and this is number two. The upcoming 439.
I still think the 409 is probably the right size for two.
I confess to not being all that au fait with reading polars but from I do understand they are pretty impressive for a cruising boat.
Edit - Whoa..got a bit confused there for a moment or ten. We switched from D40e to J409 without me noticing. I couldn't figure out why the images didn't match. Duh !! Have to say that while I do like the J409 if I have my choice I'll stay with the D40e.
Regarding the 439. It is as good as the 409, a little bigger everywhere, a little faster, but basically the same boat. It will only cost more 20 000 euros but as you say, the 409 would be enough for most families. Fact is that the 409 has a kind of wonder interior, that will look like more a 42 or 43ft interior. Believe me I know what I am talking about, I have seen a lot of boats, and my wife will tell you that this boat has a lot more storage space than the Jeanneau 42.
Well, regarding the D40e, it seems that with time you are going to zoom in the right kind of boat
I would also prefer that one but there are a little problem, that one costs more 40 000 euros than the 409
Regarding the interior of both boats I would say that your wife would prefer the one from the 409. More storage space and a lot more views to the outside, big ones. Regarding that type of boats I would prefer the Elan 410 over the Dufour 40e (about the same price), that's why I am falling back to my previous choice, the Elan 380. That one costs about as much as the 409.
Comparing the sailing characteristics of the Dufour 40e, versus the 409, I would say that it will be faster, stiffer, safer and as easy to sail, if we discount the self taking jib on the 409.
So what is the fuss about the 409? Well it sails almost as well as the 40e (that is a cruiser-racer), with a "bigger" interior, with better and lot more outside views, for less 40 000 euros. 40 000 euros is a big fuss, especially if you don't have them
Regarding the Polar:
It is really simple to work out: The circles are boat speeds and the colored lines represent wind speeds. On the bottom you have the code for colors and wind speeds. You have just, for a given angle and a given wind speed to look at the where it passes the colored line (in relation to the boat speed circles).
What is extraordinary on this Polar is the pointing ability of this boat (normally only cruiser-racers show angles below 40º) and the overall speed. Some examples:
6K wind at 70º = 6K speed 8K wind at 60º = 7K speed
12K wind at 70º = 8K speed 25K wind at 110º = 10K speed
25K wind at 150º = 10.5K speed
This means that this boat can sail with very little wind (6K) and that most of the time it will be sailing between 7 and 8k. On passage, with trade winds it will be sailing most of the time between 8.5 and 11K.
Of course, the Dufour 40e can do better but that's another type of boat (cruiser racer) and a more expensive one. From the cruisers, only the Hanse 400 will be close in performance and you will have to buy a lot of extras that are standard on this boat, like decent sized winches.
Another interesting point is the motoring cruising speed: 7.5K with 80% power. That's a very good speed for a 40ft boat (the boat has a hull with 11.99m and that is important in what concerns marina prices, at least in Europe).