You are asking and apple vs orange question. The C&C is a racer that will cruise, the Dufour, will cruise fast, but not really designed per say to race.
We are novices (we have the equivalent of the US basic keelboat certification) and are looking for a boat that will reward good trimming, provide responsiveness and at the same time allow 3 adults and a young kid to sleep over for the weekend. The C&C 99 seems to fit the bill. The Dufour 34E, the J/97 and the Sun Fast 3200 would provide better comparison but are just above our budget (mostly for lack of used boats for sale). Within our budget would be used Beneteau 10R, but we were concerned with headroom (5'11") and limitations from the deep keel (6'7").
Are there any other model we should consider? We would like to stay with new or near new (2005+) boats.