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.

The new Dufour 382

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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Blue Water Sailing reviews the Dufour 560

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“As we sailed upwind towards Malibu in the distance, the first thing that caught my eye was the tight sheeting angle of the jib. It was a thing of beauty,” writes Blue Water Sailing’s Andrew Cross. “And when it was my turn at the helm I sat to leeward and played with the telltales, feathering at about a 40-degree apparent wind angle and topping out at 7.6 knots of boatspeed. I could tell that the 560’s eight foot two inch draft was helping our upwind performance, and the smaller in-mast furling main didn’t seem to detract from our overall speed or pointing ability.

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“While sailing upwind in the fresher afternoon breeze, we healed to about 15 degrees and locked in on the boat’s hard chine, which runs nearly the length of the boat. When a gust would hit it seemed as though it might go further over, but it never did. You hear people say that some big boats sail like a dinghy, and that’s what everyone seemed to be repeating as we rotated through. The helm was light and steering was effortless. With the self-tacking jib, every maneuver was dead simple. It was all helmsman. Whoever was on the helm would jokingly call the tack and bring the boat through the wind—no adjusting sheets, just steering.

“After putting the boat through a series of graceful tacks and trying to best each other’s upwind speeds, we got the spinnaker rigged at the bow from the forward sail locker and cracked off for a set. Normally the 560 would fly a furling A-sail from the integral bowsprit, but the type of sail and color is an owner’s option so we had a borrowed cruising spinnaker in a sock.

Dufour560cockpit “We set the spinnaker during both sailing sessions, but in the increased afternoon breeze she really came into her own. Acceleration was immediate and, thanks to the electric winches, trimming the sheets was easy in all the wind conditions we encountered. Jibing took a little more coordination, but our very able crew made quick work of the task. Just as in a tack, the boat scooted forward quickly after each jibe was complete and the spinnaker was trimmed. And though we weren’t out racing with the Wednesday night fleet, we certainly looked like we could have been.

Continue reading.

Escape to the BVI on a Dufour

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“Whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul…I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”—Herman Melville, Moby Dick

When the thermometer plummets, the days shorten, and summer cruising seems like a lifetime away, we all start thinking the same thing. Escape. Winter cruising in warm climes is the perfect break from winter. And, right now, there’s no better place to head than the British Virgin Islands.

The BVIs are some of the world’s best cruising grounds, and with plenty of flights in and out, it’s easy to get away for a week or two. Our friend, Luis Fernandez at MedCarribbean, gave us the scoop on chartering a Dufour with them. Based in Tortola, their busiest time is between Christmas and Easter, and it’s not surprising why–everyone love to escape the harsh cold winter by sailing the tropics.3uJhpuIVC51R1FUCDpvZV5lCjf66s1vkTWQxdNhBV8A

As Luis explains, “The BVIs have a blend of constant wind, great temperatures, and protected anchorages. The configuration of the archipelago minimizes waves and makes for comfortable sailing. (Of course, if you want to face the open swell of the Atlantic you can, too!) The distances are perfect, so you can sail for a couple of hours and enjoy a different setting every day.” long charter can visit five or six islands. Longer charters provide the opportunity to make passages.In fact, a typical week

MedCarribbean is the only charter outfit in the BVIs with Dufour Yachts—their fleet includes four: Khitira, a Dufour 375 Grand Large; Zoe, a Dufour 410 Grand Large; Lua, a Dufour 450 Grand Large;and the newest, Noa, a Dufour 500 Grand Large.Screen Shot 2014-12-19 at 10.21.25 AM

Noa is a favorite with MedCaribbean and their clients, “The huge cockpit combined with the flat deck gives it a lot of comfort space outside. While the beam-wide, stern-opening transommakes for an instant private beach. Life on board is lived outside, which is perfect for Caribbean weather.”

If you’re considering buying your own Dufour yacht, chartering with MedCaribbean is the perfect opportunity to try before you buy. In the midst of your island getaway, you can spend some time really getting to know the boat.

It’s not fair, but we had to ask the team in Tortola: What’s their favorite sailing spot in the BVIs? It turns out it’s a toss up between Virgin Gorda and Anegada. “The first has a wide variety of beaches and anchorages and spots of interest (like the Baths), and the second represents the wild, virgin Caribbean island. To get there, you have to sail for a couple of hours usually with wind on your beam so it is very pleasant.”

Sounds like the perfect winter respite dosen’t it?

Dufour owner profile: Southern Cal 405

Photo from MIREIO

It’s no secret that Dufour yachts are well loved by those who sail them. And we can tell you all the reasons why Dufour’s are so good. But sometimes it’s best to let the experts–Dufour owners–describe what makes owning and sailing a Dufour so special.. For our first installment of our Owner Profile series, we spoke with Jonathan, a 405 owner and lawyer from Southern California, and he was kind enough to answer some questions.

