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

Cannes, 01/09/2015. Photoshoot new Dufour Yachts model, Dufour 460, Photo © Jean Marie Liot / Dufour Yachts

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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Dufour Dealers Do Much More Than Just Sell Boats (part 1)

Dufour 405 Jasmin at the 2015 Chicago-Mac start

Dufour 405 Jasmin at the 2015 Chicago-Mac start

Great Lakes Dufour dealers and founders of Broad Reach Sailing in Chicago are more than just boat dealers. Ted Anderson was the VP of Operations for a large aerospace corporation before he co-founded Broad Reach Sailing with Todd Williamson. Anderson also graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy and was a surface warfare officer and nuclear engineer in the US Navy. Meanwhile, Todd Williamson got hooked on sailing while taking a semester long wilderness course in Baja Mexico. (NOLS). He founded his first sailing school in 2003 and teamed up with Anderson to form Broad Reach Sailing shortly after that.

They love to sail and it shows. The teach sailing. They have a fractional ownership program. And what may be the most fun of all, they sail and race with their customers. They also know that nothing compares with the venerable Chicago-Mac race and they race with a group of Dufour owners every summer.

The crew of the Dufour 405 Jasmin celebrate a strong finish at the end of this year’s Chicago-Mac race.

And this year, the crew of the Dufour 405 Jasmin (pictured above) owned by Dave Ormesher came in fourth out of about 30 boats in the cruising division. While Steve Salk’s brand new Dufour 500 Full Circle and a Dufour 36P also competed in the annual race to the island.

The Great Lakes Dufour community always enjoys Chicago-Mac.

Members of Broad Reach Sailing were part of each crew and as Todd Williamson says, “There’s a great Dufour community on the Great Lakes. We’re all friends and we’re already planning for next year.”

The folks at Broad Reach Sailing know that buying a new Dufour is only the beginning. The real fun starts once their new owners really get to experience the performance and comfort that Dufour’s are known for. And helping new owners get the most out of their boats is what they do best.

If you’re looking for a new boat and are in the Chicago area, go visit Todd and Ted at Broad Reach Sailing. They make it easy to enjoy owning a Dufour.

And be sure to check back later for Part 2 of this series that will cover fractional ownership that Ted, Todd, and other dealers offer.

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.

Dufour Yachts names new Australian importer

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Sydney’s famous Opera House is the perfect backdrop for testing the full range of Dufour Yachts that are now being imported to Australia by PCY.

Dufour Yachts is pleased to announce that Performance Cruising Yachts has been named the exclusive agent and importer for Dufour Yachts in Australia.

Performance Cruising Yachts is headed up by Ex-Olympic yacht racer Matt Hayes. PCY is located in exclusive marina facilities at Sydney’s Darling Harbour, and features a staff of 15 that includes service technicians, maintenance personnel, professional skippers and administrative support. It’s also the sister company to successful yacht charter business Sydney by Sail that was established in 2003.

Dufour CEO Salvatore Servio and PCY's Matt Hayes celebrate their new partnership.

Dufour CEO Salvatore Serio and PCY’s Matt Hayes celebrate their new partnership.

Dufour CEO, Salvatore Serio said, “We are thrilled to confirm our decision to work with Matt Hayes and his extremely talented team at Performance Cruising Yachts. The spectacular location in downtown Sydney is the perfect setting to display our range of modern cruising yachts. Over the past 20 years, Mr. Hayes has developed a proven formula for success and attracted an immense customer following perfectly suited to our products.”

Performance Cruising Yachts’ Matt Hayes said: “Dufour Yachts products are a perfect fit for our broad base of active sailing clients. The outstanding stability and sailing qualities, cruising comforts and high quality finish stand a cut above the other offerings in our marketplace. My recent visit to the Dufour Shipyard in La Rochelle showed me how impressive Dufour is on all levels. I was able to see firsthand how their experienced boat builders are able to take high quality materials and efficiently transform them into exceptional cruising yachts using highly refined processes.”

The partnership started off at the hugely successful Sydney Boat Show last month.

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PCY hosted a celebratory cocktail reception that was attended by more than 80 Dufour owners and prospects. And the response to the new models they had on display—310 and 382—and PYC was fantastic.

And this is only the beginning. Stay tuned.

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

First Look: Dufour 460 Grand Large

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The newest Dufour is still so new we can only give you a glimpse of the 3D drawings. But its easy to see that the Dufour 460 is a modern, high-performance cruiser that fits perfectly into our line of sophisticated, award-winning boats.

And like the hugely popular 560 (and all of our new-generation models that we partnered with Umberto Felci to design), the smaller, 460 has the same dual wheels in the cockpit, the same highly efficient self-tacking jib, the same, ultra sexy hard chine aft, and of course it’s equipped with the same bow-sprit that forms a great mounting point for code 0 as well as an easier way to deploy the anchor without damaging the boat’s plumb bow.

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As you can also see, the new 460 boats the hugely popular aft swim platform and outdoor “galley.”Dufour 46 GL - Forward galley version 6The interior is bright, spacious and modern. The galley up by the bulkhead allows the salon seating area to occupy the widest area of the boat.

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The salon also benefits from significant headroom and plenty of light from both fixed windows and opening hatches.

Dufour 460 GL - Forward galley version 8The galley also boasts significant stowage and counter space. Most owners may want to be cooking up on deck, but his galley is also ideally suited for offshore passagmaking.

So that’s just a taste. The first models are being built now and the boat will be making its debut at the Cannes Boat Show in France in September. We’re putting together several VIP tours to see the new 460 as soon as it’s launched over at the factory in France.

So if you’re interested, be sure to contact your nearest Dufour dealer (listed below).

New England: North Star Yacht Sales

California, Florida, Washington: Denision Yacht Sales

Annapolis: North Point Yacht Sales

Chicago: Broad Reach Sailing

Toronto: True North Yachts

Vancouver: Yacht Sales West

Montreal: Marina Lennox

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: 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.