First comparative test for the Jeanneau 409 and with a great boat, the Dufour 405, last year's European boat of the year:
Dufour 405 â€“ Dufour 405 Sailboat â€“ Boat factsheet
I am not going to talk about the interior (the Dufour has two options,the one above and other with a "classic" galley) neither about style or storage space. On all those items I prefer the Jeanneau, even if I also like the Dufour specially in the Classic version. I will only talk about performance.
Both boats were equipped with the performance rig. The Jeanneau should have a clear advantage, lighter 7450kg against 8990kg, stiffer (more ballast/displacement) and with more sail (93m2 against 83m2), it should have no problem beating the Dufour.
Both boats were not in the water at the same time (same crew). First in the water was the jeanneau and two hours later the Dufour. The wind was a bit more strong with the Dufour: 20K. With the Jeanneau about 16-18k.
Both boats go well against the wind (45º true wind). The Jeanneau makes 6,5/7k at 45º with 12k wind, but with 16/18k, with a bit more sea, just maintains the speed. The Dufour with 20k wind (all the sail up) at 45º makes about the same.
Downwind, with asymmetric and 18k wind the Jeanneau makes 8/9k with a surf a 10.6. with 20k wind and without asymmetric the Dufour makes 8.5/9.5 and with the asymetric it makes 10k with some surfs at 11k.
They have called a match null and say that with weaker winds probably the Jeanneau will be faster (and I agree).
Both boats show a somewhat heavy steering. I know what they mean I felt the same about the Dufour 425. Not heavy for a cruiser, but heavy for a performance boat.
Between the two I would still prefer the jeanneau but I am a bit disappointed with the jeanneau performance. The boat seems to be quite limited by hull speed and shows none of the characteristics of a semi-planning hull. Probably it will be faster than the Dufour but only marginally and mainly in week winds.
Well, both are great boats, but that's just not the kind of boat that I want.
Probably the Dufour 425 that I have charted in the summer is faster and I want a faster boat and most of all, a more rewarding and amusing boat to sail, but hey, for the ones that are not so mad about speed, these are three great fast cruisers at a fair price