Dragonfly Newsletter - on the occasion of the 25 years anniversary of the Swing Wing system 

25 Years of Swing Wing

Neither Børge nor Jens Quorning have ever been in doubt that the future of great sailing experiences were trimaran sailing. It was fast, convenient and great fun, and since the boats have no keel they can anchor in low waters. But at the same time, both of them knew, that there was one great disadvantage when sailing trimarans; the beam of the boats when entering the harbour,  “We knew it was the future key for the Dragonfly concept to come up with a simple system, where it would be possible to reduce the beam easy using no tools, so that the boat could fit into a regular slip.” Therefore, the year of 1988, Børge and Jens sat down and started to develop what would eventually be the Swing Wing system.
The idea about folding trimarans was not new. Several other trimaran producers had tried to solve this beam issue and there were already few different solutions made, but all too complex and difficult to operate in Børge and Jens’ view. The two of them had two important criteria that were different from other folding solutions: first, the boat should be able to stay in the water folded, secondly, the system should work very simple and with no use of tools. They quickly agreed that this meant that the floats should fold alongside the main hull, as this would provide the stability necessary for the boat to stay in water when folded. Next, the two entrepreneurs were inspired by the function and shape of a parallelogram. This meant that the transverse wings connecting the floats to the main hull should function as the pivot axis in the folding process. Even though they had the theoretical idea about the folding system, there were still many very difficult technical issues to be solved.
Among these technical issues Jens Quorning highlights the pivot section where the wing and the float  is joined, and how they could solve this and make it turn smooth with as little resistance as possible. Secondly, Jens also describes that they put a lot of thought into how the folding process should work with the rig, as this could not loose stability in the folding process either. The greatest challenge, though, was the fact that all of this should result in pulling in only one line. With the theoretical ideas set, they started working on the system throughout 1988 and 1989 based on a Dragonfly 800. In August 1989 the first Dragonfly 800 Swing Wing were launched, and it all worked perfectly. As Jens describes it, his father and him were not in doubt that this moment was decisive for the future success of Dragonfly. From this point the Swing Wing system has been a huge success. Even though two production lines of the Dragonfly 800 were planned, the old type and the Swing Wing type, from this point, people only wanted this new 800 with the Swing Wing system. Thus every model developed since the Dragonfly 800 has only been designed with the Dragonfly “Swing Wing” system. 

Since the introduction of the Swing Wing system 478 boats have been produced with this unique system. Today, the Swing Wing system on the newer models works basically in the same way, as that developed on the prototype 25 years ago. However with modern computer technology and more experience, the system has been improved and works even smoother compared to the launch 25 years ago. Today the fittings and the moulds are even more precise and t he boats more rigid, which improves the system heavily. Even though it is now 25 years ago the Swing Wing system was designed, it is still possible to amaze people with this system in the harbours and at the various boat shows. Thus, there is no doubt that the launch of the first Dragonfly 800 Swing Wing was one of the most innovative and important moments for Quorning Boats. 

First Introduction 

The Dragonfly 800 Swing Wing was at first introduced at a Danish local in-water boat show in Kolding, located not far from the yard. Børge describes, almost laughing, how the Dragonfly 800 were moored in a regular slip between other monohulls with the beam of 2.9 meters, and the Dragonfly were lying unfolded with its 5+ m. beam, and the visitors were wondering how the boat has got in there between the narrow mooring poles. They could not imagine that it was possible for a trimaran to fold.

Racing Around Denmark 

Later this same year, Jens sailed, together with his brother Eric Quorning and Bo Rasmussen, the special 650 NM Race around Denmark in this tiny new Dragonfly 800 Swing Wing; partly with the aim to set a new record, and partly to prove the stability of this new Swing Wing system to the rest of the sailing world, which they succeeded in. Shortly here after Børge and Jens went to Hamburg Boat Show and sold 3 boats. 
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