I have been mislead lately with some nice drawings that are just "too" nice and that in the end, the reality looks a lot worse.
Happily this is not the case with the new Dufour 335. I have already posted about this project and I had said that the drawings looked great and now that the boat is on the water I can say that the photos look as well as the drawings
The first tests have been made by several French magazines and they are conclusive: It is a great boat.
The Voile Magazine says : A future Star.
Bateau says: The boat has a big ambition: to look and feel a lot bigger than actually is, for the family profit... and it manages that successfully!
The boat should be as fast as the Hanse 325 (it weights more 240kg but has more 4m2 of sail) or the Benetau 34 (more 200kg, more 7m2 of sail but more beamy) and probably just a bit less than the Jeanneau 33i (that has weights 800kg less and has less 3m2 of sail). The Jeanneau has also a better B/D ratio and the Oceanis (Benetau) has the worse wile the Dufour and the Hanse have a similar ratio.
The Dufour is well designed on the inside but the outside is outstanding!! It is difficult to make a small boat looking good (because the need of standing height) but this one is beautiful and really looks like a much bigger boat.
The cockpit is huge and the bathing platform makes it even bigger.
They say on the boat test that the feeling at the wheel is great (and that is not very usual on a two wheel setup) and that the boat is incredible well balanced. They say that in flat water they can leave the wheel and the boat maintains course for five minutes (I find that really incredible
Regarding speed close to the wind they talk about 4K with 8K wind but they say that on a previous test with lots of wind they managed 7K and downwind with spy 9K.
The biggest innovation of this boat is the system to control the boom. It has no traveler but has 3 fixed points to the boom line, one central (more near the wheelman that one over the cockpit) and two on the side of cockpit. That corresponds to a huge traveler but without the possibility of having intermediate regulation. How well works this system? I don’t know, I would have to try it but the guys from the Bateau magazine say that “all is clear and simple”. However they say also that the main winches could be bigger for an easier work.
Another innovation is the lack of Backstay and that is an innovation that I don’t like, even if that permits a fuller mainsail and an uncluttered cockpit. On the test they say that all the rigging looks “extremely solid”.
The boat that is a Felci design has a big tankage for a 33ft : 220 L of water (normally they offer 100L more as an option) and 160L of fuel.
A very interesting boat and I agree with the guys from Voile magazine, it will be a bestseller