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Dufour 430

2021 March 1

Sleek performance cruiser checks all the right boxes for offshore sailing

Dufour is one of the oldest French production builders still in business. In 1974 I raced a Dufour Arpege in the Chicago-Mackinac race. The Arpege was an older design at that time. This latest Dufour, an addition to the company’s Grand Large series, is designed by Umberto Felci. The Grand Large series is distinguished by the molded in bulwark and additional volume forward in the hull form.

Look at the plan view of this hull. This is a very beamy boat with an L/B of 2.91. For my money any L/B under 3 can be considered “very beamy” or “fat” depending on your mood du jour. But beam buys you volume and volume buys you accommodations. Look how far the beam is carried forward on this design. The D/L is 169. Draft is 6 feet 10 inches and there is a single rudder. Note the similarity in the canoe body rocker that the Dehler shows. The Dufour has less overhang (2.66 inches) than the shorter LOA Dehler. Length of the hull is 41 feet but with the short sprit to house the anchor the LOA is 43 feet 5 inches. Freeboard is on the high side. Again this increases interior volume while allowing for a very svelte cabintrunk. 

There is a chine beginning about station 3.8 and continuing to the transom adding even more interior volume. You can see that there is a balancing act going on between features that enhance boat speed and features that increase usable interior volume. But the Dufour has no pretense to be a race boat. This is a cruising boat designed with good performance in mind.

As we look at the interior layout of the Dufour consider, compared to the Dehler, what 3 feet 11 inches of additional LOA and 4,800 pounds of displacement make in interior volume. You can argue that how “big” a boat is has more to do with displacement than it does LOA. Dufour offers two layouts for the 430. You can have three cabins and two heads or you can have four cabins with two heads. 

The main cabin for each variation is quite different. If you go with three cabins, you get a galley-forward in the main cabin with a short settee to port and a large L-shaped dinette with centerline bench to starboard. That forward galley is split port and starboard. I can’t tell if the refrigerator is to port or starboard. This is an unusual galley. The main counter area looks quite narrow with the sink right on the end. I’d have to live with this galley for a while before giving it the thumbs up. 

If you go with the four-cabin layout the galley is longitudinal on the starboard side. This won’t please many offshore sailors but it has been a good layout for a lot of cruising boats. Adjacent to the galley is a U-shaped dinette with centerline bench. I feel strongly that a boat that can sleep eight should be able to seat that many people for meals. Might be a bit of a pinch to get eight seated at this dinette. The nav station is eliminated in the four-cabin layout and instead you get a tight cabin with upper and lower berths. Both of these layouts  will give you a main cabin that feels huge.

The rig and deck of the 430 is more focused on the cruiser than that of the Dehler. The rig is smaller with an SA/D of 18.63. The mainsheet traveler is on the cabintrunk top and almost runs into the vang. The jib can be rigged to be self-tacking but there are also side deck jib tracks that will give you more sheet lead angle options when it blows. I presume the high tack on the  jib is there to help you keep a decent jib shape if you sail with the jib partially rolled up.

The deck plan shows all flush hatches, including really large skylight hatches just aft of the mast. I like the really broad traveler. I’d prefer the traveler in the cockpit but if it’s going to be on the house you might as well make it as wide as possible. There are four winches with halyard, mainsheet and vang controls flanking the companionway. The primary winches are aft close to the wheels. There is a large, fixed cockpit dining table that will make a good foot rest when you are heeled. I can’t tell how much of the transom opens up. I see what looks like a small, centerline transom door with a removable portion of seat on centerline across the stern.

Aesthetically, the Dehler and the Dufour look like they could almost come out of the same design office. Both are handsome boats in a style that offers attractive lines combined with interior volume.

LOA 43’5”; LWL 38’4”; Beam 14’2”; Draft 6’10”; Displ. 21,385 lb.; Ballast 5,732 lb.; Sail area 893 sq. ft.; Fuel 66 gal; Water 114 gal.; L/B 2.91; D/L 169; SA/D 18.63

Our best estimate of the sailaway price: $425,000