Dufour Yachts: How the boats are built (Part 1)

All Dufour Yachts are built in our facility in La Rochelle, France. They all combine fine hand craftsmanship with innovative high-tech construction techniques. It all starts with the hull, and this is how we do it.

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It actually all starts in a hull mold (pictured above). We start with a flawless, highly polished two-piece mold and then spray layers of gelcoat that form the outer layer of each hull. Each hull is then laid up with a precise, highly engineered number of layers of fiberglass, resin, and various core materials that are all placed in each mold by hand.

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Here you can see the hull is beginning to take shape. Notice the layers of fiberglass and resin that have already been applied. Also notice how the rudder area is reinforced. Our molds are built on special rollers (pictured below) so they can be rotated in-place. This makes it much easier for workers to lay the various layers.

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This shot shows the underside of one of our molds. And as you can see, they are extremely well-built to extremely high tolerances so every hull comes out perfect. You can also see how much they can be rotated in place. Rotating molds speed production and increase quality because they are much easier to work on than static molds.

Capture10All Dufour hulls below 50-feet are built of solid fiberglass while the 500 GL (pictured above) and the 560 GL are laid up with solid fiberglass below the waterline and PVC core above the waterline to provide strength and stiffness. This photo also shows how workers reinforce high-load areas such as chainplate connections and keel areas with increased layers of fiberglass and resin.

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Another important element of hull lamination is the fact that Dufour uses 2-part molds as you can see in the photos above. This makes it easy to release the finished hull from the mold, and it also allows for an inward-facing flange that forms a strong and elegant inward-facing hull-to-deck joint.

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One of the first elements that’s added to freshly laid-up hull is the structural grid. This shot also shows what the inward-facing flange looks like and some of the other early tasks that are done at this stage like cutting out the hull ports and installing a strip of PVC core material to the aft area of the hull to provide increased stiffness. Capture7As a result of the high attention to detail paid in the early stages of construction, each hull comes out of the mold looking clean, sexy, and fast.

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We’re never satisfied with the status quo and our high-tech facility allows us to build the best because every element of the production line is constantly being upgraded. We’re always to looking to improve efficiency and performance, but also you can also see below, we believe our production facility should be as beautiful as our boats.

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Click here for part 2 of this multi-part series where we’ll explain the innovative process we use to build our decks.

Dufour 500 GL Video Under Sail

Marina del Rey, California-based Dufour dealers Bill Petersen and Nereus Dastur have a pretty cool job. They take people sailing (among other things), and as you can see in the following aerial video they’ve shot, the new Dufour 500 GL is simply stunning.

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But you can also see why the 500 GL was named one of SAIL Magazine’s Best Boats of 2014 and Cruising World Magazine’s Best Full Size Cruiser. It’s way, way more than just a pretty face.

Nothing beats the winter blahs better than sailing on a gorgeous boat on a warm afternoon. And if these videos have inspired you to find out more about the 500 GL or any other brand-new Dufour model, stop by and see Bill and Nereus at Denision Yacht Sales in Marina del Rey. They’d love to show you in person.

Or if you can’t make it to Southern California, here’s where you can find a knowledgeable Dufour dealer near you:

New England: North Star Yacht Sales

California: Denision Yacht Sales

Annapolis: North Point Yacht Sales

Chicago: Broad Reach Sailing

Toronto: True North Yachts

Seattle, WA and Vancouver BC: Yacht Sales West

Montreal: Marina Lennox

Cruising World Boat of the Year Award Winner: Dufour 560 Grand Large

We’re proud to announce that the 560 has been named Cruising World’s Best Full-Size Cruiser over 50 feet. And as you can see in the following report, the judges share some high praise about our stylish new flagship.–Ed.

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Cruising World judges put the 560 through its paces after the Annapolis Boat Show on a stormy day in October. Photo Billy Black

“One of the best, if sometimes harrowing ways to get a sense of just how massive and voluminous today’s full-size cruisers are is to board one from a rocking inflatable in a rolling seaway,” writes Cruising World Senior Editor Herb McCormick. “Case in point: approaching the Dufour 560 Grand’ Large for our test sail on a blustery Chesapeake Bay morning in a 20-knot northerly with accompanying 2- to 3-foot seas. Yes, we’d already scrutinized the boat dockside and understood it was a big, powerful yacht. But timing the leap and scrambling up the boarding ladder put the exceptionally high freeboard in its proper perspective. It was like scaling Yosemite’s slab-sided El Capitan. Later, similar adventures boarding the other boats in this category – the Hanse 505 and Hanse 575 – drove the freeboard nail home with authority. These are all Big Boy boats, with all the attendant space, systems, amenities and sailing prowess that come with that rarified territory.

“The German-built Hanses are impressive yachts, so it would take something special to deny them the top spot on the category’s podium.

“They found just that with the Dufour 560 GL. The judges sailed the boat in sporty weather. The previous day’s sail trials had also been conducted in challenging conditions. “And we came off the water then feeling pretty cranky about how hard it was to move around on some of those boats,” said judge Tim Murphy. ‘But this Dufour was a real pleasure, both sailing it and moving around to inspect it. The breeze backed down into the 12 to 15 knot range and we were making a very effortless 8 knots of boat speed. The helm was really nice. It was very pleasurable driving this boat.’

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The 560’s spacious interior got high marks from the judges. Photo Billy Black

“’It got high marks on all points of sail,” agreed judge Mark Schrader. “There were good handholds; the deck had solid non-skid; the hardware was nice; and everything was arranged functionally and efficiently. On all points of sail, I gave the boat very high marks. I thought it seemed like a very high-end boat to me. I liked it.’”

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SAIL Magazine says…”The GL 560 couldn’t be easier or more fun to sail.”

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“Although not radically different from her smaller sibling,” writes SAIL Magazine’s Zuzana Prochazka , the GL 560 has taken the same groundbreaking details of the 500 and improved on them in several ways. Most notable, however, is the simple fact that, despite her size, the GL 560 couldn’t be easier or more fun to sail.

“…As we peeled away from the dock with the help of the retractable Side-Power bow thruster, I was surprised as how quiet the system was, even as it moved quite a lot of water. Beyond the Marina Del Rey jetty, we rolled out the in-mast mainsail and jib, and shut down the motor. The boat had just been splashed and the wind instruments had not yet been calibrated, so we guessed that we were enjoying a breeze of 8-10 knots. That might not seem like much to move a boat with a displacement of nearly 40,000 pounds, but off we went.

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“The GL 560 can point. The tight sheeting angles of the self-tackling jib certainly helped, and we had a very narrow and tidy slot between the two sails as we slipped along at 8.5 knots at about 40 degrees apparent wind angle. The hull form and underwater appendages aboard this boat have been carefully designed and built. With a borrowed (and slightly undersized) A-sail, we added about a knot when off the wind.

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It’s really quite a large expanse of deck when you’re looking forward from the wheel, and as I steered through the mellow Southern California breeze a few things struck me. First was the impressive acreage of boat ahead of me and its ability to point and glide comfortably through small chop. Second was her responsiveness and easy tacking. The steering was one-finger light and the tacks were quick and hassle-free. The GL 560 may be the biggest in the line but it’s no harder to sail than a 30-footer and that will undoubtedly appeal to a broad spectrum of buyers.”

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