Dufour Insider: 410 Grand Large

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 5.55.46 AMHere’s a sneak peek of some of the innovative features you’ll find aboard the 410 Grand Large at the Annapolis Sailboat Show in October. As you can see in the photo above, it has a wide cockpit with comfortable seats, dual helms, sturdy cockpit table with integrated chart plotter mount, coachroof-mounted traveller, and a large opening transom for maximum cruising comfort. But those are only a few of this performance cruiser’s well-though-out design elements.

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The helm seats are just one of this boat’s common sense features that offshore cruisers will appreciate. Like many dual helm stations, visibility is excellent, and access to all sail controls is great too, but unlike most other boats, the 410 has these clever helm seat extensions that make it possible to have a comfortable, forward-facing seat as well.

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While the forward-facing helm seat extension will probably come in handy on long calm passages when the auto pilot is steering, these fantastic, integrated helm wedges will really come in handy on long up wind legs. Anyone who has ever sailed up wind on a boat without some way to stand flat and comfortable when the boat heels will agree, these are essential, and the sturdy and oversized wedges on the 410 can be set at just the right angle.

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The 410 also has the large drop down swim platform that all Dufour’s are known for. When it’s open, access to the cockpit through the walk-through stern is excellent. And the teak-topped swim platform is essentially a portable beach!  Meanwhile, when the swim platform , the cockpit feels much more secure than most boats that have large, wide-open sterns that are simply protected with wire lifelines.

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Another feature you’ll find on the 410 that you won’t find on many other 40-foot performance cruisers is this clever “retractable cockpit bed” that as you can see in the photos, quickly turns a cockpit seat into a full-on lounger.

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And the cool thing about this design is that it retracts easily without impacting the cockpit locker access.

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The 410 also strikes the balance between performance and comfort with this optional removable sprit that’s both east to rig and stow.

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And as you’ll see in this video clip below, the interior is as clever and as cruiser-friendly as the on deck features.

And if that’s not enough to get you excited about the new 410, check this out.

Dufour 36P: An insider’s look on deck

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Those that made it to the Newport International Boat Show recently, have already had a glimpse of the Dufour 36P. But for those you that might be waiting to see the 36P, and all the other new Dufour models in person at the Annapolis Sailboat Show early next month, here’s a little taste of what this sporty performance cruiser is like. It’s as fast as it looks, and as you’ll see on in the video intro below, it’s has plenty of cruising comforts as well.

The dual helm stations are ideal for both racing and cruising. And this shot also shows how wide open the cockpit is when you remove and stow the table that easily fits into the circular fittings on the sole in front of the companionway.

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And check out this sweet control line arrangement. Everything–the double ended main, jib sheets, the traveller and even the back stay–can be trimmed and adjusted from each helm.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 3.48.10 PMThe wide-open transom and the large retractable swim platform is one of several features Dufour is known for. This shot also shows that each helm area has solid teak wedges that all helmsmen need when you’re steering up wind for any period of time.

Screen Shot 2014-09-22 at 3.47.05 PMThe stern area also sports copious stowage for fenders, lines, and even a roll up inflatable dinghy.

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Another clever feature is the removable cockpit seats/deck boxes. Leave them in place when you’re cruising and store the heavy stuff in them on the dock when you’re racing.

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And the 36P combines racing and cruising features beautifully up at the bow as well.

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The anchor locker is enormous. The windlass is recessed to keep it protected (and from catching a stray sheet). But the anchor roller is also easily removable for racing.

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And the retractable sprit makes it easy to handle an asymmetrical spinnaker.

And that’s just what’s happening on deck. Be sure to check back for our “insiders look” at the accommodations plan (as well as some of the other models you’ll be able to see for yourself in Annapolis).

The Dufour Difference: 50 Years of History

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Michel Dufour in La Rochelle.

Dufour Yachts was born when Michel Dufour was working at a factory that manufactured parts for locomotives near La Rochelle, France in 1964. At the time, he was in charge of the workshop that fabricated parts out of a new and revolutionary material—fiberglass. The factory was building parts that were used on the front of trains as well as for door and window frames. But since Dufour was also a passionate and successful racing sailor, it didn’t take long for him to realize that fiberglass could be the ideal building material for boats

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The boat that started it all.

