By David McCreary
Dufour 40: High Performance Cruising
Dufour's new 40 leads their new line change
Dufour Yachts of France is expanding their line of yachts with three new Dufour series models in the coming months and will be phasing out their Classic line. Dufour isn’t using the term “racer-cruiser” to describe the new boats, in recognition of their current consumer base who aren’t racing their Dufours. They’ve chosen the term “High Performance Cruising” which one could fairly apply to plenty of boats touting themselves as racer-cruisers which won’t be raced.
Dufour’s consumer base in the mid to late 70s did plenty of racing, however, and the upgrade of the Classic line to more modern, faster hull designs brings Dufour full circle in the U.S. It’s first entry into this market (Dufour was the first French-built production sailboat line sold here) was a half-ton racer named Arpege. Dufour sold a lot of Arpeges, and a lot of people raced them (designer Bob Perry, for one, raced on one in the 1974 Chicago to Mac). Dufour disappeared from the US market in the 80s, returned in the 90s with the Classic line of boats there were sold as “fast cruisers”. Some accomodations were made for the US market, most notably raising the headroom inside the 38 to 6’5″.
Dufour was recently acquired by Italy’s Cantiere del Pardo, the company who builds the Grand Soleil line. With the new Dufour Series, Cantiere Del Pardo now has a broad market spread: the Dufour Gib’Sea line are budget-minded Family Cruisers, the Dufour Series line fills the Performance Cruising market, and the Grand Soleil line covers the high-end, Grand Prix / IMS market. The European order book for Grand Soleil’s is so overbooked they have had no incentive to import into the U.S.: if you want one, you get one in Italy.
The first boat in the new Dufour series is the Dufour 40, which made its debut at the Cannes, France boatshow on September 11-16. The 40 features a vacuum injected deck, allowing a weight savings of 30% over their previous construction methods and allowing 3″ more headroom. The hull layup is vacuum bagged PVC/Glass/Kevlar sandwich, assuring rigidity and more weight savings. The center of gravity is moved center and down, providing for a smoother passage in a seaway and a seakindly helm.
Some obvious design features mark the new 40 as a big departure from the Classic line: the plumb bow, Farr 395-style cockpit with a very large wheel, and the traveller location – directly in front of the binnacle and imbedded in the cockpit floor. Cantiere del Pardo had Italy’s Felci Yacht Design draw the lines for its Grand Soleil 44, which has done extremely well in European IMS circuits this spring and summer. They went back to the well again for the Dufour 40, bringing Felci’s racing and Fast Cruiser experience to bear on this new boat.
Dufour is offering three interior layouts in the 40:
- 3 cabin version with 2 heads (vberth forward with one head forward, one amidships to starboard
- 3 cabin version with one head, featuring a double berth on the port side forward, replacing the v-berth, midship head
- 2 cabin version, the aft starboard cabin being replaced by a sail locker accessible from the cockpit, and a separate shower stall. (This version will be the only one imported to the US in 2002).
Many owners of the Dufour Gib’sea line have favored the port-side forward berth, it gives a passageway into the cabin and saves one from clambering onto the v-berth and then swinging your legs around into the sleeping position. The side berth gives a sense of much greater space with little loss of sleeping room.
Base price for the boat is $186,000, but with the most common packages of additional cruising gear and electronics, a reasonable sailaway price should be about $210,000.
The next boats in the new line are a 34 footer and a 44.
|Shoal Draft||5′ 3″||1.60m|
|Deep Draft||6′ 11″||2.10m|
|Displacement||16,133 lbs||7,300 kg *|
|Sail Area||958 sq. ft.||98 m2|
|Water||92 gal.||348 liters|
|Fuel (diesel)||42 gal.||159 liters|
Shoal Draft is standard draft
*Deep Draft Displacement
Designer: Umberto Felci
Deck & Layout by: Patrick Roseo
Dufour Yachts USA
1 Chelsea Court
Annapolis, MD 21403
Phone: (410) 268-6417
1, rue Blaise-Pascal
BP 24 – 17182 Perigny cedex
Phone : (33) 5 46 30 07 60
Fax : (33) 5 46 45 46 96