Hardware From The Heineken Regatta

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Every year in early March the spectacular Caribbean island of St. Maartin plays host to  the largest warm water regatta in the world. This legendary sailing event offers a great combination of four days of challenging races and fantastic parties; living up to the event’s motto of “Serious Fun”!

No strangers to “Serious Fun”, Neil Harvey and Mike Cannon chartered a Dufour 455 from Kiriacoulis Charters for the regatta and sent in this report…

“Four of us crew stayed aboard the boat docked at Palapa​ Marina, including 2016 Rio Paralympic silver medalist (in the 3 man Sonar boat) Brad Kendell.

The boat was very well laid out, even in a Charter configuration, and was enjoyable to stay upon.

The Dufour 455 was very easy to steer in the trying upwind conditions beating up the Anguilla passage in the Round The Island Race. Despite there being many larger boats in the Bareboat fleet, we took home the trophy for not only best corrected time in fleet, but also fastest elapsed time Around The Island !

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It was quite a windy weekend of racing, which found us at times, furling the jib up with as many as 4 rolls upwind, and playing the traveler constantly.

We finished 1st in class & 1st in fleet in all 3 races completed, to take home the Overall Bareboat trophy despite having a few elderly gentlemen in the crew.”

Congratulations to the entire team of KHS & S Contractors! In the true spirit of the Dufour brand, they fully enjoyed both the comfort and the performance built into every model.

If you’re considering a new yacht, connect with one of our local dealers here and discover the amazing qualities of the Dufour brand for yourself!

Thanks to Neil Harvey for sending in the report!

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?

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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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Test Sail a Dufour in North America

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Cannes, 02/09/2015. Photoshoot new Dufour Yachts model, Dufour 460, Photo © Jean Marie Liot / Dufour Yachts

The summer sailing season in North America has arrived!

If you’ve been itching to sail aboard one of our newer models, now is the time to book a charter and experience Dufour’s legendary comfort and exceptional sailing performance.

Here is a list of the newest models available by region linked to their respective booking pages.

Pacific Northwest:

Dufour-45e: Allegra

D-382: Electric Hybrid

D-382: Meritage

D-350: Bente

Southern California

D-560: Dream Catcher

Chesapeake Bay

D-460: Papillon

D-382: Painted Kite

Not Yet Ready to Charter? Our North American dealer network has access to a variety of brand new models nearby their local offices and may be able to arrange a test sail just for you. Click here to access our dealer locator and connect with your closest Dufour agent.

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Dufour 382: An Interior Layout For Everyone

Some like long galleys.

Multiple interior layouts make the Dufour 382 the “flexible innovator.”

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Ever since the company was founded, we at Dufour have always taken pride in our ability to design and build fast, stylish, and super comfortable performance cruisers in the mid-30 foot range. These “mid-sized” yachts have always been popular, and even today, the 35-40 foot range is considered the “heart” of the new boat market.

And some like L-shaped.

Some like an L-shaped galley..

So, when we looked to refresh our 30-foot designs, we looked at what worked in the past and what our competition was doing before drawing a single line. And while the desired exterior features were easy to articulate (modern lines, flush decks, comfortable cockpits, etc), the feedback on what makes a good interior layout was harder to pin down because…

…Some customers like their galley along the side of the saloon and others prefer an “L” shape galley layout. Private owners typically want more storage space while charter companies want to maximize sleeping capacity.

Multiple interior layouts make the Dufour 382 the "flexible innovator."

And some like a long galley.

So we rose to the challenge and figured out how to design and build several different interior layouts. And what started out as a fairly routine redesign of our mid-size range become a much larger project.

Screen Shot 2016-05-31 at 10.34.33 AMAs a result, the Dufour design team worked to develop many as six interior layouts on the new 382. In fact, we call our 382 the “flexible innovator.” As you can see, the available variations are not just basic equipment differences but are instead real floor plan alternatives.

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The final result has been nothing short of remarkable. In addition to the superior sailing qualities inherent in the hull and rig platform, the possibility for our customers to have their ideal layout has made the 382 a smashing success. In just 18 months of production, sales have already exceeded the full 4 year production run of the previous model.

So, have you been looking for a “customizable” 30+footer with a production boat price? Your search is over.

Click here to find a dealer in your area.

Dufour 382: A sailplan for all situations

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The new Umberto Felci-designed Dufour 382 has a hyper-efficient hull form that slips through the water. And it has modern interior that’s stylish, spacious, and practical. But one of the many features that sets this new model apart from other boats in this size range is the wide range of rig and sail plan options that are available.

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In fact, every new 382 can be optimized for racing and/or cruising, windy and/or light winds, daysailing and/or offshore cruising, ultra-high performance or ultra-high ease-of-use. So, if you’re in the market for a modern performance cruiser that’s truly optimized for your style of sailing and the conditions you experience, here’s what you need to know.

Standard or tall mast?

A standard mast will be perfect for sailors who may sail in windy areas while the tall mast option is best for those who may sail in areas known for lighter winds. Tall masts are usually favored by racers and other high-performance sailors because of the increased sail area tall masts make possible.

