Dufour Yachts: The Odyssey of Luxury Sailing

4 minutes

The French shipbuilder from the legendary La Rochelle wrote many pages of nautical history and became synonymous with superior craftsmanship and design, winning numerous awards for their models that delighted sailing enthusiasts

More than 60 years of passion for sailing

Since the shipyard was founded in the early 1960s, more than a hundred yacht models have been conceived, created, designed, developed, built and delivered from the shipyards in Saint-Xandre and Perigny, the brand’s emblematic stronghold near La Rochelle. Each model has marked its era, and even today, they can be recognized at a glance on the water.

Sailing yacht Dufour 41
Dufour 41 (2023)

Michel Dufour’s Enduring Legacy

In 1964, Michel Dufour, inventor of the ready-to-sail polyester production boat, endowed his creations with essential qualities for the democratization of sailing.

From the outset, the comfort/performance ratio, safety and finish, as well as price and, above all, listening to the customer, were key concerns in convincing the aspiring sailor. Attention to needs was a determining factor in a yachting industry that was just being invented.

This modernity continued throughout the shipyard’s history, long after the creator handed over the helm. All the initiatives of his successors have followed these fundamental principles, which have enabled Dufour yachts to meet with international approval, with over twenty-five thousand units produced throughout the company’s history.

Dufour Icons

Le Sylphe, L’Arpège, Le Dufour Prestige, the Classic, Trophy and Atol ranges, the Dufour 40, the Grand Large, Exclusive and now Sailboat ranges, each in its own way, they have provided pertinent answers to a constantly evolving environment, uses, desires and regulations.

Le Sylphe (1964)

The Sylphe was one of the first yachts built in polyester/fiberglass composite. Finished to a high standard, fully equipped and ready to sail, she became an iconic yacht while L’Arpège was a true ocean-racing cruiser.

When Baron Marcel Bich took the helm at Dufour Yachts at the dawn of the 1980s he gave a more pronounced racing-cruising orientation to future models. For the first time the shipyard called on external resources for hull design – Johan Valentijn and German Fers. Models from 3800 and 4800 factories were lined up as well as a range of small integral dinghies, the T6 and T7.

L’Arpège (1967)

The Era of Luxury Designer Yachts

In 90s the appeal of larger, more luxurious yachts has become natural. To give the yacht its letters of nobility, internationally renowned architects were called in. Harlé-Mortain designed the first 54 Prestige and a 56 with central cockpit, then Jean Berret a 48, and finally Bruce Farr gave performance to a 65, the largest model. No less than fourteen models from 30 to 50 feet will make up the Classic range.

Dufour 530 wins Best SAIL Boat 2022 Award

Taken over by Italy’s Del Pardo Group at the begining of 21st century, Dufour Yachts repositioned itself at the heart of its range, creating a chic racing-cruising style that will mark the decades to come. Umberto Felci and Patrick Roseo were chosen to design a range of fast cruisers, introduced by the Dufour 34, 49 and 44.

This was followed by the Grand Large range, based on the fundamentals of speed and elegance. No less than seven models from 32 to 52 feet would hit the water over the course of the decade.

dufour 530
Dufour yachts have sailed the world’s oceans providing satisfaction to their owners and crews

When global financial crisis turned economies upside down in 2008 yachting industry began to rationalize manufacturing processes, and some highly innovative models were introduced to attract new customers.

Sixteen different models, ranging in size from 30-footers to 56-footers, left the Périgny workshops, placing the brand among the leading names in international yachting. The Grand Large range enjoyed real success, adapting to the ever-increasing demands of customers.

Dufour Today

In 2018, Dufour Yachts was majority-owned by the Fountaine Pajot group. The synergy generated by this merger is beneficial to both entities, as it is based on both brands’ roots in La Rochelle and their unrivalled history.

sailing yacht Dufour 41

The passionate men and women behind these iconic brands complement each other to create the second-largest player in international yachting.

The three different versions, Easy, Ocean and Performance, replay the score of the all-in-one sailing yacht, for all possible navigations. Today, Dufour continues to write the history of yachting, and enters a new decade with new challenges.

Photos & video Dufour

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