Join Date: Jun 2006
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The only Dufour I've ever examined closely was a Dufour 40 about four years ago at a boat show. The low lifelines, lack of through-bolted backing plates, indifferently gasketed, HUGE sail locker seat lids, lack of padeyes and various other shortcomings made me very suspicious of the "Lloyd's Ocean A Class" rating it supposed had.
While adequate for lake, coastal and fair-weather passage, which, to be honest, is going to comprise 95% of most of the prospective owners' on the water activities, I didn't think it safe to do real offshore sailing. But they are very pretty, stylish vessels.
By contrast, Alex's 40 footer (and I have no need to suck up to Alex), while about as light a boat as you can safely get at that length, had far stronger, safer and better construction, the details of which I'm sure he has provided. Yet they are both identically rated "ocean performance cruisers".
It's like comparing 15-20 year old Beneteaus with today's offerings: they are playing to a customer base that doesn't really like sailing much, in my opinion, while the French boats of 1990 or prior could take the conditions actually found around France.
This is not a critique along the lines of "old boats are better". Frequently, they aren't, and certainly J-Boats, some South African and Australian/N.Z. builders, Swan and Moody make great, strong boats I would take anywhere, but "anywhere" is not where the marketing department really wants these boats to go, in my opinion.