1978 Custom Schooner


City Island, NY

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Class Sails
Category Antique and Classics
Year 1978
Make Custom
Length 40'
Propulsion Type Single Inboard
Hull Material Fiberglass
Fuel Type Diesel
Location City Island, NY
Galley Equipment

Ice box




2 settee berths in main cabin

Enclosed head with sink

Cabin heating stove with Charlie Noble

Folding teak cockpit table

Additional Equipment

As attested by the entry about her little sistership Nimbus  in the 1984 edition of Robert Taylors series Best Boats, he writes:

These are rather close replicas of the Tancook whaler, the local fishing and fetch-and -carry boat of Tancook Island, Nova Scotia, well known for their beauty, speed, and seaworthiness. She has a perfect shear line a perfect hollow to her after waterlines, [with] lovely wineglass sections and flair in the topsides all around her waterline, which is important to the stability of a narrow, shoal hull. This flair all around the waterline also gives her a light and airy appearance in the water.  [H]er ballast consists of steel punchings set in cement. The [molded fiberglass] hull is all of the piece above this ballast, so she could pound on the bottom a bit without leaking.. And my goodness, wont she sail! This is a fast and able little vessel. Shes extremely well behaved and docile, very steady on her hellm, and just always seems to want to do the right thing by you, even reaching off when its rough and blowing hard, a time when many fore-and-afters get rambunctious."

Deck & Hull Equipment

15# CQR, 25# CQ and 20# Danforth anchors with chain, anchor roller.

Mechanical Equipment

Yanmar diesel new 2004.  Low hours.  New starter 2017.  Bilge blower.  1 manual and 3 electric pumps, fire extinguisher.  2 boasrding ladders.

12v system with 2 batteries with passive solar charging, fused electric panel with battery-confition inicators, shore power hook-up, 3-way master switch.

3-blade prop new 2015.

Total Power
10.0 hp
Nominal Length
Length Overall
Fuel Tank Capacity
Fresh Water Tank Capacity
Holding Tank Capacity
Engine Model Yanmar KM2P-1
Total Power 10hp
Engine Type Single Inboard
Fuel Type Diesel
Hull Shape Other
1978 Custom Schooner


*"Free dockside delivery NYC area or Western LIS if purchased by Nov 5."*

DragonFly (formerly Cygnus) was designed and built by the late Peter Van Dine in Annapolis, Maryland.  She is a real head-turner under sail or at the mooring, one of only three of the largest version of his line of Tancook Whaler" schooners, based on a traditional Nova Scotia working boat. 


With a fine entry, long keel, and double-ended profile, she is stable and sea-kindly in any weather, well-ballasted internally while carrying a mere 39 draft with the board up, she is a pleasure to sail: a great Maine, Chesapeake Bay or Long Island Sound boat capable of going anywhere. 



DragonFlys gaff main, secured by mast hoops, sets and furls smoothly with installed lazy jacks, which self-stow underway.  Her loose-footed gaff foresail has been cut away slightly to eliminate a problematic wood club at the clew.  Roller furling jib sets from the bowsprit, and self-tacks by means of a club and double-ended sheet.  Only the foresail needs to be handled to tack.  Reefing points in both main and foresail with roller furling jib enable her canvas to be reduced to handle almost any weather comfortably.


There is not a single winch on board DragonFly, yet this 40-foot schooner can be single-handed in most conditions.  Roller furling is the only concession to modernity in the rig. Every line on the boat trims by hand with simple mechanical advantages, mostly to belaying pins or wooden cleats. Every working line -- with the exception of one halyard, which could easily be re-rigged, is accessible from the cockpit.


There is also a large fisherman staysail (equal to fully 1/3 of the entire plain-sail rig) which sets, with a flying yard, from both mastheads, and gives this schooner remarkable speed off the wind, even in light air. 


DragonFlys simple main cabin features two full-length settee bunks, each with a shelf above and storage below. There is a galley area with a sink and large icebox, across from a small navigation area. The midship bulkhead accommodates a stainless heating stove with removable Charlie Noble.  The head, with sink, is located amidships at the foot of the foremast, separated from the main cabin by a solid door, and opens into the large forepeak, served by a deck hatch, with a starboard through-deck fitting for the anchor rode, situated near the anchor roller on the bowsprit, which accommodates the included plow. 


There are 4 opening ports in the cabin, plus one amidships in the

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