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.

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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 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.

Dufour Insider: Style Matters

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I believe that style: in sailboats, or clothes, or houses, or even…minivans…matters. This became crystal clear after the birth of our second daughter when my wife demanded a minivan! And if you stick with me, you might see your next boat purchase in a whole new light.

My wife had been an avowed minivan hater for as long as I’d known her, so her newfound love for minivans came as a mildly disturbing surprise. But with the addition of the second car seat, stroller, and all the other stuff that comes with a growing family, the Nissan Pathfinder of our youth just wasn’t cutting it anymore. She was intoxicated by the magic of automatic side opening doors, extra storage space and a built in entertainment system. Her conversion was complete.

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Dufour interiors are timelessly clean and modern.

So the shopping process began. Two models quickly rose to the top. The Honda Odyssey and, by way of brand loyalty, the Nissan Quest. They both had most of the features we were looking for, were within our price range and had good reputations for reliability. The Nissan seemed to have a little more interior volume and was about $5,000 cheaper. But to me, the look of the thing came up a bit short. It wasn’t that bad and I would not go so far as to call the Honda a beautiful vehicle, but it looked a lot more balanced in the profile and it somehow seemed to add a certain “coolness” to the parent factor. So while the concept of saving $5,000 was very tempting, we bucked our brand loyalty and went with the Honda.

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This cockpit will never go out of style.

It’s been a fantastic vehicle for us and in a parental kind of way, I still really like the way it looks. Occasionally I’ll see one of those Nissan Quests on the road and to me, they are just plain ugly. Although we paid more for the Honda, several years later I know we made the right choice and bought something that, at least in the realm of mini-vans, looked good and felt right.

So what does this have to do with Dufour sailboats? Well, some say that the current styling trends of some other sailboat brands—boxy shapes, angular lines, slab sides, high freeboard and top heavy profiles—will fall out of fashion and are going to look pretty dated in a few years.

DUFOUR_YACHTS_PLAN_MOYEN_27Sure we’re biased because our boats aren’t styled according to the latest “trends,” but we aren’t making up the customer feedback that comes through at the boat shows either. People are going out of their way to tell us how much better we look. They mention how clean our lines are, how sleek and sexy the profile of the whole range is, and how everything just “works”.

From the inside you can see that the Dufour style is clean and modern but not trendy. World renowned designer Umberto Felci and our in-house design team always go for looks that merge form and function without sacrificing either one. We always strive to to achieve a certain elegance above and below decks. And the results speak for themselves

So while shopping for your next boat, picture what it’s going to look like 5 years from now.

Will you still look forward to stepping on board every time?

Will you look back at it with pride as you leave it on its mooring?

Dufour owners we talk to say “YES!.”

Do yourself a favor and don’t be stuck with a boat that’s going to look dated in a few years.

Timeless elegance never goes out of style.

Click here to connect with a dealer in your area.

PS Dufour Yachts will ALWAYS be cooler and more stylish than our minivan (pictured below), but you get the drift!

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Top 5 posts of the year

We’re celebrating the one year anniversary of launching this blog by calling out the top 5 posts of the year. And the cool thing we’ve discovered by going back and seeing what the most popular posts were is that we have readers (and contributors) from all over the world. In fact, our most popular post included a video that Alvaro Bermudez, one of our South American Dealers, shot during an offshore passage on a Dufour 410.

#1 Dufour Lifestyle: Sailing Transatlantic on a Dufour 410

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Alvaro, inspired us with this story of sailing a new Dufour 410 from the factory in La Rochelle all the way across the Atlantic (and the Equator) to his home in Uruguay.

Click here for the full story

#2 Dufour Insider: How the boats are built

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All Dufour Yachts are built in our facility in La Rochelle, France and our “How-the-boats-are built” series was a big hit.  These stories show how all Dufours combine fine hand craftsmanship with innovative high-tech construction techniques. And this is how we do it.

Click here for part 1 of this 5 part series.

#3 Dufour Difference: 50 years of history

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Dufour Yachts was born when Michel Dufour was working at a factory that manufactured parts for locomotives near La Rochelle, France in 1964. At the time, he was in charge of the workshop that fabricated parts out of a new and revolutionary material—fiberglass. The factory was building parts that were used on the front of trains as well as for door and window frames. But since Dufour was also a passionate and successful racing sailor, it didn’t take long for him to realize that fiberglass could be the ideal building material for boats.

Click here for more cool Dufour history.

#4 Dufour Insider: Keels

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It’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.

Click here for the full story.

#5 Summer is here: Get in the cockpit and grill! 

The Dufour 560 and many other Dufour models have several features that similar sized performance cruisers just don’t have. And as you can see in the photo above, the enormous cockpit of the 560 that doubles as super-stylish portable sun deck at anchor is just one of them.

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But what really sets Dufour’s apart is the ingenious built-in cockpit “galley” that’s integrated into the stern area of the 560 and other models. Hot and cold pressure water is available in the sink, the cook top is big enough to cook a gourmet meal, and there’s counter space and storage space too. Why would you ever want to cook anywhere else?

Click here to continue reading.

Do you have a favorite post? Please share it with us below. Or better yet, come to the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland next week and tell us in person (and check out all our new models too)!

