Dufour 56 Review

This review is dedicated to the sailing yacht Dufour 56, which the topRik team saw for the first time at the Cannes Yachting Festival and, of course, carefully examined it, since our customers are not indifferent to the sailboats of this manufacturer. You already know that we don't offer anything we haven't tested ourselves. Of course, we, as always, provide additional video reviews and excerpts from the reviews of yachting journalists, including those who participated in the trials of this sailboat.

Dofour 56 Review

A small historical perspective will help to understand what led to the emergence of the Exclusive line and its bright representative Dufour 56. Passing several times from one owner to another, Dufour did not lose its French roots, but the Italian influence came through stronger and stronger. It strengthened after the introduction of Umberto Felci as chief designer, although production still remained at La Rochelle. After finally returning to Italian influence in 2013, Dufour went through a process of rethinking its policies, resulting in the Exclusive line, the first of which was the Dufour 63 (currently discontinued).

Expanding the size range of the line, the shipyard released the Dufour 56. This was a reconfigured and improved Grand Large 560, introduced in 2014. The shipyard’s architects, when updating the boat, took into account the wishes of the yachtsmen and the proposals of the Dufour boats’ owners. In their new look, the 56th model and its 63rd older sister made up the Exclusive line, the basis of which was laid by the 310th model.

The Dufour 56 borrowed all the best from its predecessors and became the embodiment of the idea of a comfortable, large sailing yacht, which nevertheless can be sailed alone without hiring a crew.

Dofour 56 Review

Features of Dufour 56

  • Brand: Dufour Yachts
  • Hull type: Sailing yacht
  • Overall length, m: 17.15
  • Width, m: 5.05
  • Draft, m: 2.5
  • Displacement, t: 17.625
  • Keel weight, t: 4.9
  • Water tanks, l: 730
  • Exterior design (Architect): Felci Yacht Design
  • Interior design: Felci Yacht Design
  • Mainsail type: Fully battened
  • Jib type: Furling genoa
  • Mainsail area, m²: 72.67
  • Jib area, m²: 69
  • Engine, hp: 110
  • Option engine, hp: 150
  • Fuel tanks, l: 440
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Virtual tour

Dufour 56 by TopRik Team

Dufour 56 first appeared before the eyes of our team at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2019.

Dofour 56 Review

View From the Transom

Right away you see a large swim platform and several lockers that hide behind it when the platform is up. The folding ladder is located under the cover right in the platform, which is very convenient.

The purpose of the large locker puzzled us: as a garage for a dinghy, it is too small, and for fenders it is too luxurious. We came to the conclusion that the inflated dinghy can be placed here, occupying part of the platform, or the boat can be stored in the garage in a deflated state and then inflated when needed.

The reclining seat on the starboard side opens the entrance to the cockpit, where a ladder with wide steps leads. The upper one, which already forms part of the cockpit deck, is removed to make it easier to access the rescue equipment.

In the Cockpit at the Helm

After taking a couple more steps, you find yourself right in front of the starboard helm. Two steering wheels on the sides already at that time became a familiar hallmark of Dufour cruising sailboats.

Dofour 56 Review

The helm station’s panel is equipped with Raymarine multifunctional displays that can act as chartplotter, echo sounder, sonar and radar. The panel also displays navigation equipment (autopilot, thruster, etc.), as well as indicators reflecting the status of all yacht equipment. Here, however, for some reason, on the left hand we see a powerful "gas-reverse" handle.

We also pay attention to how the issue with halyards and sheets is resolved: they are dropped into lockers, which are located below deck near each helm. The photo below clearly shows how the cable coming from the winch is hidden in such a locker on the port side.

Dofour 56 Review

Winches are located on the sides near the helms, as well as two - on the roof of the wheelhouse to the right and left of the entrance to the saloon. Small lockers also open under these winches, where, while sailing, the ends can be dropped so that they do not pile up on the deck, interfering with the skipper and even presenting a risk of injury when moving around the deck. On Dufour 56, as we see, such a danger is excluded.

Two electric winches at the helms are designed for the boom sheet. The boo sheet’s track passes in the transverse direction from the ladder through the roof of the saloon. Two winches on the deckhouse roof are designed for the automatic staysail.

There is a considerable distance between the transom and the helms, which will not allow the skipper to sit on the transom sofa to control the boat. You will have to sit sideways on the benches on the sides or standing, which, by the way, suits many yachtsmen. And the transom sofa will accommodate your friends or family members, depending on who you go to sea with.