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What makes you want to get out on the water?

JONATHAN S: I sailed when I was younger, and again while in law school, but then life got busy. Once my daughters graduated, the lure of the sea came back—intensely. I wanted to be out on the water and to capture that combination of the peace of the sea, the magic of a sleek hull moving through the water, and the intimate connection with the wind. From the helm of our boat I have a unique window into the natural world—the dolphins, the birds. It’s unlike anything else.

Where are your favorite places to take your 405?

Deeper Into Catalina Harbor

JS: The Channel Islands make a terrific cruising ground. Catalina is just a short afternoon sail away, and the northern Channel Islands—especially San Miguel—offer challenging conditions and a beautiful sense of wilderness. Of course, just running around Santa Monica Bay with friends is a frequent pleasure. On hot weekends, Mireio can be a luxurious swim platform—complete with a wine cellar and plenty of room to laze around.

D: What about racing?

JS: I don’t race, but I have to admit to rather enjoying overtaking other boats…

D: What made you choose a Dufour 405?

Mireio Moored at Catalina

JS: When I was evaluating boats, I found the fit and finish to be superior to that of some of the other brands that are often compared to Dufour.

Dufour takes the idea of a “performance cruiser ” more seriously than anyone else. For instance: the asymmetrical sprit, the “true” mainsail instead of a roller furl, the traveller setup—all of these features were standard with Dufour. Sure, I could order them as options on another boat, but they seemed more like afterthoughts rather than part of the boat’s character.

As I said before, I don’t race, but I take a lot of pleasure in adjusting trim. I enjoy all of the ways Mireio provides for this. I also preferred the Dufour representatives I worked with; they seemed more deeply involved in sailing and more attuned to the performance aspect.

D: Having sailed the boat for a few seasons, are you still happy with your decision?

JS: Absolutely. This is one of my happiest, long-term purchases. I’ve never looked back and I’d make the same choice again, but I have to admit that a test sail on the brand-new 560 did surprise me. It’s the one boat that’s ever made me momentarily disloyal to my current boat—but only momentarily.

D: How do you use the boat?

JS: We mostly take day trips and go on regular overnights to Catalina, with the occasional foray north.  No long distance voyages—yet.

D: Sounds like you might be planning something, what will your next adventure be?

JS: Certainly more sails among the Channel Islands north, and maybe a sail down the length of Baja California.

D: If you could take your boat anywhere, where would you go?

JS: I’d love to sail the Maine coast, down to Martha’s Vineyard, and continue south. Even further afield, it would be great to sail in Europe—the Adriatic, by the Calanques east of Marseilles, and along the Amalfi Coast.

D: Can you share some of the coolest experiences you’ve had onboard?

JS: We had a wild time at Santa Rosa Island in pretty high winds that dissuaded us from heading out to San Miguel, where there were 35-knot winds and 10-foot seas. I’ll never forget a sail to Catalina on a moonless night with the spinnaker flying.

And, once we’ve dropped the hook, there have been some great dinners aboard Mireio. It’s the good life aboard in Emerald Cove—homemade penne with field mushrooms, a fine Cote Rotie, and, most importantly, great friends.

Fly to Paris…and then sail home on a Dufour?

Champs Elysies 022Sounds great doesn’t it? First, fly to Paris. Then check out every single Dufour Grand Large model at the Paris boat show (in addition to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral and maybe even the Moulin Rouge!). Then jump on the TGV with Dufour’s American representative and head down to La Rochelle to see how the boats are built in our state-of-the-art factory.

IMG_4939Sure, you won’t actually be able to sail home immediately after placing your order, but we can all agree it’s a pretty cool way to shop for a boat, and it’s actually not that hard to do as long as you don’t mind returning to France to pick up your new boat once it’s built. A hardship many wouldn’t mind enduring.

Screen Shot 2014-11-04 at 10.23.50 PMSo, if you’re thinking of buying for a new Dufour, there’s never been a better time than right now.

We’d love to help organize a trip to the Paris boat show so you can see the whole range in one place, and a factory tour in La Rochelle so you can experience fine French boat building for yourself.

Click here to contact us so we can help you put a trip together.

And here’s just a taste of what you’ll see when you get there.

Dufour 310 Grand Large

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The idea behind the 310 was to create a small boat with all the technology, iconic style and comfort of the bigger Dufour models.

Dufour 350 Grand Large

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Click here to learn more about this innovative 35-footer.

Dufour 382 Grand Large

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This mid-sized performance cruiser has speed to burn.

Dufour 410 Grand Large

This proven model hits the sweet spot between performance, comfort, and style.

Dufour 450 Grand Large

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The 450 Grand Large is the definitive 45-footer.

