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Modern Functional DesignAuthor: Katherine Stone

Dufour prides itself on modern, functional design for good looking boats

One often asks of a winning achievement or a fabulous design, could it have possibly been done better? The engineers at Dufour Yachts and the Felci Yachts Design group asked that question and listened carefully to suggestions from owners of the earlier, award-winning Dufour 410- one of Dufour’s most successful 12-metre boats. Not only did Dufour make the 412 more attractive and modern, but alsoincorporated amenities that are usually only reserved for larger boats.

We sailed the boat on a gusty, chilly, late autumn day out of Whitby, Ontario, on Lake Ontario, and she handled very well in 20 knotbreezes and three- to four-foot swells. At one point, a very strong gust hit and the boat - ever so slowly - rounded up on her hard chine as if she were doing a dance and wanted to give her partner a thrill, but not a scare. It was very easy to bring her back down and on track and made it easy to anticipate her actions the next time a gust hit – mighty impressive!

The new fixed sprit provides good support for a code zero, asymetrical spinnaker and ground tacklNew Fixed Sprite

Making its debut at the Southhampton Boat Show, the Dufour 412 immediately attracted attention for the changes that were notably apparent and its modern, clean look on and below deck. Starting at the dolphin bow, the fixed fiberglass and stainless-steelsprit now comes standard for ground tackle and to facilitate mounting a code zero or asymmetric spinnaker. On the Dufour 410, this was a retractable sprit. The furling system on the headsail uses the Facnor webbing construction, which almost eliminates overrides – a definite asset! The anchor locker design allows the chain to fall correctly without the risk of getting jammed and is wide enough for those larger salts to enter without any problem.

With the lowers well inboard and the uppers outboard, navigating your way to the bow does not require a seasoned sailor to walk as if they were a young salt. The jib sheets and furler lines run along the side of the cabin through fairleads and back to winches easily operated by the helm. Our test model did not have power winches, which would be greatly appreciated by those skippers who don’t have the upper body strength of younger salts. All other mainsail controls run back to the front of the companionway under the deck facing . In all, this has the appearance and functionality of an extremely clean deck layout, free from tripping hazards. The boom has been inclined forward, in effect lowering the gooseneck to allow vertically challenged sailors(like me) to be able to reach and pull down the mainsail. Not only are these handy for children and women, but also benefit the solo sailor looking for ease of handling.

Moving to the cockpit, which has been newly designed with a closed-in aft deck to guarantee a high level of safety at sea, it is more functional and spacious for relaxation as well as sailing. An additional fridge can be found under the cockpit table. There is plenty of comfortable cockpit seating with extra long benches (179 cm) that can convert to tanning beds - although a bit complex to operate, an excellent idea. With 65 cm between the twin wheels, access through the cockpit is very functional. Helm foot braces on both port and starboard cockpit floors are an added bonus when going upwind in a large sea and retract when not in use.

Exterior GalleyThe new exterior galley makes cooking el fresco a treat

The starboard helm seat lifts up for easy access from the stern when boarding or using the swim platform, which extends almost the full width of the boat. The garage is designed to accommodate an inflatable tender andis well integrated into the aft working area. Aft of the port helm is another important change with a real external kitchen including a plancha grill, sink, and cutting board. With a 270 cm x 70 cm space it is comfortable to move and cook with style – a true paradise for a sailing cook to entertain guests or when on family cruises independent from the galley below deck.

You will hardly feel like you have moved inside when going below on curved steps, as the salon and cabins are filled with natural light from large, overhead windows and the generous use of wood provides a fresh, clean, modern atmosphere. At night, the interior becomes a warm environment with LED tapes that have been placed under the benches, closets, and coach roof.

