Originally Posted by Slimy
(having saied more than 4000 races in a life time) peformance and upwind characteristics will be important to me.
With 4000 races, I think you should be able to just look at the websites of those boats, with one eye closed, the other one open, and make your own opinions. So what do you need for real?
Unless your races were in mega yachts or dinghys, to which your race count does not mean a thing, I think your post has a second meaning. Maybe I am wrong.
Either way, of all the boats you mentioned, the Dufour is the best for what you want, get the performance series. They even make a "champion" model, for IMS...they cheat but the boat is fast.
The new Firsts suck, the old ones (the good ones) are old and obsolete, the Jeanneau from the times of the Sun Fast (a race "painted" version of the SO) to the present models, was never really a good racer, and the Dufour, will have the less used value of all 3 when you need to sell.
If you're going to bother and buy in Europe, buy a GrandSoleil, or a Dheler, forget the rest.
If it was me, and the French boats was the only choice, I'd go with the Dufour, but again....I could be wrong, I do not have 4000 races.