There is enough space in the cockpit to arrange not only outdoor dining, but also a party if the boat is purchased for charters. On the transom there is a grill and a large sink (in the photo above they hide under the pillows), where you can clean the caught fish without fear of polluting the deck and furniture, and then fry it. The cockpit deck, by the way, is completely covered with teak, and, looking ahead, let's say not only the cockpit deck. At that time, this only applied to the exhibition model, in order to emphasize its exclusivity.

In the photo above, you also see a large folding table, which hides a fairly roomy refrigerator, and sofas on its sides, which can accommodate 8 people without fear of hitting each other’s elbows while eating. Another 5-6 people can sit on the seats along the transom. As you can see, you can invite more than a dozen guests to the parking lots in the marina. And we haven't gone down to the saloon yet.

In the Cabin

To demonstrate the area and zoning of the saloon with the help of photographs, imagine that you are going down the ladder here and first see the dining area. A corner sofa, a foot-operated sliding bench and a pouffe are arranged around a large table. It can be lowered to the level of a sofa and, with the help of an additional mattress, turn into a bed for two people.

Dofour 56 Review

And now let's go further along the cabin - and you will have a passage to a full-fledged galley divided on both sides with all the necessary equipment and further - to the master cabin.

Pay attention to the abundance of ceiling hatches through which natural light penetrates. They also enable the skipper to control the sails even during lunch or work at the skipper's table.

Dofour 56 Review

Let's linger in the galley: in the photo above you see the doors of a large refrigerator and freezer. There are also cabinets and cupboards for storing kitchen utensils. Opposite there is a gas (or electric stove), a large countertop and a sink, to which cold and hot water, fresh and outboard, are supplied. Looking at the photos above and below, you can see that there is enough space for storing dishes and other kitchen utensils. There is even a spacious wine cellar under the cover.

Dofour 56 Review

And pay attention to how the designers combined the finish with ensuring the safety of passengers: the slippery metal surface is trimmed with genuine leather, so that during pitching there is a non-slip support at hand.

Well, let's finally visit the owner's cabin, where a direct path leads past the galley from the saloon.

Dofour 56 Review

The photo above clearly shows how the area given to the owner of the yacht is organized outside the box. First, there is a sleeping area with a large double bed, combined with a small living room, where there is a table and a sofa, a large wardrobe and other lockers and shelves for storing things.

Dofour 56 Review

Our picky expert, who always points out this particular aspect, which is important for commercial voyages, remains very pleased with how the Dufour 56 handled the storage problem. You do not limit yourself when choosing luggage for a long cruise, and this always provides additional comfort of life on board.

Dofour 56 Review

At the end of the living area, you see a door leading to the bathroom. This is a very good location that does not eat up part of the master cabin, as it happens when the bathroom is located at the entrance to the master cabin. The shower cabin and the bathroom are spaced apart on the sides. In the shower cabin, our other expert, who is 2 meters tall, did not even hit his elbows against the partitions, feeling quite free.

Dofour 56 Review

Natural light enters the master cabin through side and ceiling windows. Through the hatches, the cabin is also ventilated.

Two guest cabins can be with a double bed each or with separate single beds. The cabins are spacious enough for a boat of this size, and even our giant felt at ease in this bed and in this cabin.

Dofour 56 Review

The designers of Dufour 56 offer 4 cabin plans, including a charter version with separate cabins for the crew. In three of these versions, the port bathroom includes a walk-in shower and can be accessed from both the cabin and saloon.

And now let's go along this wide deck to the bow of the sailboat.

Dofour 56 Review

On the Foredeck

There is enough space to organize a grand sunbathing area with the help of sunbeds and pillows and even place a small mattress right on the bow. But you can sunbathe here, of course, only during anchorage.

Dofour 56 Review

In the bow of the Dufour 56 there is a double furling genoa for the headsails, and the gennaker is conveniently placed forward on the bowsprit through the open bow pulpit. There is an electric windlass in the bow locker.

Dofour 56 Review

TopRik team had the opportunity to see in practice (certainly not at the Cannes show, but much later) that the developers of the Dufour 56 achieved their goal by creating a productive sailing yacht with excellent seakeeping characteristics. The controls are light and simple, but the feel of the boat's response to the helmsman's actions is great. Our skipper said that he almost felt like a single organism with the Dufour 56 - it was really fun to drive!

