2004 Dufour 40 Sloop
How many times have you heard someone say, “You only get what you pay
for?“. You yourself may be guilty at times of having said the very same thing to someone who bought a sows ear fully expecting to get a silk purse. Having completed an extensive and thorough onboard review of the Dufour 40 we can assure you that it is a “quality” vessel. It is well worth taking the time to look and to trial this carefully
planned and and beautifully built racer cruiser. It will do anything any sailor could want for about the same price of other boats in the size range and class.
Dufour builds its boats under the watchful eye and strict rules of the Bureau Veritas. This requires extreme attention to detail, quality and the Bureau rules. No corners are cut, there is no scrimping on materials and the most minute detail is carefully adhered to or the boat does not get a stamp of approval.
If we seem convinced or “sold” as it were, then you have quickly picked up on our excitement and the fact that we believe in what this manufacturer is able to do in a production sailboat without charging you an arm and a leg to do it.
The Dufour 40, we reviewed, was sterned into the floating docks at Port Credit. Fortunately there was no boat on the other side of the finger dock and we could get an excellent look at the lines of this boat. The almost plumb stem or bow came aft to a very sharp actually concave narrow entry. This quickly widened to give an early wide
beam which the hull designer Umberto Felci maintained to the stern of the boat. This beam offers a flat hull aft that provides lift and speed to the hull when under sail.
Standing on the dock and looking forward at the full length of this boat one is immediately impressed with its design. The wide beam, the location of all necessary equipment, the quality and weight of the items placed on the boat have all been carefully considered. The mast stays are extremely heavy duty and it is evident from observation
and because of the Bureau Veritas requirements that the turn buckles are not going to fail you at a time of need.
The transom sports a large built-in platform. It allows for easy entry to the cockpit of the 40 at dock and when the removable helmsman seat has been stored elsewhere. It is a short and easy step to access the boat, and one can move with ease into the large cockpit space. Boarding can also be accomplished simply with a fairly short step up to the deck from either side when the lifelines are taken down.
The ample space of the cockpit is clearly evident. Although the wheel is large,the space around it is more than adequate to allow easy movement even if one is carrying luggage, groceries or other items onto or around the boat.
Our review model was ordered with the optional teak deck. This is an
expensive item since it is once again built with Bureau Veritas in mind. It is however, visually warm and appealing and makes the cockpit floor and seat areas appear most welcoming to the visitors to the boat.
Once again, space, on the deck, immediately catches your attention. The mainsail track located immediately forward of the binnacle but on the cockpit floor frees the entire cockpit. One soon realizes that control from the helm will be extremely straightforward on the Dufour 40.
Storage abounds in the cockpit area as well. Under the seat areas are large locker spaces. In particular is the huge lazerette that is located to starboard in the 2 cabin model we reviewed. The space was large enough to safely and conveniently store extra sails, equipment of all sorts and sizes and even a life raft or inflatable (in bag).
Getting below deck is effortless. The flat floor of the cockpit takes you to a short step over the companionway sill to a set of stairs offering easy entry. The sill keeps unwanted water from entering below and the interior designer, Patrick Rosea, has designed stairs
that one can traverse comfortably. Once below, you see the “cruiser” part of this 40 footer.
Our review boat was the 2 cabin configuration. Port as you enter the
cabin is a large galley. Dual stainless sinks, large countertop areas, a gimbaled propane stove with oven, a microwave, a refrigerator(No Freezer) and plenty of upper cabinets for dish and miscellaneous storage are included in the galley. Observing this area, one quickly becomes aware of the quality of the cabinetry and the excellent workmanship in true fit and finish. This boat is designed to offer you great comfort while sailing on the water, docked in port or sitting at anchor. Remember, this is a racer/cruiser of the highest realm.
Continuing to port and aft of the galley is a large aft cabin. The bed is arranged longitudinally providing plenty of space to access the batteries or the battery switches, the optional 55 hp Volvo diesel engine and other necessary but seldom required areas such as steering and bilge space. The bed is large and with the door closed provides stand-up head room to change clothes. A hanging locker and several drawers are located here to provide stowage space for crew clothing.
