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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.