We were lucky enough to hit one of those sunny, windy, November days on Puget Sound to sail the Dufour 40. It's been out a couple years but this is the first in this area. Brian Gross of Windworks in Seattle, Pat Waters and myself headed out into about a 10 knot northerly.
The boat has a fractional rig and soon settled into a nice groove. The boat heeled a bit more than expected but moved quite comfortably through the chop, so much so that the knotmeter reading of about 7.7 on the wind was a bit of a surprise.
The deck layout is very clean and simple, with all lines lead aft to the spacious cockpit, including the slab reefing. Jib sheets go through turning blocks to Harken 48 primaries, located back by the recessed wheel where the helmsman can easily trim without having to go forward around the wheel as in some yachts. The turning blocks have a stopper on them which makes changing lines on the winches very easy, say in going from jib to spinnaker. They do release when you pull the tail, but really need to be pushed open to insure free running. Stowage under the cockpit seats is ample, especially with the single cabin aft layout version we were sailing. I would have liked a couple of cubbies in the cockpit to stick odds and ends. As the winches are placed for easy reach by the helmsman, so is a built-in insulated cooler to fight dehydration from long turns at the helm. The helmsman's seat removes to open up the transom. Pat, an ex-Boeing engineer, appreciated the design which allowed access to the large transom, to the rudder quadrant and a hidden liferaft stowage compartment.
Down below, Dufour offers four different layouts, the difference being in the ends with the main cabin remaining the same. I like the version we were sailing with two cabins and one head (top layout opposite page). This is a great layout for two people and occasional guests for cruising. There's lots of stowage in the foc'sl'e and huge starboard aft. Plus, there's a standup shower compartment where, besides offering a nice roomy shower, is a terrific place to put wet gear when coming below. The main cabin layout is pretty standard with an L-shaped galley, and long settee down the port side - remember, this is a 40-footer. All is nicely done, with the curves of the seats matching the traditional looking oval doorways. And, since this is a French boat, the table has a hidden wine bottle compartment in the table, of course. The wide beam allows for comfort and ample stowage in the cabin. The water heater is located under the salon seat for quick access and maintenance.
Across from the galley is the enclosed head. The nav station and bench seat run up to the bulkhead on the starboard side. I like the way the front cabin has the double berth on the port side, leaving a nice sitting/changing area. There is no head up forward on this one which allows for quite a large stowage area up forward.
Dufour uses a number of vacuum construction techniques such as vacuum injection molding or resin transfer molding, which is used for the decks. "Polyester resin is injected between a male and female mould and creates homogeneous GRP structures with a faultless finish and better mechanical quality. Injection saves weight since there is no need for an inner moulding. Made in one piece, the deck has a completely homogeneous structure and offers superb finish both inside and outside." For more on construction visit the website: www.dufouryachts.com
I liked the Dufour 40 for many reasons. Aside from being a very attractive yacht, there are many well-thought-out features that really add to one's pleasure aboard the boat. She's been successful as an IMS racer, but I'd like to test her on a cruise, maybe for a month or two.
Visit www.dufouryachts.com for interior layouts and more photographs of the interior.
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