Salon Natural LightThe model tested had a light oak interior; there are two other options offered. An opening hatch and a pair of opening side holes provide good ventilation. The L-shaped galley has been redesigned with a long Corian work counter and an extra-large fridge with access from the top and side so that those wonderful morsels of goodness don’t get forgotten and never seen until they are uneatable at the bottom. Garbage and recycling bins move easily in and out on sliding tracks below and to the side of the sink. All in all, a delightful place to prepare food with generous space and light.

facing aft in the salon, The natural light shines through

 

 

Salon Natural Light 2

The chart table easily folds away when not in use to reveal a full-length settee – wonderful for more space for lounging in port or an extra sea berth. The instrument panel is concealed behind a tinted plexiglass door and mounted behind the starboard settee flush with the bottom of the shelf. Storage space is abundant – with spaces in cupboards and chests that continually reveal themselves! Having the wine “cellar” under the floor ensures that bottles don’t roll around or get broken. All storage lockers have spring loaded arms and are very easy to open and close. Retractable screens for privacy and decreased light are found in the salon and cabins.

This boat was athree-cabin version; one of four available layouts. The twin aft cabins are generous with large mattresses that are almost square. Both cabins have a built-in bench with storage, just below and to the side of the bed so that you can sit down and put on your shoes. All cabins have generous amounts of natural light so they don’t feel like caves, as some often do. The holding tank for the owner’s head is concealed behind a nice double mirror, and a folding plexiglass door separates the toilet and sink from the shower area, which also has a teak seat. The basic two-cabin version has a large sail locker accessible from the cockpit. The head is bigger and boasts a large shower box. However, the three-cabin version has two cockpit lockers rather than one cavernous cockpit locker with a wet locker and access from the shower stall.

The Navigation TableThe nav table folds down for an extended settee

All the boat “guts” are easily accessible to ensure smooth running operation and repair. The 40hp Volvo Penta Engine with a fixed prop sail drive comes standard with an option to upgrade to 55hp and feather prop, which this owner has done, along with a 1.75m shallow keel to access gunk holes more easily. The owner also opted to have the jet thrusters installed rather than the bow thrusters. It certainly made a difference when coming into the slip with a following sea and cross-chop. This system, used by Dufour, allows the boat to literally turn on a dime in tight spaces with powerful yet small nozzles located at the waterline of the bow and stern. Because they are jet thrusters, not tunnel thrusters, you are able to run them almost indefinitely.

Although this is a family cruiser there is a bit of sportiness to her, and she’swell-designed for performance sailing and cruising, beingamong the flagships of Dufour’s Grand Large range. With optimum exterior spaces it is an extremely versatile boat. The following dealers would be happy to help you land the boat of your dreams: Yacht Sales West (West Vancouver), Marina Lennox (St. Paul-de-lile-aux Noix), Ocean Yacht Sales (Halifax), and Swans Yacht Sales (Whitby). Landed price in Whitby, Ontario, will runnicely equipped from about $375,000 CAN.

SPECIFICATIONS
Architect: Felci Yachts
Overall length: 40’6” / 12.35 m
Hull length:39’4” / 11.98 m
Waterline length: 36’7” / 11.15 m
Max beam: 13’9” / 4.2 m
Light displacement: 19,709 lbs / 8,940 Kg
Draft: 2.10 m
Keel weight: 5,732 lbs / 2,600 Kg
Fuel tank capacity:52 gal / 200 L
Water tank capacity: 100 gal / 380 L
Engine: Volvo 40 hp
Sail area: 71 m² (Mainsail: 38 m² Genoa: 33 m²)

CONSTRUCTION 3 Layouts
• Hull: Hand-laminated in polyester/glassfibre
• Decorative stripes on the hull
• NPG gelcoat with first mat impregnated with NPG resin forming an optimum barrier against osmosis.
• Structure: Hull bottom counter-moulded, floors laminated into the hull, bulkheads glassed to hull
• Deck: Sandwich with injected foam core
• Ballast: Keel bolts bear on stainless back-plates
• Semi-elliptical rudder shape, filled with closed-cell epoxy foam
• Rudder stock: Solid stainless steel
• Non-slip structured deck surface