Forward of the galley and still to port is a large U-shaped dinette with large table. This space is large enough to seat 6. Across to starboard is a large settee that would comfortably handle 2 and allowing space for a dinner for 8.
Upon entry to the cabin, there is a large head to starboard. This is separate from the completely private shower in the 2 cabin configuration. It too is extremely well planned and along with it being a private shower space, it houses a large hanging wet locker to
take care of things needing to air and dry after some rather tough and extreme weather experiences.
Forward of the head to starboard, just before the settee, is a large navigation/chart table with a large comfortable seating space. This area is devoted not only to charting but to the below deck navigation systems, the electrical panel and all of the workings of the boat’s electrical and onboard equipment that would be required to operate the vessel on long hauls and at the dock.
Fully forward is the main sleeping cabin. It is large space with plenty of stand-up space, a hanging locker and drawer storage plus a large seating area to be used while dressing or even operating a laptop computer while on the boat. The bed itself is aligned parallel
to the keel giving plenty of sleeping space for two. It is shaped to a small degree but at the head or shoulder location it appears to have full queen sized width.
The interior of this boat is very impressive. It is wide (13 foot beam), it is light and spacious, and it is totally functional as a long range live aboard with its roomy galley, large dinette, two staterooms and separate shower and head. The beautiful mahogany
interior with satin finish, the laminate teak and holly sole, the high end fabrics on the seat and seat backs all add to the realization that this is a high quality boat.
Beneath the cabin floor of all sailboats one will find the grid or stringers. This system is placed into the hull after initial layup to provide the necessary strength and rigidity to ensure that the boat will withstand the rigors of the sea and the stresses that come from
extreme strain placed onto the standing rig, which of course is then transposed to the hull and the grid system.
The grid system of the Dufour has been carefully engineered to both create strength and to meet quality construction standards. When one carefully takes the time to inspect its grid one recognizes that the system has been installed for maximum strength and under the careful scrutiny of the Bureau Veritas. It becomes quickly apparent that the
workmanship around the glassing and fitting of this grid equals the workmanship seen elsewhere on the boat. This attention to every possible detail is what sets the high quality of the Dufour apart from the rest.
From further discussions with Ken Johnson we learned how the Dufour
people carefully monitor the amount of resin to glass matting, the
temperatures, and the humidity. He explained how excessive resins are
removed from a boat to ensure maximum strength in the hull while keeping the weight down. In addition, Ken described how vacuum bagging is employed, how decks are injected to guarantee strength and quality and how only the finest and highest quality of resins are used. So much so, that Dufour offers an unconditional 10 year hull and deck warranty, fully transferable and without the need or requirement of an epoxy barrier coat. This in and of itself saves the buyer money and eliminates any possibility that there is a hull change from this coat that could affect the hull speed.
TO THE HELM
Back in the cockpit and to the helm we had a chance to view the working areas of the boat. Two large winches are immediately adjacent to the helm for controlling and trimming the foresail. The coach top winches for the main are easily accessible and the traveler, immediately forward of the binnacle, is on the floor to control the main and the boom.
Visibility is clean and uncluttered from the helm and even with the factory dodger in place there are no spots that are blocked from the view of the helmsman. There were two seats one to each side of the cockpit for navigation purposes and with the transom helm seat locked securely in place we were ready to head out onto the water.
All gauges are readily visible and at hand. Dual wind gauges, both direction and speed and the speed over water again actual and apparent are found on each side of the binnacle. This configuration is very important when under sail. By having two in this location, regardless of the tack, or whether the skipper is steering from port or starboard, the gauges remain easily seen and immediately visible. The skipper can easily determine if adjustments to the sails is having any direct and positive result.
Dufour uses the saildrive application as standard. This provides maximum control since the propeller is mounted at right angles to the hull and fully 90 degrees from direction be it forward or reverse. Shaft installations, on the other hand, do lose some of the bite
since the angle of the shaft places the propeller at an angle somewhat off the direction of the boat. Minor as this may seem, the handling of this boat at low speeds under power is amazing.
Leaving the dock and returning again to stern into the slip were both done effortlessly and at all times even with a contrary light breeze, controlling bow slip and being able to put this boat into smaller than desired moorings was not a problem. The saildrive just seemed to be an excellent installation. Also, this configuration allows for a much better engine mounting system with very little engine noise, almost no vibration and the package is very positive from all needs and uses.
