Dufour owner profile: Southern Cal 405

Photo from MIREIO

It’s no secret that Dufour yachts are well loved by those who sail them. And we can tell you all the reasons why Dufour’s are so good. But sometimes it’s best to let the experts–Dufour owners–describe what makes owning and sailing a Dufour so special.. For our first installment of our Owner Profile series, we spoke with Jonathan, a 405 owner and lawyer from Southern California, and he was kind enough to answer some questions.

Photo from MIREIO-2

What makes you want to get out on the water?

JONATHAN S: I sailed when I was younger, and again while in law school, but then life got busy. Once my daughters graduated, the lure of the sea came back—intensely. I wanted to be out on the water and to capture that combination of the peace of the sea, the magic of a sleek hull moving through the water, and the intimate connection with the wind. From the helm of our boat I have a unique window into the natural world—the dolphins, the birds. It’s unlike anything else.

Where are your favorite places to take your 405?

Deeper Into Catalina Harbor

JS: The Channel Islands make a terrific cruising ground. Catalina is just a short afternoon sail away, and the northern Channel Islands—especially San Miguel—offer challenging conditions and a beautiful sense of wilderness. Of course, just running around Santa Monica Bay with friends is a frequent pleasure. On hot weekends, Mireio can be a luxurious swim platform—complete with a wine cellar and plenty of room to laze around.

D: What about racing?

JS: I don’t race, but I have to admit to rather enjoying overtaking other boats…

D: What made you choose a Dufour 405?

Mireio Moored at Catalina

JS: When I was evaluating boats, I found the fit and finish to be superior to that of some of the other brands that are often compared to Dufour.

Dufour takes the idea of a “performance cruiser ” more seriously than anyone else. For instance: the asymmetrical sprit, the “true” mainsail instead of a roller furl, the traveller setup—all of these features were standard with Dufour. Sure, I could order them as options on another boat, but they seemed more like afterthoughts rather than part of the boat’s character.

As I said before, I don’t race, but I take a lot of pleasure in adjusting trim. I enjoy all of the ways Mireio provides for this. I also preferred the Dufour representatives I worked with; they seemed more deeply involved in sailing and more attuned to the performance aspect.

D: Having sailed the boat for a few seasons, are you still happy with your decision?

JS: Absolutely. This is one of my happiest, long-term purchases. I’ve never looked back and I’d make the same choice again, but I have to admit that a test sail on the brand-new 560 did surprise me. It’s the one boat that’s ever made me momentarily disloyal to my current boat—but only momentarily.

D: How do you use the boat?

JS: We mostly take day trips and go on regular overnights to Catalina, with the occasional foray north.  No long distance voyages—yet.

D: Sounds like you might be planning something, what will your next adventure be?

JS: Certainly more sails among the Channel Islands north, and maybe a sail down the length of Baja California.

D: If you could take your boat anywhere, where would you go?

JS: I’d love to sail the Maine coast, down to Martha’s Vineyard, and continue south. Even further afield, it would be great to sail in Europe—the Adriatic, by the Calanques east of Marseilles, and along the Amalfi Coast.

D: Can you share some of the coolest experiences you’ve had onboard?

JS: We had a wild time at Santa Rosa Island in pretty high winds that dissuaded us from heading out to San Miguel, where there were 35-knot winds and 10-foot seas. I’ll never forget a sail to Catalina on a moonless night with the spinnaker flying.

And, once we’ve dropped the hook, there have been some great dinners aboard Mireio. It’s the good life aboard in Emerald Cove—homemade penne with field mushrooms, a fine Cote Rotie, and, most importantly, great friends.

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