The new Dufour 44 offers ample room for a lively living experience in harbour. And it sails well, too.

Yacht design never seems to stand still, including with the new Dufour 44.

Although Dufour’s last 40-something footer, the 430, was brand new in 2019, the lines are already beginning to look dated and a trifle pokey in comparison to the latest fashions.

The whole range is gradually being overhauled by Umberto Felci, the brand’s designer for the last quarter of a century; the boats with two digits, rather than three, are the new ones.

As with the Hanse 410 on the previous pages, internal volume is the name of the game, driven by vast bow sections and full-length bow chines.

Graphic of the aft of the Dufour 44. It has small steps down to a little aft deck.

The bathing platform gives access to the outdoor galley as well as the life raft stowage. Photo: Yachting Monthly

Marina moving benefits with Dufour 44

I had a look at Dufour’s most recent launch, the 41, at last year’s Southampton Boat Show, and was struck by quite how marked these above-waterline flares are.

The waterline at rest remains narrow, but once sails are set, the boat will sit over onto these and benefit from the increased righting moment this powerful form stability generates.

It also allows yachts to get away with single rudders despite their vast beam, as the bow no longer dips down and the stern up when heeled, which is what drove boats of a generation or two ago to unanimously opt for twin rudders.

There’s plenty good to say about twin rudders, but Hanse, Dufour and Bavaria have all stuck with the single, relatively deep blade; it gives a more direct helming experience, aids manoeuvring in a marina, and presumably also keeps construction costs down.

Clearly, twin wheels are still a must to give proper visibility for the helmsman on either tack.

Graphic of the galley, with skylights shining over the light wood furniture. There are two small, long windows out to the sea.

Central to the saloon is the unusual hexagonal table, with options for linear or forward galleys. Photo: Yachting Monthly

The other point of note is the vast windows in the moulded recesses in the hull topsides.

While not all of the black side panels are actually windows, it’s a bold look that should make below decks feel even more open.

Dufour, more than most, focuses on the living experience in harbour – huge cockpits with high soles and unobstructed views forwards, great access to the water, and the trademark grill and outdoor galley beneath the transom seats are all there.

So too is ample space for sunbathing in the cockpit and on deck.

That’s not to say the boat isn’t built for sailing though.

You may want to opt for the sprayhood in British waters, but bracing is provided in the cockpit by the single large table midships, and controls are led aft to the helm for easy handling.

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Steering, sails, and stowage

The winches and clutches are slightly further forward than on some boats, so the helmsman will need to stretch a little to reach them, but this does mean that other crew can also get involved with the sailing, which some boats seem actively to preclude.

I’d have liked to see the lines atop to the coamings hidden in ducts to prevent them being used as handholds by crew, but that’s a minor point.

The boat comes with the options of an overlapping genoa or a self-tacking jib, as well as the ubiquitous bow sprit for offwind sails.

Below decks, Dufour offer a longitudinal galley to starboard, or one across the bulkhead at the forward end of the saloon, with a combination of chart table, seating and stowage options.

Dufour 44’s socialising flexibility

Graphic of the cabin inside the Dufour 44. The aesthetic is beige, and white, with four skylights.

The bathing platform gives access to the outdoor galley as well as the liferaft stowage. Photo: Yachting Monthly

The striking, hexagonal table, curved seating and three moveable stools won’t be to everyone’s taste, but it aims to be a flexible, sociable space.

There are options for three or four cabins if you split the forward cabin in two (each cabin with its own heads), but most will want the vast owner’s cabin forwards, which comes with separate shower and heads compartments and neat stowage options.

The fact that Sunsail have signed up for a fleet of new Dufours tells you that this boat certainly offers what charterers are looking for and I’d imagine there’s plenty there to keep private owners happy too.

Dufour 44 Specifications

LOA: 13.91m/ 45ft 8in
HULL LENGTH: 3.10m / 43ft 0in
LWL: 12.23m /40ft 1in
BEAM: 4.45m / 14ft 7in
DRAUGHT: 2.2m / 7ft 3in
SAIL AREA: 100m2 / 1,076 sq ft
BALLAST: 2,850kg / 6,283 Lbs
DISPLACEMENT: 10,200kg / 22,487 Lbs
PRICE: base €275,000 ex VAT
CONTACT: Dufour’s website here.