Bluewater Sailboat – Dufour 40 Performance


The newest in Dufour Yachts’ line of performance cruisers is the bluewater sailboat Dufour 40, which was just nominated Boat of the Year in France.

This boat is fast, exciting, and functional thanks to modern design and cutting-edge building methods. According to most assessments of the Dufour 40, it will be both comfortable for a family cruise vacation and superb around the buoys.

The Dufour 40 is a charming boat of a size that should be simple and affordable to maintain (these plumbstemmers have an elegance all their own). The Dufour 40 has a very cleverly designed cockpit that should make the boat easy to race as well as comfortable for social gatherings since the forward portion of the cockpit may be free of any sail-handling activity. Yes, the skipper is capable of handling every task. indeed a cruiser/racer.

Dufour 40
Dufour 40
  • LOA: 40 ft. 8 in.
  • LWL: 35 ft. 2 in.
  • Beam: 12 ft. 10 in.
  • Draft (shoal/deep): 5 ft. 3 in./ 6’11 in.
  • Displacement (deep draft): 16,133 lbs.
  • Ballast (shoal/deep): 5,967 lbs.
  • Sailarea (main and jib): 958 sq.ft.
  • Power: Volvo Penta 40 HP Saildrive
  • Fuel/water/waste: 42 gal./92 gal.
  • Designer: Umberto Felci
  • Deck layout: Patric Roseo


When Dufour Yachts first debuted in 1964, the Arpege 30 wowed sailors with its sleek appearance and impressive performance. However, the corporation saw ownership changes in the years that followed, and its vessels experienced a variety of outcomes.

But in May 2005, Dufour’s new owners invited a few media members to their dealer gathering in Palma de Mallorca. Managers there declared that the business will build on the inspiration of the boat that ignited everything to reestablish itself as a global force. Arpege 30 hull number one was on display and offered for sailing trials as a point of attention.

The Dufour boats placed in the 2009 Boat of the Year competition, and they left Majorca with mixed feelings of optimism and pessimism.

The company’s 40 Performance+, which could have just as easily competed against the racer/cruiser class boats, was named Best Midsize Cruiser. The name designates this Dufour 40 as a member of the builder’s performance line, and the plus sign denotes additional modifications made to make it more appealing to serious racers. The heritage of the Arpege, which merged both roles so well 40 years ago, was summoned by Dufour as promised, and this is a major contributing factor to the BOTY success of this model.


Above the waterline, the hull is made of hand-laminated fibreglass with a vacuum-bagged PVC foam core. The deck is 30% lighter but 30% stronger thanks to the use of two moulds and an injection resin transfer method. A European standard for quality, Bureau Veritas (BV) is used in the design and construction of the boat.

The stability curve (as designed) indicates a fairly high angle of diminishing stability, and the displacement/length ratio of the hull is quite low (about 166) suggesting that it should be easy to drive. The standard vessel has an IRC rating of 1.047; a higher mast is an option. Three cabins with one head (as on this boat), two cabins with one head, or three cabins with two heads are all possible configurations. If you choose the latter, the second bathroom is located in the owner’s cabin forward and is actually created by moving the main berth to the bow.

Dufour offers a ten-year hull integrity warranty that covers blistering on all underwater surfaces save from the keel and rudder. Future owners are eligible to purchase the warranty. However, Dufour might ask for an examination to make sure the selling owner has kept the hull in good condition. The Dufour 40 is categorized as an ocean-going boat under CE Off-shore Category “A.”

Above Deck

It’s essential to be able to manoeuvre around the cockpit, advance safely along the side decks, and stay safe on the foredeck. The optional cockpit table is taken out and stored below when in racing mode. A wide traveller and double-ended mainsheet are included as standard equipment with the Dufour 40. The mainsheet, which is sheeted through Harken blocks, is readily managed from the helm or coach roof winch. The traveller increases the cabin sole’s breadth, enabling the greatest amount of boom adjustability and leech control.

The helmsman can access the primary winches since they are positioned close to the wheel. The Harken twin genoa turning blocks have jammer cleats that enable temporary switchover of the primary winch to traveller, spinnaker, or guy pole control.

Six adults can fit in the cockpit without difficulty. There is room for two or three individuals to sit in the helm seat, which spans the transom. The drop-down helm seat is substantial, but it requires two hands to get it into and out of place. It is preferable to do this before leaving the dock or at the very least while the water is flat.

There is a low profile on the huge wheel. The lowest portion of the wheel is concealed by a notch in the cockpit sole. On a chilly day, the leather cover comes in useful. The steering pod is compact, and both sides of the structure are equipped with identical wind and speed instruments that are easily accessible to the skipper and crew.

