Arpège - perfect for fast offshore cruising
The Arpège should appear under ‘D’ for Dufour, but this classic of the 60s is often known by just one name, along with other greats of the decade such as Twiggy and Lulu.
Michel Dufour’s innovative design was little short of revolutionary back in 1966, with its intricate interior mouldings and brilliant detailing. Today, though, she appears more idiosyncratic than brilliant, although those who have sailed her say she is perfect for fast offshore cruising. She was a huge success (over 400 a year being built at one time) and set Dufour on the road to becoming one of Europe’s biggest boatbuilders.
Her interior pioneered the use of internal mouldings, with slots to locate bulkheads and foam sandwich for the decks. Beamy and shallow bodied with a high-aspect rig, she performed well on the racing circuit. Inside, the layout featured a pair of quarterberths at the foot of the companionway, together with an excellent chart table and rather poor galley (many subsequently modified). These were separated from the saloon by a full-height bulkhead. Forward of this were two settees and two pilot berths, while the forepeak contained the heads, a basin and sail stowage.
Although not to everyone’s taste, the interior works well, particularly offshore. There were several variants, the most significant of which were an extended counter and a deeper fin. Both are desirable and can add £1,000 to the price.
Although basically robust, Arpèges can now suffer significant deterioration, particularly in the deck coring and around the mast support.