am an active member of the Milnerton Aquatic Club.
In 2008, I had an opportunity to sail a Weta trimaran and decided to take another try at building an improved version of my original design. I went back to the drawing table and reconfigured everything.
I used Hullform program combined the Laser and Weta hull shapes. Dimensions were adapted to use existing Sonnet rigging and sails. (The Sonnet is a popular class in SA). The final 14ft hull is narrower than the Weta and carries a transom shape similar to the Laser.
After a dozen different sketches of boats that fit the general design motif, between a performance skiff and a small, quick trimaran, I settled on a hull design that had virtually the same dimensions as the Weta and the Sonnet. The main hull got just a bit wider than my original design and narrower than the Weta in the process.
I am presently building this 14-ft trimaran, which I’m referring to as the “Dragonfly 14.” It’s basically a homebuilt sport trimaran.
Dragonfly 14 Trimaran Construction …
The construction will be fiberglass/epoxy sandwich laminates inside and out with 4mm marine plywood bracing. This design uses the same mast section and sails as the Sonnet dinghy. Its mast is available on the used market with a little bit of hunting around.
The aka beams and mast is anodized aluminum. Inboard ends of the ama tubes fit into fairly burly sockets in the hull. Use of aluminum tubing keeps the costs down, with but a slight weight penalty over all-carbon parts.
The overall design of the foils and their operation is pointed directly at the needs of a recreational sailor. This boat uses a centerboard for ease of use. Likewise, the rudder is a flip-up style unit that eliminates the problems of hitting underwater objects.
I opted to build full GRP molds for this project, enabling multiple construction, rather than a one-off boat. Full plugs were shaped using a combination of polyurethane foam and wood from which I have made gel-coat GRP molds.
The first pair of amas’ have been completed as well as the first lower half of the main hull. And the mold for the top deck is still to be constructed from the plug.
I plan to have the top deck mold complete by the end of August and the first topdeck complete by end Sept. If all proceeds well — trials by year end! (But these things do tend to pop some delay surprises …)
The mail and jib are standard to the Sonnet. And the screacher is furled from the bowsprit for simple convenience. I think this boat will appeal to sailing enthusiasts who just want to get out on the water and have a fun and fast experience without breaking the bank.
I have documented all my work photographically, some of which are presented in these pictures. Thanks again for the Small Tri web site. I follow it daily Keep it going!