In-mast furling or classic mainsail with lazyjacks?

The same general rule-of-thumb applies here. Sailors in windy areas, and especially folks who value ease-of-handling almost always opt for in-mast furling masts. Racers and high-performance-oriented cruisers don’t mind the extra effort required to furl and reef a traditional mainsail in light of the better sail shape and increased sail area (and power) a traditional, often fully-battened mainsail provides.

Self-tacking jib or overlapping genoa?

Are you seeing a pattern? The available self-tacking jib is the ultimate “ease-of-use” and “singlehanded” sail (especially up-wind when you really want things to be easy) because you often don’t even need to touch the sheet when tacking upwind. But, like in-mast furling, a self-tacking jib will often have less sail area and performance potential than a conventional jib. Self-tacking jibs have fewer controls that make them harder to “fine-tune” in light winds.

Code 0 or Gennaker?

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We’ve already covered this in a recent post but here’s the gist again. Conventional cruising gennakers that get tacked on to a fixed point on the bow are a bit less complicated and don’t require a cumbersome spinnaker pole, but they still can be a handful to set, douse, and gybe (even with a sock) and these are the sails that scare most sailors enough to keep them belowdecks even in the best of conditions.

That’s why every Dufour model is optimized for flying asymmetrical reaching and downwind sails that get tacked on to a fixed bowsprit , that can be easily and safely furled and unfurled (pretty much like a conventional furling jib). 

We’ve found a good combination for most cruisers in light to moderate conditions is a tall mast, self-tacking jib and Code 0. Unless you need maximum performance upwind in light air, the convenience of self tacking is very nice to have while the Code 0 makes for a fun ride off the wind. But the cool thing is there truly is a sail plan for everyone.

Check with your dealer for more info. Or better yet, take a 382 out for a test sail so you can see just how awesome this new model is for yourself!

All Dufours Excel Downwind

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As anyone who’d trimmed a spinnaker in a good breeze will tell you, blast reaching under a well-trimmed spinnaker is well…a blast.

But chances are, those very same people will also be able to share a few “blooper” stories of the times when sailing with a spinnaker was much more humbling than fun. And while there’s no shame in dealing with an occasional “hour glass” set, or worse, dropping a spinnaker in the water, those humbling experiences can sometimes scare people to keeping their downwind sails below decks and in their bags. And to us here are Dufour, that IS a shame.

The new Dufour 382

The new Dufour 382

We say this because we’re sailors too and we take great pride in building performance cruisers that sail as good as they look. And not only do we believe that blast reaching under a well trimmed spinnaker is a…blast… we also believe it should be easy enough to never be scary.

That’s why all of our models feature large powerful main sails, and non-overlapping jibs. This set-up is super powerful and easy to handle upwind, and thanks to the fixed sprits on most of our models and some clever advancements in spinnaker tech, Dufour yachts can be even more powerful, yet just easy to handle off the wind as well. Let me explain…

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We’re all familiar with symmetrical spinnakers. These are the big, colorful lightweight nylon sails that require spinnaker poles to be rigged to the mast and all sorts of control lines to keep things in check. They’re pretty versatile and great for sailing almost dead downwind but…they usually require lots of crew who know what they are doing, and can be a handful to deal with even with a “sock” that keeps the kite from filling with it’s being set or doused.

La Rochelle, France, 18 October 2014 Dufour Yachts The new Dufour 350 Ph: Guido Cantini / Dufour/Sea&See.com

The same can also be said of conventional cruising gennakers that get tacked on to a fixed point on the bow. Sure they’re a bit less complicated and don’t require a cumbersome spinnaker pole, but they still can be a handful to set, douse, and gybe (even with a sock) and these are the sails that scare most sailors enough to keep them belowdecks even in the best of conditions.

That’s why all Dufours are available with (and optimized for) a fixed sprit. Our designers understand that the better, faster, easier way to get off-wind performance is to use asymmetrical reaching and downwind sails that get tacked on to a fixed point on the bow, that can be easily and safely furled and unfurled (pretty much like a conventional furling jib), rather than requiring a sock.

But don’t just take our work for it. Check out this video. It’s easy, right?

And then check out all our new models at a dealership near you.

Dufour 382 named one of Cruising World’s Boats of the Year

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We don’t like to brag but, with the recent announcement of the Dufour 382 winning the Best Midsize Cruiser class in this year’s Boat of the Year judging, we can say that Dufour is definitely on a roll. In fact, since 2009, no other builder has won more “BOTY’s” than we have.

Actually, it’s much better if we let Cruising World’s Senior Editor Herb McCormick describe how Cruising World’s judges decided between 4 boats (Dufour 382, Dufour 350, Hanse 315 and Marlow-Hunter 31) in the Midsize category. And how the 382 came out on top.

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“Ultimately,” McCormick writes, “the choice in this category came down to the two Dufours, which were nearly identical in terms of workmanship, styling, deck layout, hardware and other features. Both boats sailed well.

