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acmecoyote 11-04-2002 07:16 PM

Dufour 38 Classic
Was hoping to get some input on this vessel. Has anyone had the experience on atleast walking on one or even sailing on one to compare to other vessels of this size? Also wanted to find out about how well they hold up? are they in the class of Bene''s, Catalina, & Hunters?

bullseye 11-04-2002 08:43 PM

Dufour 38 Classic
well,ive walked on one!,& i found the headroom very low compared to catalinas & bavarias(but im 6'' 4"), the saloon area seemed a little cramped too,it all looks nice though & theres a massive lazerette on the std side thats big enough to sleep in they provide a ladder to get into it!

SailorMitch 11-05-2002 04:40 AM

Dufour 38 Classic
I''ve spent quite a bit of time snooping around both the Dufour Classic 36 and 38. Very nice boats a cut above Beneteau, Catalina, Hunter in overall quality in my opinion. Below the quality of Dehler''s as a comparison.

I''ve lurked on the Dufour email list on Sailnet for quite a while and the primary complaint from a few folks has been hull/deck joint leaks. Given that there isn''t much of a bilge (squeezing out space for that head room remember) the water tends to slosh around in the cabin. Not good of course even though it''s a small amount of water to deal with. (Note that most owners report no problems at all.) Oh, if you''re in Australia, the dealer there is a nightmare to deal with.

Lack of a deep bilge is VERY common on Euro boats these days. So check that out in whatever boat you look at.

On the email list, a prospective buyer asked current owners if they would buy the boats again and the resounding answer was yes -- even from those few with leaks. That means a lot I think.

Practical Sailor recently did a glowing review of the Classic 36 FWIW. They list Dufours as competitors to Benes, Catalinas, etc.

In other news, the Italian outfit that makes Grand Soleil boats has bought Dufour. The concensus is that''s good news. Also, Dufour is phasing out the Classic line and replacing it with more performance oriented boats. The new Dufour 40 is in production now with a 34 about to hit a dealer near you.

I really like the Classic 38, however. And the 2-cabin model does have impressive storage space, even leaving part of the 3rd cabin in place, to starboard of the companionway, with just enough room to create a small office, workbench, or a more organized storage area -- or place to lock up the kids. I like that versatility. They are very Euro boats, which are not to everyone''s liking.

Sailmc 11-05-2002 05:25 AM

Dufour 38 Classic
I haven''t seen the Dufours in person but I don''t see how you can characterise hull/deck joint leaks with water sloshing around in the cabin as a minor inconvienence. The hull/ deck joint is critical weak link in the strenght of the hull.

SailorMitch 11-05-2002 05:44 AM

Dufour 38 Classic
Note that I said "not good of course." The words "minor inconvenience" are yours, not mine. Agreed that hull/deck joint leaks are bad. That''s why I mentioned it in the first place.

Sailmc 11-05-2002 06:56 AM

Dufour 38 Classic
SailorMitch, Sorry, I didn''t mean to imply that you trivialized the issue but it would be a definite deal breaker for me in a boat choice second only to keels falling off.

acmecoyote 11-05-2002 06:42 PM

Dufour 38 Classic
Thanks for the info guys. I am onloy 5''8" so I think the room will be okay. But this leak thing and not a large bilge...that would have me worried. Not just for saftey, but possible water tearing up the floor and wood as well as the rpoblem of resale after a coupld of years. I keep looking at the Catalinas, Hunter''s and Bene''s and most do not have a good walking around ot the front and the Dufour did, with a nice wood top (look I guess). If any other infor about the leak thing or a web site I can go to for questions please let me know. Appreciate all the response from you guys.


Jeff_H 11-06-2002 01:59 AM

Dufour 38 Classic
I''ve only been aboard the Dufour Classic 38 at boat shows. I see them as being a step down from Beneteau''s First Series and a roughly equal to Beneteaus ''number'' series which has been improving some. I think they are a small step above Hunter and Catalinas.

From a design standpoint they are one of the few IOR hull amd rig typeform boats that are still in production, and so carry some of the charateristics that made IOR notorious. I was also very disappointed in the size and placement of deck hardware.

Hull deck joint leaks are a very serious matter for a boat that size. Boats like these count on the glue joint between deck and hull for the majority of the strength of the joint. If the joint can leak there is an area that has not been properly bonded. In a cold climate that leak is a place for water to gather, freeze and further pry open the joint, eventually unzipping the hull/deck connection.


SailorMitch 11-06-2002 05:21 AM

Dufour 38 Classic

If you want to read what Dufour owners have said/exchanged about the hull/deck joint leaks, go to the Dufour email list here on Sailnet and search the archives for that list. One owner did report that the leaks in his boat were traced to some of the screws used to install the toe rail. The dealer rebedded those screws to solve the problem. But at the very least that does raise questions about the design and engineering of that entire joint.

Also, post a question on the email list about any concerns/questions you have. Dufour also monitors that list and they may reply as well as current owners. For example, I mentioned before the fellow in Australia who had problems with the dealer down there with his 2000 Classic 38. The Dufour factory stepped in and gave him an entire new boat. You don''t hear of that kind of thing very often in the marine industry.

If Dufours do interest you, however, check out the new line coming out to replace the Classic line. Go to for a look.

Lastly, shallow bilges are becoming all too common as designers squeeze out more headroom. Go to a boat show and pull up cabin soles and see what you find -- often barely enough room for a bilge pump much less for a real bilge.

Quida123 11-06-2002 12:43 PM

Dufour 38 Classic
"Dufour factory stepped in and gave him an entire new boat".........Hmmm.....wonder what they did with that boat !?!.....probably fixed it up and sold it to some other poor unsuspecting

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