Latest News...
What's On?
Weather & Tides
Sailing Photos

Dragonfly Class

Dragonfly One Class Design

The Dragonfly is a classic 14’ wooden clinker racing dinghy, first built and sailed on the River Deben in 1949. Some 40 boats were built over a period of 15 years, 10 of which are still sailed on the water today, with a number having been fully restored.

The Dragonfly is a two person racing dinghy, and the class welcomes sailors of every level from beginner to expert. The class is made up of sailors in all shapes, sizes, ages and abilities and openly encourages beginners to join in the class activities.

The class offers a full racing and social calendar, which includes Wednesday and Saturday racing throughout the season, and a range of social events, from the ever popular Launching Supper to BBQ’s and Pub Walks.

For more pictures of the Dragonfly Class at Waldringfield check the following albums:
Dragonfly Worlds – August 2021 – Photos Album 1 & Album 2
Dragonfly 70th Anniversary September 2019
Dragonfly Cartoon Sunday September 2018
Dragonfly World Champs – August 20218
Dragonfly Class – June 2018

Dragonfly’s History

The earliest reference to the formation of what became the Dragonfly Class appears in the WSC Committee Book for 1947, when a small sub-committee was formed to look into the question of a One-Design Class.

Having identified the basic criteria the sub committee set about the task of finding a suitable boat. After inspecting various boats and class designs they concluded that the most suitable was the North Norfolk 14ft, and it was agreed to borrow or hire one for a forthcoming regatta. But just two weeks later the future of the class was changed when Dr Palmer reported that he had obtained plans for a boat which appeared to meet the Club’s requirements. Two weeks later plans of a 14ft dinghy of modern design known as the “FUSS” type were inspected.

By 8th September 1948 the prospective owners agreed to adopt the O’Brien Kennedy design and inaugurate a class of “FUSS” type boats, which were being sailed by an Irish Club. Promptly afterwards on 21st September 1948 formal letters were written to Mr Nunn and Mr Robertson placing orders with each for 10 boats.

A decision was required to find a name to call the new class. Various suggestions were made by members of the club including the Waxwing Class and Deben Pewits but it was the Dragonfly Class that was carried unanimously. It was further unanimously agreed that the emblem of the class should be a silhouette of a Dragonfly and a registration number on the sails.

During the winter of 1948/49 construction of the first dragonflies were sufficiently under way and on 16th April 1949 a draw for the boats took place. Over the 1949 sailing season the first boats launched and took part in a race.

Since the first race the Dragonfly has been part of the river Deben. The boat is now over 70 years old and they need love and care to keep them sailing. Over recent years many of the boats remaining have been restored, which mean the fleet is now in a more viable state and look set to remain part of the river Deben for many more years to come.

LOA14ft. 0in
LWL13ft. 0in
Beam5ft. 0in
Sail Area125 sq.ft
DesignerO’Brien Kennedy, A.M.I.N.A

Dragonfly’s All Boats Built

It is with great regret that so many of the Dragonflies have passed into history and their location and history has been lost to those who now enjoy sailing them in one of the most beautiful place in the country.

No1 Moppet Nunn
No2Destroyed, Felix BarFantee1949Nunn
No7StorageWhisp Tiptoes1949Nunn
No8Never built   
No10Raced/RestoredPink Djinn Nunn
No13Never built 1949Robertson
No14LostDinah Lucky1949Robertson
No17Owned by class/needs restoringStinger1949Robertson
No20Owned by class/needs restoringNaiad1949Robertson
No22LostPanic Robertson
No23Owned by class/needs restoringAvocet II1949Robertson
No25StorageTrio Robertson
No26Lost  Robertson
No28LostIsis Robertson
No29LostTout Compris Robertson
No30LostJumble Robertson
No33Owned by class/needs restoringGryphon1952Robertson
No35LostFour Graces1953Robertson
No37RacedGreat Expectations1953Robertson
No38 Storm Petral1956Robertson
No39Owned by class/needs restoringFleein Edder1960Robertson
No41RacedPitti Sing1960Robertson
No44 Lula  
No45Raced/Restored/Class boatNippy&Tippy1963Robertson
No46New BuildPhoenix2010Larkmans

Dragonfly Sail Measurement Rules

The images below are for an old version of the sails used on the Dragonfly. The current cut and material used are quiet different and have been changed to suit the needs of the boat and helms. The main sail maker for the Dragonfly is Suffolk Sails.

The below specification comes from the original sail design:

  1. Sails must be made of woven material.
  2. Four sail battens shall be fitted. The batten pockets must be placed on the leech so to divide the leech into approximately equal parts.
  3. Sail insignia shall comply with the pattern approved by the Class. Sail numbers shall be fixed and sized in accordance with ISAF racing rules.
  4. One row of reefs may be fitted.
  5. A Cunningham eye and flattening eye may be fitted.
  6. One transparent non-woven panel may be incorporated in the mainsail as a window. It shall be a maximum of 730mm in length and 230mm in height.
  7. Method of attachment of the mainsail to the mast and boom shall be by boltrope or slides.
  8. Loose footed mainsails are not allowed.
  9. The mainsail shall attach to the spars so that it sits between the mast and boom bands.


Leech Length6100mm
Quarter height width  2355mm
Half height width1805mm
Three quarter height width1070mm
Head Width125mm
Batten pocket internal lengths 
Top Batten pocket 700mm
Remaining three batten pockets930mm

Dragonfly Plans

The Class holds a full set of plans for the boat.