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The Dufour 36 Classic

The new Dufour 36 Classic,which was introduced at the Paris Boat Show in December, is a significant performance cruiser from this up-and-coming French boatbuilder.

The Dufour 36 is interesting for these reasons: It offers a two or three-cabin layout without compromising good looks and comes as an attractively priced package.

Admittedly, when president Olivier Poncin, the mastermind behind Dufour's recent strong expansion, first conceived the 36, Fwd Cabinhe began with the mundane issue of headroom. With feedback from Dufour dealers and sailors at boat shows, he assessed that buyers were coming to expect more headroom inside mid-range boats. The challenge was how to incorporate this on a 36-footer while keeping the strong looks of the Dufour classic line with its delicate sheer and balanced, uncropped ends. When Mortain and Mavrikos, designers of the Dufour's Nautitech catamaran line, completed the design in fall, the 36'4" performance cruiser looked only a smidgen tall on the topsides, while an all-purpose headroom of 6'2" was achieved.

The Dufour 36 Classic
Principal dimensions

LOA:  36’4"
LWL:  30’1"
Beam:  12’4"
Draft:  5’10" (or 4’9")
Displacement:  13,000 lbs.
Ballast  3,528 lbs.
Sail Area:  742 sq. ft.

Approx. Price*: $133,637
Dufour Yachts
1 Chelsea Ct.
Annapolis, MD 21403
Tel: (410) 268-6417
*Package price as described in article

Sail Plan
Interior Layout

Headroom was a universal demand, but other cabin-arrangement design decisions were cultural lifestyle hurdles that Dufour has had to surmount as a leading international boatbuilder.

Since most Americans prefer a more open interior, while Europeans favor privacy and more cabins, Dufour has been compliant — thus the two or three-cabin design with either fore and single or mirror aft cabins. On the other hand, Dufour has tried to bridge cultures of meal preparation by incorporating the galley into the saloon, with a "French" type galley instead of a keyhole-Main Salontype. The midships galley idea opens up the aft area for a cabin without compromising the cockpit and its storage capacity. The 36 Classic gets bonus mileage from this layout by situating the head compartment and a third hanging locker in the area that would otherwise be usurped by the galley. Placing the galley amidships means the least boat-yawing effect. On the other hand, the person working in the galley will have to hang in bumpy seas. Dufour has advantageously placed the dinette bench seat, with a solid, mahogany two-foot-plus-high seatback, parallel to it. It should provide good backup bracing.

Dufour interiors are built by its own furniture company, which it recently purchased. Taking advantage of the large marine trades workforce in this region of France, Dufour runs construction lines at four separate building sites in the La Rochelle area. Much of the joinerwork is pre-built before emplacement. Dufour has recently switched to a lighter color of mahogany, called khaya, for the interior woodwork. The cabinets, fiddles, table and trim are of solid mahogany with mahogany veneer laminate board used for the bulkheads and doors. The sole is a scuff-proof teak and resin laminate, called Streamfloor.

Nav StationThe Dufour 36 Classic is a handsome craft that makes a balanced presentation from water-level view. In general, its dimensions are in medium ranges. Its 13,000-pound displacement on a 30-foot-plus waterline calculates to a moderate displacement-length ratio of 212. The ratio of the 742 square-foot sail area to the displacement is also in the medium range for this length overall, around 21.5.

One exception is the ballast-to-displacement ratio of 37 percent. The depth at which some of the lead ballast will be carried compensates as does the generous beam waterline that will add form stability. The draft of the standard keel is 5'10". A shoal-draft version is an available option.

The 36 Classic has a T-shaped cockpit. The starboard cockpit locker on the single aft-cabin model is roomy enough to store sails, the inflatable in its bag and an outboard. Teak slating on the cockpit seats is standard on this model, as it is on all Dufours.

Dufours come with a 10-year hull and deck warranty. The construction is reinforced fiberglass. Above the waterline, the hull has vacuum-bagged, close-cell polyvinyl foam coring. The deck is cored with balsa core. Using a Sparcraft aluminum mast, the rig is stepped on the purpose-designed deck step and aluminum mast heel with compression post below. Steering is the Whitlock rack and pinion steering system.

Dufour 36 Classic has a 30-horsepower Volvo diesel with sail drive and two-bladed fixed propeller. Fuel tankage is 42 gallons. The freshwater tanks hold 90 gallons.

Now the price. The cruising version package is $133,637 (FOB East Coast). Among the items included in this package are: manual windlass, UK main (with two reefs) and furling genoa with Facnor furler, two Lewmar 40s and one Lewmar 30 self-tailing winches, 12-volt refrigeration, two-burner propane stove-oven, 15-amp battery charger, VHF radio, main anchor, four dock lines, six fenders, cockpit table, and steering wheel with compass. (For those wishing tiller steering, it's available on the 36.)

One last thing — as on all Dufours, a set of Dufour dishware for six people comes equipped in the galley. For a while, many sailors knew Dufour for its dishware. That's not the case anymore.

Micca Hutchins is offline  
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