And since La Rochelle has a long and storied sailing and boat building tradition, when he told his boss at the plant about his ideas for building a fiberglass sailboat (and his boss saw that he was distracted by sketching boats instead of more mundane endeavors) his boss’s response was skillfully enthusiastic, encouraging, and oh-so-French: “Go draw your famous sailboat!”

Shortly after, Dufour arrived at the plant with his co-worker, Francis Deschamps, and a clay model of the deckhouse of what would go on to be the company’s first boat—the Sylph. And he was pretty unscientific when it came to designing the hull shape. He simply relied on his sailing experience, draftsmanship, and his knowledge of hydrodynamic laws—and then he just went for it.

He sold his car, his boat, and borrowed the equivalent of several thousand dollars to start building his first boat in a workshop on the outskirts of La Rochelle. Then in the fall of 1964, after eight months of work, the first Sylph was launched and bought by a countryman from the north of France, Dominique Trentesaux, who believed enough in the boat, and in the company, to extend a lifeline to “Team Industrial Laminate” what Dufour first called his fledgling boatbuilding company.

The sturdy, 21-foot Sylph went on to be a huge success. Over 400 models were sold from 1964 to 1974 and launched the company that was soon to be known as Dufour Yachts.

The Golden Age of Boatbuilding

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The legendary L’Arpege.

But the diminutive Sylph was only the beginning. The company really took off with the launch of the 29-foot-long L’Arpege in 1967. And it’s widely agreed that Dufour’s L’Arpege is a legitimate classic. Over 1,500 models were built during the golden-era of fiberglass production boat building until 1977.

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The 40-footer (big-for-its-time) Sortilege turned heads in the mid-1970’s.

And Dufour was never one to rest on his laurels. Not too many builders were designing and building 40-foot fiberglass performance cruisers in the early ‘70s. But Dufour was always willing to push the envelope as he did with the highly successful launch of the 40-foot Sortilege in 1971.

By 1973 Dufour had grown 1400% and was the leading exporter of French fiberglass sailboats. At this time, the company employed over 400 employees and was shipping boats to over 40 countries.

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Was the Lacoste 42 the first “preppie performance cruiser?”

Meanwhile, the company had its hands in everything during the 1980s. Dufour partnered with renowned designer German Frers to build a line of sporty cruising boats and even partnered with the iconic French clothing line Lacoste on a 42-footer that was debuted to great fanfare at the 1985 Paris Boat Show.

Bigger is Better

The Prestige 56.

The Prestige 56.

As the 1990s arrived, Dufour Yachts began to really push the limits of production boat building with the launch of bigger and bigger “Prestige” models. Each was bigger, faster, and more luxurious than the model that came before. First was the Dufour 56. Then the Dufour 65. And then a “No Limits” 110-footer was launched.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 10.30.19 AMAnd while the company made big news with its bigger and bigger models, the designs that Dufour was always know for—sporty, fast, stylish, 30-to-40-footers—continued to be improved as well.

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The Atoll 43 was decades ahead of its time.

During this time Dufour also acquired one-time rival Gib’Sea and started work on even more revolutionary designs like the groundbreaking Atoll 43.

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The partnership with Umberto Felci has been a huge success.

Things really changed when Dufour began its long and fruitful partnership with famed Italian naval architect Umberto Felci in 2005. Nearly every the new “Grand Large” model that was launched during this time won some sort of award including Boat of the Year awards in both Europe and the United States.

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And the company continues to build on the success of its Felci-designed models today

The award-winning 45e represents the pinacle of the Dufour Performance range.The award-winning 45e (pictured above) represents the pinacle of the Dufour Performance range.

Screen Shot 2014-09-19 at 12.50.44 PMThe hugely successful 560 Grand Large is only one of several new models that show that Dufour continues to break new ground in the world of modern sailboat design and construction.

Click here to learn more.