A Dufour in the America’s Cup?

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Well not this time around! But did you know that Dufour Yachts did build the 12 Meter France III for Marcel Bich’s fourth America’s Cup challenge back in 1980?

France 3 Dufour

The incredible foiling catamarans of 35th Americas Cup have proven that AC racing has come a very long way since the days of the 12’s. Like everything else, yachting in general was much different back then and at the time, Dufour Yachts was owned by “Baron” Marcel Bich. That’s “Bich” as in the Bic family of products, ballpoint pens, lighters, razors etc.

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Baron Bich was a loyal patron for high-level sailing competition and always favored the individuality and entrepreneurial spi­rit exemplified by Michel Dufour. In early 1976, while preparing his third challenge for the America’s Cup, Bich joined the company as an investor. After a few months, he created two new production sites, one specializing in aluminium with the first yacht out the door being none other than the France 3, the 12 Meter challenger from France for the America’s Cup.

The message was clear. The Dufour shipyard was capable of building yachts among the worlds highest performers.

France III beat the UK Challenger Lionheart that year to move into the challenger finals, but was ultimately bested by Alan Bond’s Australia.

While we didn’t build any contenders for this 35th America’s Cup, our passion for sailing performance is still evident today.  The new Dufour 63 Exclusive is a recent example, but the entire line of 11 luxurious cruising models across 3 ranges are all leading performers in their respective classes. Visit our website for more details.

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