Dufour Insider: Keels

IMG_6204It’s obvious to see that you get a sexy, well-built hull, and a spacious and finely crafted interior, when you buy a Dufour, but it’s also important to note that we take just as much pride in how our boats look and perform below the waterline as they do above. And nothing makes a bigger impact on both speed and stability underway than the keel.

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But as you can see here, Dufour keels are as sexy as our hulls. I mean, doesn’t that keel just look fast? It is. And you know why? Because a team of highly skilled designers and naval architects have crunched the numbers to produce some of the fastest and most stable keel shapes you can find on any high-performance cruising boats.

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It’s no easy feat to maximize speed and stability with a heavy piece metal that must cut through the water beneath the waterline. But, as you can see above, the narrow chord length of the deep fin is designed to produce maximum lift while and the long narrow shape of the heavy bulb is engineered to maximize stability and reduce drag. In fact, a good portion of the boat’s overall displacement is located in the bulb. And that’s something you may not see, but will certainly feel when you’re steering upwind in a good breeze. A Dufour with a keel like this above will dig in and take off like a rocket. While a boat with a keel like this…

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…will not perform the same way. You’ll feel it in the helm. The helm on a boat with a keel like this will probably feel a bit more sluggish in a breeze. But a Dufour with a keel like this…..

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will come alive. It’s simply a matter of physics.IMG_8778

The same can be said of a keel like this. Yes, it does provide some stability just from its sheer size, and it does counter balance the sideways force created by sailing upwind but, it’s also safe to say that a similar-sized Dufour with a sophisticated bulb keel is probably going to be faster, stiffer, more stable, and more fun to sail than a boat with a keel like what’s pictured above.

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Now there’s no denying that a boat with a heavy T-bulb keel like this one pictured above has all sorts of upwind performance benefits. However, nothing is more prone to catching (and holding on to) everything from lobster-pot lines to speed-sapping kelp than a keel like this.

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Dufour keels are designed to provide the best of both worlds–superior performance (and single rudder protection) while also being much better at shedding stray lines. And as anyone who has ever had to go over the side to free a line from a keel can attest–it’s no fun. Having a keel that’s not prone to catching lines is vital.

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It’s also very important to note that Dufour uses some of the most robust stainless-steel keel bolts you can get and each bolt attaches to the hull with multiple locking screws. The keel-to-hull connection is further strengthened by the fact that the bolts are offset to spread the loads of the keel evenly throughout the hull structure.

 

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Even the 56-foot flagship 560 has this kind of ultra-high performance keel. Why would you settle for anything else?

Dufour Insider: How the boats are built. (Part 5) Final Assembly

 

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We’ve loved digging into the details of the Dufour production line with you during these last brutal weeks of winter. But like all good things, the end of our popular “How the boats are built” series only leads to the beginning of an even better one…How these sexy Dufour Yachts sail. So be sure to check back for plenty of reports filled with photos and videos of what it’s like to sail all the new models being built in La Rochelle, France as we speak.

But meanwhile back on the production line, the nearly completed boats continue their steady march toward the trucks at the end of the line that are waiting to take them to destinations all over the world.

IMG_5379The furniture modules have all been lowered into place. The wiring and plumbing has been run. Bulkheads have been tabbed in place. Fixtures are installed. And the boat is really starting to look like what you’ll see on the water in a couple weeks.

IMG_3564So last big event, lowering the deck down onto the inward-facing flange of the hull-to-deck-joint–is all that’s left to do. And as you’d expect, this critical step is not taken lightly.

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Everything on the completed deck is checked and double checked before the hull is bonded with the deck with both chemical adhesive and mechanical fasteners to form an incredibly strong seal.

IMG_3560The deck is also pre-drilled with counter-sunk holes to accept the screws that are used to both reinforce the joint, and secure the stylish teak toe rail.

toerail1In the end, every yacht leaves the factory with a beautiful curved edged joint that’s both strong and stylish.

alVVFM9YQ1BCnC4jwNNiKNzjXWq3pFl5Mc64ThO5bcIMeanwhile, teams of workers go through the interiors of each boat to ensure that every detail of the boat is finished to extremely high standards.

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And no boat proceeds off the line until it passes a strict regimen of quality control tests including….

560.4…making sure each boat is completely watertight, and that the engine functions properly in Dufour’s special test pool at the end of the line.

IMG_7884After passing all quality control tests–both inside and outside–each Dufour is then prepped for transportation to happy owners all over the world on these custom-built cradles. The cradles are designed to work on trucks and also on container ships and to make sure the boats make it to their destinations in the bristol condition they leave the factory in.

