First Look: Dufour 350 Grand Large

KV-nVcR0geQJAuEc-qF77eLTM_QoHnEIC2FnqgxHYEoAll the time and energy we spend designing and building boats during the long, cold winter pays off as soon as the sails are set, and the tell-tales start streaming straight back, the light, stiff hull heels slightly to weather and then just takes off like a rocket. And that’s most certainly the case with the Dufour 350 Grand Large. It’s one of our newest models. And that’s saying something because quite frankly, they’re all new.

The entire Dufour line has been completely reinvigorated in the last two years. And people are really starting to notice. The 560 is winning awards around the world. The 500 is fast becoming the gold-standard in the 50-foot range. And the 410 is redefining what you should expect from a 41-footer.

But there’s really something special about the 350. As you can see in the photos and video, every inch of this design has been studied, and tweaked, and optimized, and maximized to be much more than just comfortable.

PJQv9yhnAvmspO-hkBP7mo5EBcLBTlh3clcnUDtICy8The 350 stands out for several reasons including the large cockpit, sexy, low-slung coachroof, low freeboard and wide side-decks. But it’s the twin wheels, clever retractable helm seats, and super-yacht inspired drop-down swim platform that catch most people’s attention. And the cool thing about all these design elements (as with every Dufour we build) is that they serve their purpose both skilfully and elegantly.

EqpDPSgWXZSKXJZKxcFak8pA_ggIa_mNvGufE7pbbR0Don’t you want to go for a sail right now? We do. And the twin wheels not only provide excellent visibility under sail, they, make a fully functional, easy-to-walk-through transom a reality too.

ST2bNUNzFd_RnPpzQwXJwfcg4tUejmoF6ni9zDgb95w The large saloon. The bright modern woodwork. The high-quality fixtures.

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The sophisticated lighting and the good-sized galley and wide-open double doors into the forward cabin have a unity (and utility) of design that’s equally refreshing and effective.

YECgQUrBuSKnv_pA40mlYQbp6AU6y6j6NBMYl6CxUpYEvery inch of storage space is maximized beautifully. Here the fixed saloon table provides copious bottle storage and even a silverware tray that can be easily slid out of way when you’re ready for another bottle of fine French wine.

cpeMm0MnzuGv146JZSPv9R2OxpZ4dKsiM8BLLiPYksEAnd since we’ve already spent a good chunk of time explaining how these boats are built, we’ll just leave you with this shot of attention to detail that goes into every boat we build. So, if you’re in the market for a mid-sized boat with some very big features should really check the new 350 out for yourself. In fact, you should check out the 350 if you’re in the market for a boat of any size. It’s a whole new reality.

Dufour Yachts: How the boats are built (Part 1)

All Dufour Yachts are built in our facility in La Rochelle, France. They all combine fine hand craftsmanship with innovative high-tech construction techniques. It all starts with the hull, and this is how we do it.

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It actually all starts in a hull mold (pictured above). We start with a flawless, highly polished two-piece mold and then spray layers of gelcoat that form the outer layer of each hull. Each hull is then laid up with a precise, highly engineered number of layers of fiberglass, resin, and various core materials that are all placed in each mold by hand.

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Here you can see the hull is beginning to take shape. Notice the layers of fiberglass and resin that have already been applied. Also notice how the rudder area is reinforced. Our molds are built on special rollers (pictured below) so they can be rotated in-place. This makes it much easier for workers to lay the various layers.

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This shot shows the underside of one of our molds. And as you can see, they are extremely well-built to extremely high tolerances so every hull comes out perfect. You can also see how much they can be rotated in place. Rotating molds speed production and increase quality because they are much easier to work on than static molds.

Capture10All Dufour hulls below 50-feet are built of solid fiberglass while the 500 GL (pictured above) and the 560 GL are laid up with solid fiberglass below the waterline and PVC core above the waterline to provide strength and stiffness. This photo also shows how workers reinforce high-load areas such as chainplate connections and keel areas with increased layers of fiberglass and resin.

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Another important element of hull lamination is the fact that Dufour uses 2-part molds as you can see in the photos above. This makes it easy to release the finished hull from the mold, and it also allows for an inward-facing flange that forms a strong and elegant inward-facing hull-to-deck joint.

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One of the first elements that’s added to freshly laid-up hull is the structural grid. This shot also shows what the inward-facing flange looks like and some of the other early tasks that are done at this stage like cutting out the hull ports and installing a strip of PVC core material to the aft area of the hull to provide increased stiffness. Capture7As a result of the high attention to detail paid in the early stages of construction, each hull comes out of the mold looking clean, sexy, and fast.

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We’re never satisfied with the status quo and our high-tech facility allows us to build the best because every element of the production line is constantly being upgraded. We’re always to looking to improve efficiency and performance, but also you can also see below, we believe our production facility should be as beautiful as our boats.

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Click here for part 2 of this multi-part series where we’ll explain the innovative process we use to build our decks.