Advantages of Dufour 56

TopRik team's judgments about the advantages of the Dufour 56 are based not only on the inspection of the sailboat during the Cannes Film Festival, but also on a more detailed acquaintance with her seaworthiness a few years later.

Therefore, we can justifiably argue that even with some minor flaws of Dufour, such as the creaking planks, model 56 is:

  • a safe and productive boat at an affordable price for a sailboat of this size and level of exclusivity;
  • a large sailboat with excellent performance that can be compared with piece-built yachts, but you will pay for it as for a production model;
  • a multifunctional boat that is equally great for offshore solo sailing, family vacations, cruising with friends, charter flights;
  • comfortable cruiser for a long stay on board: free movement around the deck, cockpit, saloon, plenty of space for relaxation (swimming, sunbathing, sleeping), enough space for luggage storage.

The advantages include the ability to choose from 4 options for completing cabins, as well as from 5 options for finish. We also celebrate preference for natural materials in the design of Dufour 56 – wood, leather, textiles.

As a unique detail of increased comfort, our experts noted the well-made rounding of furniture joints and corners, a lot of natural light in living spaces and the possibility of ventilating them without air conditioning.

Dofour 56 Review

Reviews of Dufour 56 from Professionals

Professional journalists/yachtsmen shared their impressions of the Dufour 56: David Harding (Yachting) World), Sam Jefferson (YachtSales.co) and Lars Reisberg (No Frills Sailing), who got to know the sailboat at different times at exhibitions or participated in its testing at sea in different sailing conditions.

Popular magazine author and experienced yachtsman talks about sea trials in the Solent aboard the Dufour 56.

David Harding compared Dufour yachts to the first slightly quirky Citroën cars, which were created by people driven by passion. He noticed that mixing French origins with Italian style did not lead to anything boring or simple. So, the Dufour 56 in the Exclusive range does not look bland, because it simply radiates a French-Italian brilliance and at the same time fully corresponds to all the parameters of a modern serial cruiser.

The weather on the day of testing also met the requirements, providing all the conditions for a full test - from a breeze of 15 knots and clear skies to heavy and torrential rain with hail and wind gusts up to 30 knots. David immediately issued a spoiler: the new Dufour took all the tests with dignity.

Modern keels and rudders with greater depth and grip help steer in windy conditions, as does the German mainsheet system, which makes the helmsman's job easier. On this yacht, the tails return to the winches at the helms on each side. For genoa (if available), the number of winches is doubled. For a spinnaker or Code 0, an additional set of winches is installed in front of the helms, which are controlled by winches from the deckhouse roof.

The author had to evaluate the layout of the yacht when she was moving against the wind at a speed of 25 knots. Therefore, testers in practice appreciated a good set of vertical handrails in the interior, in the cockpit, around the gangway and in other places, which helped to move around the yacht.

The author concluded that boats like the Dufour 56 might not be the first choice of any sailor on the high seas. But they are increasingly becoming participants in ARC and rallies. And if they are not being phased out, they eventually become more comfortable, sophisticated family cruisers and boats for traveling friends than traditional offshore cruising yachts.

After a brief history of the Dufour shipyard, which led to the creation of the Exclusive range, Sam Jefferson settled on the smart design (in his words) of the Dufour 56 sailboat. The author noted that the shallower cockpit gives the helmsman excellent visibility from both helms. At the same time, the skipper will be completely safe thanks to high coamings, wide back support and wide benches.

He appreciated the convenient access to the equipment, which is located in a place that Sam called man shed. The entrance to it is located on the port side at the control post in the stern of the yacht. By opening the large hatch, you will find a garage for a boat, which, however, should be deflated a little to fit here. At the same time, on the starboard side there will still be room for a generator and a desalination plant.

Standing on the descending transom, which also acts as a swim platform, you can cook some barbecue, using a cutting board and a spacious sink if necessary.

Built into this platform is a folding ladder to descend into the water, the cover of which is flush with the surface so as not to stumble and not be injured when walking.

Sam specifically noted that the drop-down plane could expand the cockpit bench and convert it into a full-fledged berth, a great resting place for the night watch skipper. Very handy here is the refrigerator, which is hidden in the stern table - its contents will greatly brighten up the night watch.

Sam compares the management of this yacht with the management of an aircraft carrier. Almost flat decks, a wide beam and a low cabin evoke such an association. But the ease of handling is comparable to that of a much smaller boat.

