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: 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!

Dufour 410 puts the “Racer” in Cruiser / Racer

11329842_10152922633403870_7073258810069751241_n Eric Kesler and the crew of his new Dufour 410 Sea Dacha didn’t waste any time getting down to business in the 470-mile Annapolis-to-Newport race earlier this summer. And as you can see in this photo taken before the start, they were pretty ready for the sporty conditions they experienced in the race. And so was their Dufour 410. In fact, an overnight offshore race like the Annapolis-to-Newport race was almost tailor-made for a boat like the 410. It’s fast and easy-to-sail and it will also take care of you when the seas get up. The cockpit is wide enough to provide excellent visibility for the helmsman, and plenty of room for the trimmers and crew to work. Sail controls all lead back to the cockpit and dual instrument pods in front of each helm deliver all the vital in for you need to keep the boat sailing fast.NMC8ZiVJUOdbcW0XfJVAa0I_qpnStQz7ztdeB1Zs3yg

But the cool thing about the 410 is that it truly is a cruiser / racer. It has a fast hull shape with a sophisticated keel and rudder system and a powerful rig, but it’s manageable as well. It’s a comfortable cruiser  that as we see, can also win races. And you don’t have to be a veteran offshore racer with decades of experience to handle it. In fact the Sea Dacha came in 1st place in their class in spite of the fact that some of the crew had limited offshore experience. And this is where Eric’s relationship with Grady Buys, his after sales yachting specialist from North Point Yacht Sales in Annapolis, Maryland really paid off.

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Grady didn’t just sell Eric a boat. He helped him get it set up for both cruising and racing and then he even joined Eric’s crew on the race up to Newport. And not only that, they won their class. Talk about full service!

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So if you’re looking for a new Dufour in the Annapolis area give Grady a call. He knows boats. He knows racing. And he sure knows Dufour. And if you’re lucky, he may even race with you.

Click here for more info

Dufour Insider: Performance sailplans

jTqLc0AX5G-y5sNJiZz9JfvYnTaAh7J07g6qvXPKYZoAs any of you who have visited this site already know, Dufour Yachts are performance cruisersAnd we’ll be the first to admit that the term performance cruiser is used to describe so many boats these days that the word can mean different things to different people.

But, we here at Dufour take the term very seriously, and are constantly striving to strike the delicate and rewarding balance between comfortable accommodations and sports car performance. You’ve seen it in how we, and Umberto Felci’s team design our hulls, and keels and rudders. And how we take great pride in devising innovative solutions to maximize comfort both on deck and below.

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And just as you can’t have a sports car without a powerful engine, you can’t have a serious performance cruising sailboat without a sophisticated, modern rig, and a powerful, yet easy-to-manage sailplan. We also talk to customers from time to time who are convinced that you can’t have a true performance boat without sailplan that features a big, overlapping, hard-to-grind-in 155% genoa. And since there’s no really easy way to say this, we’ll just say it. It’s not true!

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All Dufour’s are rigged with tall, fractional rigs that feature bigger, more powerful mainsails and smaller fractional headsails that hardly overlap at all because this configuration simply performs better in nearly every condition. Some of the ways modern fractional rigs are superior to the overlapping masthead rigs of the “good ol days” include:

You don’t have to reef as often since the basic sail controls depower the mainsail to a greater extent.

When it is time to reef the boat’s center of effort and the weight aloft is reduced at the same time. The boat still balances well.

A reefed main retains its efficiency way better than an roller-reefed jib. In fact a roller reefed genoa is a horribly inefficient at every angle.

The chainplates can move outboard and compression loads on the mast can be greatly reduced.

In turn these lower loads allow for reduced weight in both the rig and the hull structures.

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An added bonus with a fractional rig is that it can be placed farther forward in the boat so there can be more open space inside without the keel-stepped mast or compression post breaking up the saloon.

While we do offer an option for in-mast furling, most of our boats are still delivered with traditional mainsails because we have made them much easier to handle. The “inclined boom” inspired by the design of the open 60’s (which are sailed singlehanded) allows plenty of headroom clearance in the cockpit with a gooseneck lowered to down to a comfortable working height. We also supply a lazy bag and lazy jacks as well as single line reefing.

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Most of our models have a self-tacking jib, which is great for convenience upwind, but does give up some performance on the reaching angles. As soon as you ease the sheet on the self tacker, the top opens up and you lose power. So to make up for that, we have integrated the possibility for the furling “Code 0” style asymmetrical headsails into every model. You can have the best of both worlds and the convenience of a furling sail for reaching.

All our models also offer the option of a 108% overlapping jib as well. For customers who sail in predominantly light winds and don’t mind tacking the jib manually, they can have tracks on the deck and a larger sail, giving them the choice to use either one as they see fit.

Take one for a test sail and you’ll see. Nothing strikes the balance between performance and luxury quite like a Dufour.

First Look: Dufour 382 Grand Large

The new Dufour 382We love this shot of the new Dufour 382 Grand Large because it really sets the tone for what this new model is–modern, beautiful, and pointed directly into the future. The Dufour design and construction teams have already had huge success with the bigger models like the 500 and the 560, but the 382 is no less impressive. In fact, since it’s harder to maximize the space on a smaller boat than it is on a larger one, this new performance cruiser in the mid-30-foot range may be even more impressive.

The new Dufour 382

Talk about big boat features on a smaller boat. The 382 boasts the superior visibility and the ease of a walk-through transom that dual helms make possible. The helms also have fantastic helm seat extensions that are as brilliant as they are comfortable.

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The cockpit is also finished out with just the right amount of teak decking while the coach roof mounted traveller provides just the right amount of control when the wind pipes up. Don’t you just want to be there in this photo?

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Meanwhile, it’s wonderfully spacious below. I mean, how’s this for an interior lay out on a 36-footer? Head room is well over 6 feet. There’s room for 4-6 around the table. The double doors into the forward cabin make the space feel even bigger. And the woodwork is stunning.

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Clever features like the small but effective nav station, and even the elegant lighting show how much effort was spent to ensure that the interior lay out delivers every comfort and convenience.

And the 382 is also incredibly versatile.

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As you can see, the interior is available in many different configurations and you even get a choice of wood finish. This kind of “customization” is actually pretty rare on a boat of this size. But we believe choice is important and it makes all the difference in the world.

IMG_9170These large deck “windows,” in addition to many opening ports and hatches will insure the accommodations will always be light and airy.

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Every yacht designer will tell you that effective, and easy-to-access stowage is at a premium on sub-40-footers and good storage is also the first to be sacrificed when design decisions get made. And that’s what makes the 382 so impressive. Simply put, the stowage is awesome. In fact the entire accommodation plan is awesome.

The new Dufour 382

If you’re in the market for a mid-sized performance cruiser that’s way bigger and sexier that you’d imagine, you should take the 382 for a test sail. It just might be the boat that’ll covert you from a boat “shopper” to a boat “buyer.”

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

 

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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