On the water, we were subjected to very light air. Although we did chase and find some 11 to 12 knot air, it was very short lived. The major time we were in 7 to 8 knots of air with between 5.6 to 6.1 knots of speed. At all times this boat was extremely sure-footed.
Whether it is the very large footprint she sports for only 40 feet or the steering mechanism or a combination of the two this boat tracks beautifully. Leaving the helm to adjust a line or check a setting is never a problem even on manual steer. The narrow entry forward knifes through the water and the almost concave hull aft of this sets this
boat up as a fast sure racer that a sailor in heavier air will find exciting to be aboard and for certain to skipper.
We did several changes of course. Some appropriate and some jibes to
check out the capabilities of the Dufour 40, and she responded splendidly with confidence. The high quality rigging and deck hardware all performed beyond what one could hope for which speaks volumes in favour of the results of a Bureau Veritas built
The foresail was a 135% Genoa on a self furling stay. It deployed easily without incident and the adjustable Genoa cars could easily be set in the inboard tracks and trimmed to the aft cockpit coming winches. The mainsail was housed in a Lazy Bag with Lazy Jacks. This means that one must point into the wind for ease of raising the sail but this was accomplished quickly and easily both up and down and our sail was quickly underway.
The main was a full batten model allowing for a larger roach and providing more area than would an inmast furl model; thus, from a performance perspective this is very important. The rear stay is an adjustable hydraulic model and could be tightened or loosened off quickly and easily. With our light air, it really did not enter into any of our factors of trim or sail sets.
The Dufour 40 is a performance/cruiser. It has the design, the ability and the equipment to be a fast perfomer under sail and yet provide every creature comfort desired when at anchor or at the dock. Everything is there in one beautiful package.
This review boat included the following options:
Volvo 55 hp (saildrive)
Full Batten Main with Lazy Bag
Genoa Sheet Adjuster
Teak Side Decks
‘You get what you pay for’ is probably more obvious to most of us when we think about the auto industry. We are more versed in why Car A is more expensive than Car B. We are better acquainted with the quality, the fit and the finish of cars since we are around more cars on a daily basis and have been probably for longer than we have been around boats.
With the Dufour 40, however, one must look beyond just the beautifully crafted lines and sleek design put into this boat and then read the price sticker. We have to look beneath the skin and under the trappings of the obvious beauty to see why this boat is such a quality production model.
Dufour has done it well. First, they have two dynamic designers who
collectively and individually have put together exterior performance and interior design to meet all of a sailor’s needs. They have made certain that this boat meets all criteria as a performance/racer yet included on the boat, both in the cockpit and interior cabin, fit and finish that can only be exceeded in custom production.
Dufour has used the measurement criteria established by Bureau Veritas to insure that this boat meets all standards and beyond thus guaranteeing quality in every aspect of the building and assembling of this vessel. The hull grid system under the surfaces indicates
the kind of care taken to make this boat such high quality. A 10 year transferable deck and hull warranty against structure and blisters trumpets the faith that Dufour has in its own product. The coded wiring, the turn buckle, the location of and the use of battery switches, the general engineering and the high end fit and finish all attest to the boat you are buying now, so that you can enjoy your purchase without trouble or problems long into the future. The engineers, for example, have built into this boat a “righting moment” that will guarantee that this boat if in extreme conditions will right itself with a 3.5 to 1 stability curve coefficient factor.
This is a fabulous craft. It sails remarkably, it would live aboard wonderfully, and it looks beautiful at the dock. These qualities make an owner proud to walk up to this boat while at port.
Dufour has hit a major “homerun” with its 40 foot Sloop for 2004. It truly has it all! It is quality, style and function all in one boat. … a floating example that you really do only get what you pay for.
Take a look for yourself and you will be surprised to learn that the Dufour 40 and other Dufour models are right in line with the price of comparable boats in their class and you actually may get more boat for less cost.
For more information about the Dufour 40 contact True North Yacht Sales, Mississauga, ON. Telephone: 905-274-8001, 866-610-1707
To view True North Yacht Sales complete list of boats on Boatcan click on TRUE NORTH BOAT