560ontruckThe hulls get shrink wrapped. The rigs get protected too. And then the real fun begins.

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The 560 is so big it needs an escort on the roads. But needless to say, it’s more than self-sufficient on the water.

DUFOUR_YACHTS_PLAN_MOYEN_27 If you’re in the market for a new yacht and want to see the process firsthand, please let us know.  We’d love to arrange a tour so you can see how we live 50 years of yachting passion every single day.

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First Look: Dufour 350 Grand Large

KV-nVcR0geQJAuEc-qF77eLTM_QoHnEIC2FnqgxHYEoAll the time and energy we spend designing and building boats during the long, cold winter pays off as soon as the sails are set, and the tell-tales start streaming straight back, the light, stiff hull heels slightly to weather and then just takes off like a rocket. And that’s most certainly the case with the Dufour 350 Grand Large. It’s one of our newest models. And that’s saying something because quite frankly, they’re all new.

The entire Dufour line has been completely reinvigorated in the last two years. And people are really starting to notice. The 560 is winning awards around the world. The 500 is fast becoming the gold-standard in the 50-foot range. And the 410 is redefining what you should expect from a 41-footer.

But there’s really something special about the 350. As you can see in the photos and video, every inch of this design has been studied, and tweaked, and optimized, and maximized to be much more than just comfortable.

PJQv9yhnAvmspO-hkBP7mo5EBcLBTlh3clcnUDtICy8The 350 stands out for several reasons including the large cockpit, sexy, low-slung coachroof, low freeboard and wide side-decks. But it’s the twin wheels, clever retractable helm seats, and super-yacht inspired drop-down swim platform that catch most people’s attention. And the cool thing about all these design elements (as with every Dufour we build) is that they serve their purpose both skilfully and elegantly.

EqpDPSgWXZSKXJZKxcFak8pA_ggIa_mNvGufE7pbbR0Don’t you want to go for a sail right now? We do. And the twin wheels not only provide excellent visibility under sail, they, make a fully functional, easy-to-walk-through transom a reality too.

ST2bNUNzFd_RnPpzQwXJwfcg4tUejmoF6ni9zDgb95w The large saloon. The bright modern woodwork. The high-quality fixtures.

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The sophisticated lighting and the good-sized galley and wide-open double doors into the forward cabin have a unity (and utility) of design that’s equally refreshing and effective.

YECgQUrBuSKnv_pA40mlYQbp6AU6y6j6NBMYl6CxUpYEvery inch of storage space is maximized beautifully. Here the fixed saloon table provides copious bottle storage and even a silverware tray that can be easily slid out of way when you’re ready for another bottle of fine French wine.

cpeMm0MnzuGv146JZSPv9R2OxpZ4dKsiM8BLLiPYksEAnd since we’ve already spent a good chunk of time explaining how these boats are built, we’ll just leave you with this shot of attention to detail that goes into every boat we build. So, if you’re in the market for a mid-sized boat with some very big features should really check the new 350 out for yourself. In fact, you should check out the 350 if you’re in the market for a boat of any size. It’s a whole new reality.

Sailing the Dufour 560 in paradise (video)

Dufour560sailingWe love talking about the sophisticated design, modern lines, and high quality construction that helps Dufour Yachts stand out from the crowd. And we’ve already described how the hulls and decks are laid up, as well as how those hulls are stiffened with solid fiberglass grids and bulkheads that are both bonded and tabbed into place. And of course, all of these elements are crucial.

But sometimes, especially when it seems like winter is never going to end, and summer is never going to return, the best thing to do is sit back, and watch how all that sophisticated design and construction we’ve talked about earlier comes together to stir the senses. Especially when the water is blue. And the sun is shining. And the stunning new Dufour 560 is showing off for the camera in a Mediterranean paradise.

So let’s forget about boat building for a moment and savor the joy of boat owning. And what better way to do that than to enjoy this breathtaking video of the award-winning Dufour 560 in action.

Thankfully, we can all be reminded that, at least for us in the northern hemisphere, the days are getting longer, the ice is slowly melting, and we’ll be back on the water in only a matter of weeks. And if it’s not freezing winter where you are. Be grateful. And share your sailing stories and photos with us!

The first person to send us a photo of your Dufour in action will receive a limited edition Dufour hat. So let’s see it. Make us jealous! All the submissions we receive will be featured in future posts and the winning photo will get a special shout-out. To enter, please send a photo with a short description of why we should be jealous!