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Dufour 390 Grand Large

2020 January 1

This latest midsize cruiser from France packs big boat features in an easy-to-handle and stylish package

The fixed sprit provides a tack point for the asymmetrical spinnaker and also keeps the anchor away from the plumb stem to avoid dings.


Down below

The 360’s 13-foot 1-inch beam is carried all the way aft, and Dufour has creatively made the most of it when it comes to accommodations. There is a lot packed into this midsize cruiser. The saloon feels spacious and is flooded with light, thanks to the three large skylights, eyebrow windows and an opening hatch. 

The saloon is flooded with light thanks to oversized skylights and opening hatches.

The companionway was comfortable to navigate, and the curved teak steps lift up with gas hinges to provide excellent access to the engine.

The L-shaped galley to starboard is small but fully functional with a two-burner stove and oven, a top-load and front-loading refrigerator. Clever use of space includes a pull-out garbage bin and an insert that is put on the top of the double sinks to increase work space.

The folding table opens between the L-shaped settee to starboard and an in-line settee to port. Six people can dine in comfort and eight friendlies could easily squeeze in for a feast—unheard of even on boats with longer LOAs.

Storage abounds, with an array of lockers running the length of the saloon on both sides of the boat and lockers under the settees below. The small nav desk shares the aft seat of the port settee and has space to stash folded charts and access to the electrical panel.

The two-cabin model allows for a large aft cabin with an athwartships double berth to starboard and a spacious head with a completely separate shower to port. There was plenty of elbow room and storage, as well as a vanity with a raised sink. (The three-cabin model eliminates the shower and large lazarette, and the three-cabin, three-head model also eliminates the port settee.)

The forward cabin has a V-berth and en suite head.

The forward cabin has a double V-berth, a large hanging locker to starboard and a head with a toilet and sink to port. The light oak interior finish and the expert joinerwork gives the interior a modern flourish. 

Under sail

I met up with the boat on the Port Annapolis docks just outside of the Dream Yachts headquarters in Annapolis. Eric Macklin, Dream Yacht sales manager, said that while the boat is available for sale through the company’s charter yacht program as a three-cabin model, the boat we sailed was outfitted as a family cruiser.

“It’s a perfect couple’s boat, great for short trips but it’s rated as a category 8 and really built for long passages with lots of tankage. It can really go anywhere offshore.”

We made a quick hop out to the Chesapeake Bay, powering out of Back Creek toward the bay. The 390 felt responsive under power. The optional Volvo 40-horsepower engine and saildrive had plenty of punch to get the boat up to hull speed of 7.4 knots. Unfortunately, that was as fast as we would go all day.

We set sail nonetheless, and it was an easy process. The full-batten Dacron main was set up with a lazy jack and cover combo, and it was just a few quick spins of the electric halyard winch and a push of a button to raise the 387-square-foot main. The German-style mainsheet brings the controls aft to electric winches at both helm stations, but the midboom traveler might make control difficult in heavy air, one of the sacrifices made for a decluttered cockpit.

It was easy to move between the twin wheels and read the instruments located at each helm. The self-tacking jib unfurled easily but just hung there, making the reality of deploying the code 0 a losing proposition. According to Macklin, that sail is a real game changer in the light air frequently seen on the bay.

“The 390 can zip along in 5 knots close reaching at 4.5 knots with the code 0, and it’s easy to handle with continuous line furling,” Macklin said. “It makes this boat perfect for shorthanded sailing with a couple or small family.” 

The boat is also available with an asymmetrical spinnaker that tacks to the fixed sprit for deeper off-the-wind sailing. 

The wind was frustratingly light and not a real test of the 390’s ability, but the relatively wide flat hull of the 390 combined with the more than adequate sail area will ensure this new cruiser will be powerful and stable enough for fast and easy sailing. And with the features of a much larger boat, the Dufour 390 makes a stylish and comfortable family cruiser.


Principal dimensions

LOA 39’1”

LWL 34’5”

Beam 13’1”

Standard draft 6’6”

Shoal draft 5’9”

Ballast standard keel 4,629 lb.

Ballast shoal keel 4,773 lb.

Displacement 16,516 lb.

Sail area 763 sq. ft.

Fuel 53 gal.

Water 100 gal.

Dream Yacht Sales

7080 Bembe Beach Rd. Ste. 211

Annapolis, MD 21403





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