Dufour 500 Grand Large

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Uncompromising luxury is very sexy.

Dufour Grand Large 560

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 Our flagship 56-footer is pretty sexy too.

Come see us at the Annapolis sailboat show!

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The new Dufour 500 Grand Large (pictured above) is only one of several new models that we’re excited to be showing off at the US Sailboat Show in Annapolis next week.

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500 Grand Large

It has powerful, yet easily managed sail plan that delivers fantastic performance in variety of conditions. And an integrated retractable sprit that makes flying a Code0 and other down wind sails a snap.

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As you can see, the 500 has plenty of cockpit space for larger groups to enjoy the ride in total comfort. And Dufour’s signature drop down swim platform that makes for an awesome lounge space when at anchor.

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And the 500’s wide-open interior layout is perfect for entertaining family and friends.

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560 Grand Large

Meanwhile, what more can we really say about the new “Flagship” 560 Grand Large? Except for WOW.GZ3Hx95Y0lwc9D78a0WRgCBvST05whn0ozUjFyvqQS8[1]

The way the 560‘s modern design combines sweeping lines, angled corners, flush-mounted hatches, teak decks, and sleek side windows is simply striking.

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And the cockpit is even bigger than it looks. Notice the fantastic visibility from the helm stations as well as the ultra-lux lounge space? Come to Annapolis to see the deck lay out that represents the pinnacle of modern style and sophistication.

MDV_DquZS-wh10qkrg1RGyc3f0TW-uCIeFpso2Kwz3I[1]But the 560’s good looks are way more than skin deep. It has a highly efficient hull shape, powerful aft sections, low wetted surface area, and an extremely effective keel & rudder set up. The high ballast ratio and increased form stability of the hull enables the boat to support a powerful sail plan without sacrificing cruising comfort and safety.

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The sail plan has been designed to guarantee maximum performance with minimum effort. The fixed bowsprit, the self tacking jib and the boom inclined forward are all examples of a sail plan that is derived from Open 60’s (around the world solo sailors), where speed and ease of handling is mandatory.

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And how could you forget all that luxury and style down below on the 560? You’ll have to see it to really get a feel for how much space there is.

410 Grand Large

Meanwhile, the Grand Large 410 may be the smallest boat we’ll have at the show this year, but as you’ll see in previous reports here, it’s loaded with good-looking, clever, and go-fast features both on deck and below.-J-L2HbvHbNvK-bc6ALEvjMwI3OOdiGd9BI6wBo8iLE[1]

PH3SF59gUT667rPUaNG9Zb-oZTnucL0TlkYaEopmwKA[1]So, when are you coming to the show? Leave a comment below if you have a question. We’ll try to answer any we can before the show, and hope to talk to you in person during the show!

Dufour Insider: 410 Grand Large

Screen Shot 2014-09-27 at 5.55.46 AMHere’s a sneak peek of some of the innovative features you’ll find aboard the 410 Grand Large at the Annapolis Sailboat Show in October. As you can see in the photo above, it has a wide cockpit with comfortable seats, dual helms, sturdy cockpit table with integrated chart plotter mount, coachroof-mounted traveller, and a large opening transom for maximum cruising comfort. But those are only a few of this performance cruiser’s well-though-out design elements.

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The helm seats are just one of this boat’s common sense features that offshore cruisers will appreciate. Like many dual helm stations, visibility is excellent, and access to all sail controls is great too, but unlike most other boats, the 410 has these clever helm seat extensions that make it possible to have a comfortable, forward-facing seat as well.

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While the forward-facing helm seat extension will probably come in handy on long calm passages when the auto pilot is steering, these fantastic, integrated helm wedges will really come in handy on long up wind legs. Anyone who has ever sailed up wind on a boat without some way to stand flat and comfortable when the boat heels will agree, these are essential, and the sturdy and oversized wedges on the 410 can be set at just the right angle.

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The 410 also has the large drop down swim platform that all Dufour’s are known for. When it’s open, access to the cockpit through the walk-through stern is excellent. And the teak-topped swim platform is essentially a portable beach!  Meanwhile, when the swim platform , the cockpit feels much more secure than most boats that have large, wide-open sterns that are simply protected with wire lifelines.

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Another feature you’ll find on the 410 that you won’t find on many other 40-foot performance cruisers is this clever “retractable cockpit bed” that as you can see in the photos, quickly turns a cockpit seat into a full-on lounger.

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And the cool thing about this design is that it retracts easily without impacting the cockpit locker access.

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The 410 also strikes the balance between performance and comfort with this optional removable sprit that’s both east to rig and stow.

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And as you’ll see in this video clip below, the interior is as clever and as cruiser-friendly as the on deck features.

And if that’s not enough to get you excited about the new 410, check this out.