After accelerating to seven knots, the test team moved to over 6 knots, just 34° from what the smaller self-levelling boom would appear to be. They made sure that if the large headsail was removed by 45°, the numbers would rise noticeably. It is possible to achieve boat speeds of over nine knots with just ten knots of true wind speed at an apparent 85°, as the testers concluded.

The author talks about how he first saw the Dufour 56 at the Cannes Yachting Festival, and what impression she made on him.

Lars immediately expressed a desire to get acquainted with the new model, since, as he believed, Dufour Yacht hasn't made a boat of this size for quite some time. Like all Dufour yachts developed by Umberto Felci, this model managed to surprise the author of the review.

Despite her considerable length (over 55 feet, or almost 17 meters), she did not look massive due to her thin lines and low freeboard.

As the author boarded, inspected the cockpit, saloon and cabins, he was captivated by the French elegance and exquisite finishes. Lars states that the Grand Large concept has evolved into the Exclusive range, which has risen to a higher level of sailing. In support of this, the author listed the amenities that this yacht provides to the yachtsman, which are rare on most racing cruisers: hot water, watermaker, refrigerators, ice maker, air conditioning, remote-controlled LED lighting, etc.

He reserved the right to describe the merits of the Dufour 56 in a more detailed review, for which he simply did not have time in Cannes due to the abundance of impressions.

Lars Reisberg kept his word and dedicated a new review exclusively to this yacht, opening it with the words that this serial boat offers space, comfort and quality, which is comparable to high-end brands and very expensive exclusive boats, produced almost in a single copy.

In confirmation , Lars offers to inspect the cruiser in more detail and immediately draws attention to the new teak coating - the shipyard has changed its supplier. The deck and panel finishes will now be of better quality.

The author of the review positively assessed the fact that the bow of the yacht is accessible not only for the crew, but also for passengers. Here you can not only work with sails, but also rest during stops, since the huge foredeck area allows this. Lars even announced this as a new foredeck accessibility concept.

About the part that is below deck, the author said that it is what it should be - just amazing!

Video Reviews of Dufour 56

Instead of a thousand words and even a dozen pictures, it is better to see with your own eyes the Dufour 56 in motion, in its native sea, in order to make a final decision.

Let’s start with some inspiration – beautiful footage of Dufour 56 at sea and demonstration of interior’s main features in this teaser by Denison Yachting:

Balanced review of the yacht: not too much information, just enough to get the overall idea:

If want more information, here’s 10-minute review with more details:

Sometimes words are unnecessary, as proved in this interior tour with no commentary:

And, at last, 3-minute-long walkthrough of Dufour 56 in case you want to get only the most important information about the yacht:


So, after respectfully reading tester reviews, reviewing live reports from the Dufour 56 and based on their own experience, topRik team experts concluded that this single-hull sailing cruiser has enough performance, comfort, volume to be in demand:

  • by yachtsmen who prefer speed and unity with the yacht while driving;
  • by lovers of comfortable sailing even alone;
  • for family holidays in the coastal zone;
  • for offshore navigation with long passages offline;
  • by supporters of a comfortable life on board and at the same time good exercise with the management of a sailing boat;
  • yachtsmen who do not consider asceticism the main advantage of a racing sailboat.

Also, this boat is suitable for anyone who does not think that exclusivity should be too expensive , and comfort on board does not consist of excessive luxury.

Dofour 56 Review

Price calculator

Where to buy Dufour 56 at a Bargain Price

You didn't have to look far, did you? You are just where you need to be! TopRik marketplace experts are always ready to advise you free of charge so that you can accurately determine your requirements for a sailing yacht.

TopRik team takes care of all the efforts to find the Dufour 56 at a bargain price and deliver the yacht to the agreed location. In addition to the above services, we will negotiate with the manufacturer or dealers. After you choose your yacht from the proposed options, we will issue all the necessary documents and deliver the Dufour 56 to your destination.

If you need to equip your sailboat with equipment and accessories that are not included in the standard or optional delivery, we will provide you with spare parts, tools, dishes, linen, watermaker, etc. of your choice.

We will also take care of the maintenance of the yacht, if you have such a need.

If you need advanced training as a yachtsman or training from scratch, we will provide you with the opportunity to pass IYT Yacht Training Course "International Bareboat Skipper" at the SimpleSail school in Montenegro ending with the issuance of an international skipper’s certificate.

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