“Of the 382, Murphy said, ‘I quite like this boat. Sailing it was really a lot of fun. The helms felt really good. You had to play the main in order to steer properly, but that was easy to do. So it was a really happy experience sailing this boat. I also liked moving around, especially on deck.’

“But Sherman enjoyed his turn at the helm just as much, if not more, on the smaller 350. The price difference was about $50,000 between the smaller and larger boat. A lively discussion ensued.

“For that extra 50 grand, the 382 offered a traveler and backstay, expanded helm seating, a much larger head and 25 percent more displacement, which translates to more volume and what Murphy described as ‘spatial comfort.’ For buyers, it represents an interesting choice. For our judges, it meant the Dufour 382 was the Best Midsize Cruiser for 2016.”

This year marks the 7th BOTY award Dufour has since 2009 (the year we won two). Previous winners include:

2015: Dufour 560

2014: Dufour 500

2012: Dufour 36P

2011: Dufour 45e

2009: Dufour 40P and Dufour 525

Would it be bragging to say we may have “Dufour Dynasty” going?

Click here to find out more from a dealer in your area.

Dufour Difference: Fast Average Speeds

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Like most Dufour dealers Alvaro Bermúdez is much, much more than just a Dufour dealer. He’s also the proud owner of a Dufour 410 who took delivery in La Rochelle then sailed it all the way to his home in Uruguay earlier this year.

And he’s more than just a cruiser or an offshore passage maker. He’s also an offshore racer who recently took part in a 110 mile race from Buenos Aires, Argentina to the capital city of Uraguay, Montevideo, aboard his Dufour 410 Faith.

“It was a very cold race,” says Bermúdez. “The 15-23 knots true wind that we had from 45 to 90 degrees apparent, allowed us to permanently keep the speed over 8 knots. In fact we averaging 8.4 knots over the ground for the 13 hours of total race time. I am once again extremely pleased with my boat, its performance, balance and stiffness.”

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He was also pleased with his results in the race. Faith won the double handed division, and the Dufour 34 Bigua V, that Bermúdez sold to a client several years ago came in second.

Needless to say, averaging over 8 knots for over 13 hours on a 40-foot performance cruising boat is amazing.

Imagine the speeds that are possible on our bigger models.

Want to take a test sail? Here’s the guide to the dealers in your area.

Dufour Insider: Wood is Good

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Different interior woods provide distinctly different “feels.” Our standard Moabi finish is pictured here.

Dufour is well-known for building a solid boat with superior sailing qualities, but for us, it’s not enough to stop there. We also strive to create beautiful interiors and a spectacular living environment to enhance the on-board experience.  Of course, the majority of our interiors are made of wood. But did you know that all “wood” is not created equal?

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The optional light oak finish is slightly more contemporary.

Like most modern boatbuilders, we build our interior furniture using a marine grade plywood covered with a visually appealing veneer. What separates Dufour from many other builders is that the veneer we use is actually a carefully selected and finished real wood. While a more challenging material to work with because of the natural variations in the grain pattern, real wood gives each boat a warm, rich feel with unique character that is easy to maintain and repair if needed. Notice how Dufour craftsmen match up the grain across a row of cabinets.

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Notice how the grain matches?

To cut costs, some other builders have taken to using plastic laminate panels or processed wood products, but we still believe that only real wood can provide the warmth, beauty and character to make each Dufour interior truly special.

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Marine grade plywood is critical

The days of building a yacht interior completely out of solid wood ended long ago, but Dufour uses no ordinary plywood for the furniture and cabinetry. We use marine grade plywood because it has minimal gaps between the individual layers for strength, and a high-grade waterproof glue to resist the destructive effects of moisture.

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Dufour interior combine solid wood and veneers beautifully.

Soild wood is still used for door frames, fiddles, and corners. Other builders may cut costs by squaring off door frames to avoid the complex curves, or eliminate the hardwood trim altogether. But Dufour respects the elegant look that can only be achieved by shaping natural wood.

What’s the difference between Moabi and Oak woodwork?

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Traditional dark Moabi is warm and luscious.

The standard interior is built using Moabi wood that has a rich, traditional look that’s complimented by white side paneling and Corian countertops to offset the darker color. The tremendous amount of natural light supplied by numerous deck windows helps keep the Moabi interior feeling open and bright.

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Lighter oak finishes are becoming increasingly more popular.

As lighter woods have become more popular in recent years, Dufour has sourced a beautiful Canadian Oak with a lighter, more modern look. Although this elegant material comes at a slightly higher price, more customers are expressing a preference for it, with 70% of our current production shifting to Oak in recent years. The light Oak wood is paired with a “Clay” colored Corian and natural oak side panels for a more uniform appearance.

So whichever interior look you choose for your new Dufour, you’ll be getting the highest quality REAL wood materials are used to achieve the warmth, individual character and detailed finish that will be treasured by your family and guests for years to come.

Come see a brand new Dufour for yourself.