Dufour 382 Grand Large North American Debut

ZG6bQQXViXFacM_gJ3V2P8IRzHinYkZJT5iDW2upRlQWe’re extremely excited to announce that one of our newest and most versatile models will be making its North American debut at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis from October 8-12.

The Dufour 382 Grand Large is a 37-footer that has the soul of a much bigger boat because Umberto Felci and the Dufour design team have come up with innovative solutions to insure this good-looking performance cruiser is available in a wide range of configurations that you don’t usually see on boats in the 30-foot range.

TIiJFgSOGUgTOqjn0vzwv-aeMGZYcSAFLeLTpIDs9f8And the choices are much more than the usual optional equipment. The interior is available in with six different floor plans. There are two possible galley positions, two or three cabin versions, and it’s also possible to add a second head.

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The boat that will be on display in Annapolis has two cabins, one head and an “L” shaped galley. It also has a huge cockpit locker on the port side. m5t7ZKYJHJ7z1DABUgamkkS3ZnjfWY1PRiWefvvZFhsA set of double doors opening to the enclosed forward cabin open up the saloon to provide a spacious social area that’s bright and airy thanks to two big deck windows and several opening hatches.

The sailplan offers the same flexibility and can be configured to suit your sailing preferences and prevailing weather. You can order a new 382 with: a standard or tall mast, self-tacking jib or overlapping genoa, classic mainsail or in-mast furling.  A fixed sprit can also be added to accommodate a gennaker or furling Code Zero sail as well.

The huge cockpit, large, drop-down transom, dual helms, and clever helm seats are additional examples of how the Dufour design team looked to maximize every inch of space on deck. And it works beautifully.

gkcMeaiWIQER7lxNs2OyFZwCWgkq2PWSxLNJnn5jcjcThe boat will be in Cruising World’s Boat of the Year contest and SAIL magazine’s Best Boat competition.

So, if you’re in the market for a mid-sized performance cruiser that’s way bigger and sexier that you’d imagine, check out this complete walk through tour for the complete story!

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Click here to locate a dealer in your area to find our more.

Summer is Here! Get in the Cockpit and Grill!

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The Dufour 560 and many other Dufour models have several features that similar sized performance cruisers just don’t have. And as you can see in the photo above, the enormous cockpit of the 560 that doubles as super-stylish portable sun deck at anchor is just one of them.

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But what really sets Dufour’s apart is the ingenious built-in cockpit “galley” that’s integrated into the stern area of the 560 and other models. Hot and cold pressure water is available in the sink, the cook top is big enough to cook a gourmet meal, and there’s counter space and storage space too. Why would you ever want to cook anywhere else?

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Of course, every galley needs a fridge, right? The fridge that’s built into the sturdy cockpit table insures there’s always have a cold drink close at hand.

KR8ZAVDwJMY8gR5Tea_4FoVPBo0KbKjgPwnrN1mPTzsThe beauty of the stern area on our newest generation models is the way they combine both form and function. Lifting the gas-shock powered stern seats reveals the entire galley and provides easy-to-pass-through cockpit access. As you can see, the swim platform is huge and there’s tons of storage space for both the liferaft and other on-deck essentials.

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But when you’re really ready to chill out, the cockpits on these models convert into ultra-comfortable lounge areas. I mean check out the “beds” on the stern seats when they down. Wake me up when it’s time for cocktails!

xI0i7_VOjh6JufAUw-1H2piiGmXbv9aZ1Ava8imBw04And if the stern beds weren’t enough space, the cockpit seat easily converts into a double “bed,” while also allowing access to a deep cockpit locker.

We at Dufour take the comfort of being at anchor as seriously as the boat’s performance undersell and it shows. So get out there and sail, and sunbathe, and GRILL!

Dufour Insider: Design Difference

State-of-the-art construction techniques and best-in-class attention to detail are just a couple of the many ways that Dufour Yachts stand out in a very cowded field. But none of that would be possible without award-winning designs. And that’s what Dufour’s long-term relationship with world-renowned yacht designer Umbero Felci so special.

Unberto is more than just a yacht designer. He’s an artist. And anyone who’s sailed a Felci-designed Dufour (there have been 25 new Felci-designed models since 2005) would agree.

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However, he’s also a scientist who uses sophisticated computer programs and large scale tank-test models to ensure his designs sail as good as they look.

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And wait till you see the new models he’s working on next.

Dufour Lifestyle: Sailing Transatlantic on a Dufour 410

It’s been fun explaining how Dufour Yachts are built. But it’s even more fun hearing from happy owners who sail their boats all over the world. And that’s what makes this next video post so special.

We bumped into one of our South American Dufour dealers, Alvaro Bermudez, at the Miami boat show last month, and he’s inspired us with this story of sailing a new Dufour 410 from the factory in La Rochelle all the way across the Atlantic (and the Equator) to his home in Uruguay. The trip took 45 days and it sounded fantastic. And the cool thing is you can see for yourself. Alvaro was kind enough to share some of his video footage of the trip and we’ve spliced it together with some of the interview we did with him in Miami. Makes you want to get out there and sail over the horizon doesn’t it?

And we want to hear from you too. Please send us photos and videos of your Dufour here. We’ll be featuring the best photos and videos in future blog posts, and the wining submissions will earn a free Dufour hat too.

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?