A GPS screen or plotter can be simply attached to the upper binnacle handrail, even if instruments are not visible from the driver’s seat. Moving forward, the side decks are open and spacious. Both the shrouds and the genoa tracks are positioned far enough inboard. Since the coach roof is so low, the front is clearly visible.

The crew will be kept on deck, where they belong, by the teak grab rails and toe rails, which appear solid and are strategically positioned. The foredeck has plenty of room for crew movement and is clear, tidy, and safe. The anchor locker is flush and has an electric windlass.

Below Deck

There is a neat, practical arrangement below deck. The installation quality, cabinetry, and Sailboats Galley appear to be more than suitable for a performance cruiser. The counter space in the galley is adequate but not overly huge. The counter features high rails that will keep items where they belong and act as a sturdy handhold. The propane stove has two burners. The fiddles and rail appear to be sturdy enough to firmly keep a pasta pot in place. Even though the oven is small, it can fit a pan of lasagna inside and heat it up. Frigomatic top-loading refrigeration will keep things cool, but without certain alterations, it won’t be able to keep items frozen for very long.

It has a lot of space and is open. On the main bulkhead, the deck-stepped mast is supported by an integrated compression post. The salon table transforms into a comfortable double on the port side. Seating for six persons is available when fully extended. Bolsters stretch to comfortably capture the back of this reviewer’s long-legged knee.

With its long fixed windows, the saloon is brightly illuminated. Large opening ports with four dogs at the bottom are located on either side of the galley to guarantee a watertight fit. The spacious deck hatch (which has privacy shades) further adds to the interior’s open and airy feeling.

Marine ply with a Moabi veneer finish serves as the cabin sole. Access covers are strategically situated away from busy streets. Cabin doors have double anti-vibration bolts, and lockers have double latches. The option to unship the cabin doors for easier cleaning and maintenance is another excellent detail.

The navigation station is thoughtfully designed. A folded chart can be plotted on the table of the chart. The navigator in the back seat can read the instruments from the side or while seated since they are angled. The power distribution panel has excellent detail.

The Dufour 40 has three different cabin configurations. Two have three cabins for sleeping (two aft and one forward).

Owner will certainly occupy the forward bed due to its size, accessibility, and ventilation. The boat’s three batteries are accessible from the aft cabin and are secured with web straps. The aft cabin has plenty of storage space and multiple lockers that drain into the bilge. The strap brackets are screwed into plywood and appear to be undersized.

The separate shower space doubles as a sizable wet locker, and the head appears to be very practical. Cleaning up after a race or cruise won’t be a challenge for a contortionist. There is ample headroom (6’6″) across the whole boat.


This bluewater sailboat performance in a congested marina can be turned around (three-point turn). The profile of the boat explains why this is the case. The long semi-elliptical rudder is set well aft giving the turning force great leverage. The relatively flat hull offers little resistance. The sail drive is located about six feet forward of the rudder, allowing an undisturbed flow of water to push against the rudder. The boat was fitted with the optional 6’11” keel, which provides an excellent pivot point.

You can attain hull speed on a reach with the asymmetrical spinnaker in mild breeze, and the Dufour 40 maximises its water line with a nearly vertical entry and a distinctive flare to the hull right beyond the stem.

The sail area on the Dufour 40 is 958 square feet (89 m2). The huge genoa easily clears the foredeck, allowing for single-handed or short-handed sailing of the boat. It was easy to modify the lead angle while sailing using the optional adjustable genoa tracks. A 4:1 block is used to bring the genoa car forward in light or bumpy circumstances to tighten the leech and open the foot since the genoa tension always wants to drag the genoa car aft. In heavy air, the automobile glides back to depower the genoa. Close hauled, the boat accelerates swiftly to 5-5.5 knots. With little weather helm, the huge wheel was well-balanced.

Handling the sails was never a chore. Roller cars with four distinct rollers on each one are used to fasten the main sail to the mast. Elvestrom main and genoa as well as a Quantum cruising spinnaker are standard equipment on the boat. Full battening of the main ensures optimum form on all sail points. The coach roof is reached by two single-line reefs. Turning blocks sewed into the reef serve as tack and clew points, thus reducing friction. There is no need to leave the cockpit, making the entire reefing operation simpler.

Quick Notes

The Dufour 40 is simple and well-designed, making it straightforward to sail. If bought for a race she can be handled for both an upwind and a downwind blow beautifully. The helmsman may actually wind on the self-tailing headsail winches with one hand, if tuning is required, or move to the front of the binnacle and adjust the main while keeping one hand on the wheel, if needed, thanks to the helm position’s suitability for the light circumstances of the sail. The optional teak deck, electronic anchor winch, headsail furler, and larger auxiliary—a 55hp Volvo Penta as opposed to the conventional 40hp—were all installed on this boat.

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