Dragonfly Trimaran Boat Functions – Rudder, Outboard Motor and Centreboard Systems

Here is an in-depth guide on how the Rudder, Outboard Motor and Centreboard Systems work on a Dragonfly Trimaran.


12m 10s – Rudder system

14m 59s – Outboard motor system

18m 00s – Centreboard system

Dragonfly trimaran sail guide boat functions rudder outboard centreboard

Rudder System

12m 10s

Here’s how the rudder system works on the Dragonfly 28 Performance. It is the same principle on all four Dragonfly models.  The rudder has a kick up system, so if you hit the ground a quick release will open up and the rudder pops up automatically.

On the performance boats the rudder blades have a high gloss finish.  When they are not being used, they need to be pulled up out of the water.  On the touring models, the rudder blades are antifouled and can stay in the water all the time without any problem.

To operate the rudder, there is a downhaul system and another line to pull it up.

On the tiller, near deck level, you will see a small cleat.  Stand up and pull on the line, raising the rudder blade.  When the rudder is up the Dragonfly team recommend securing the tiller so the rudder blade doesn’t swing around.  On the 28 (and also on the 25) there is an outboard motor, so it’s good to make sure they don’t come into contact with each other.

All rudder blades are made with an epoxy composite and are actually lighter than water.  To drop the rudder blade, release the line, then pull down on the downhaul system at the same time and make sure that you hear a clunk, it’s very important that the rudder is down the whole way so it is fully balanced while you are sailing. Cleat off the lines.

If you feel that the tiller is difficult to use while under sail, it is likely that the rudder blade has lifted a bit.  Make sure that it is all the way down so you have the right balance.

Dragonfly trimaran sail guide boat functions rudder outboard centreboard
Dragonfly trimaran sail guide boat functions rudder outboard centreboard

Outboard Motor System

14m 59s

The Dragonfly 25 and Dragonfly 28 have a Honda 15hp with an especially made extra long shaft extension.  Power trim and electrical start, so it’s almost like an inboard engine.

The tiller is next to the outboard so they can be used together when manoeuvring the boat.  Tilt the engine down using the power trim on the throttle handle.  Straighten the outboard by hand and connect the specially designed engine-tiller-link, which locks in place with a ball and pin, it works brilliantly.  This way the boat is much easier to manoeuvre.

To start the engine, make sure the throttle is in neutral, then turn the key.  Push the throttle forward to engage foward, or back to engage in reverse.  The only thing you need to be careful with is that when you are motoring, keep the rudder blade either fully up or fully down.  If you have the rudder blade partially up while manoeuvring it can come into contact with the propeller.  If you are moving into shallow waters, just pull the rudder up the whole way and manoeuvre the boat using the tiller and engine only.  To trim further, you can use the electric trim on the outboard when going into a beach, for example.  It works brilliantly.

This is the perfect way for manoeuvring this boat under power.  The engine throttle is mounted on the underside of a seat hatch, so while being used the hatch is open and the throttle is in a convenient location, and when under sail you simply close the hatch and it is all packed away and out of sight.

When you are in a marina, to keep things simple you can lift the engine out of the water (using the electric tilt switch) and leave the engine-tiller-link attached.  It’s a quick way to pack up for the day.

Dragonfly trimaran sail guide boat functions rudder outboard centreboard
Dragonfly trimaran sail guide boat functions rudder outboard centreboard

Centreboard System

18m 00s

The centreboard system is the same principle on all four Dragonfly models. The centreboard itself is a composite laminate foam sandwich construction, and is lighter than water.

There are 2 lines to control the centreboards, one line to pull it up (or keep it up) and one line to push it down.  The ‘up’ line is mainly used to keep the centreboard up when it is out of water, for example when you are cradling or transporting the boat.  The centreboard raises up into the hull 100% so nothing sticks out the bottom.

There is a specially designed cleat which is spring loaded and on a pivot.  If the centreboard is down and you hit something, the cleat is designed to automatically release the ‘down’ line.

Before pulling down the centreboard, make sure that the line that pulls it up has been released.  Using the ‘down’ line, put two wraps around the winch and winch it in until the marker appears in line with the cleat.  Push the line down firmly so it catches in the cleat and remove the tail end from the winch.

Keep the centreboard down while you are manoeuvring and while you are sailing.  If you are sailing on a beam reach you only need the centreboard half way down, and if you have a longer downwind leg you can raise the centreboard, however in general, keep the centreboard down at all times.

If you go into a beach and you need the centreboard up, just release the ‘down’ line from the cleat and let the centreboard raise automatically.  This way you wont make a hole in your boat.

Dragonfly trimaran sail guide boat functions rudder outboard centreboard
Dragonfly trimaran sail guide boat functions rudder outboard centreboard