Dufour 61 Review
In this review you will find out why the sailing cruising racer Dufour 61 became the winner of Best Boats 2022 – it will be the representatives of the competition’s jury and testers of the sailboat that will tell you about it. We provide the assessment of this sailing yacht by yachting journalists from popular yachting media. The topRik team of experts, as usual, will tell you how the Dufour 61 was explored from transom to bowsprit during the yacht show in La Rochelle in January 2021.
The review is also full of photos and has enough videos to give you the best possible picture of this largest sailing cruiser from Dufour Yachts to date.
Port de Minim in La Rochelle hosted the Yacht Show in January 2021, where Dufour Yachts presented two new sailboats at once - the 470th and 61st. Despite the fact that it was in every way an unsuitable time for a boat show, this world premiere attracted the attention of all yachtsmen, although it was not crowded for obvious reasons.
Dufour Yachts said the new 61 embodies the DNA of the entire range. This means that the shipyard's largest modern cruising yacht can sail upwind on the high seas with a true wind speed of 20 knots. At the same time, the sailboat is easily controlled with a minimum crew, which may not have professional training.
The main bulkheads of the Dufour 61 are made of rigid fiberglass and glued directly to the hull and deck. All of this creates a very strong single structure, a rigid hull and deck that delivers the excellent sailing performance that Dufour considers essential for a yacht of this size.
With a total sail area of 170 m², the yacht comes with an optional or traditional mast, self-taking or overlapping headsail, and the ability to manage various sails downwind with an integral fixed bowsprit.
Naval architects from Felci Yacht Design say the long hull chines provide increased stability for the sailboat, as well as additional volume below deck, allowing for a comfortable living space to be developed here.
The saloon roof ends at the base of the mast, creating a clean and spacious deck. Sufficiently wide side decks make it easy and safe to move around the yacht. This is also facilitated by handrails and a raised bulwark, which is especially important on the high seas when it’s stormy.
Organizers of Best Boats 2022 nominated Dufour 61 in the Best Large Monohull Category 50 ft and Above. As a result of testing the nominees, the cruising sailboat Dufour 61 became the winner of this prestigious international boat competition, which has been organized by SAIL Magazine for many years.
- Brand: Dufour Yachts
- Hull type: Sailing yacht
- Overall length, m: 19.22
- Width, m: 5.48
- Draft, m: 2.8
- Displacement, t: 24.150
- Water tanks, l: 880
- Exterior design (Architect): Felci Yacht Design
- Interior Design: Felci Yacht Design
- Mainsail type: Fully battened
- Jib type: Self-tacking
- Mainsail area, m²: 104
- Jib area, m²: 66
- Engine, hp: 180
- Fuel tanks, l: 780
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Review Dufour 61 by TopRik Team
TopRik team saw the Dufour 61 for the first time at a yacht show in La Rochelle in January 2021.
Almost all the experts who were present on that trip, when looking at the new model, immediately remembered Dufour Exclusive 63, which at that time had been out of production for two years. We decided that Dufour Yachts, already merged into Fountaine Pajot decided to re-attempt to launch a sailing single-hull cruiser that exceeded the 19-meter mark.
This was an understandable decision, since by that time the demand for large comfortable sailing yachts began to grow noticeably. Manufacturer Fountaine Pajot, which also produces also large catamarans could not ignore this trend. Upon further investigation, it turned out that the Dufour 61 is far from a 100% copy of the Dufour Exclusive 63, although both models were developed by Felci Yacht Design.
However, if we talk about predecessors, we can recall the Dufour 560 GL, as well as other smaller models with common features. This only says that the shipyard is successfully making Dufour's DNA recognizable at first sight while adding exterior, interior or production technology innovations to each model.
Let’s find out how it differs from its predecessors. By tradition, let's start with the transom ...
At the Transom
The open cockpit is one of the hallmarks of Dufour 's DNA. Therefore, the transom wall in the Dufour 61 is both a lowered bathing platform, a garage door for the boat, and a cooking place behind the transom grill.
Check out how these yachtsmen are having a great time at the mooring, enjoying al fresco grilled food.
The platform, as well as the steps of the gangway on the starboard side leading to the cockpit, is finished in teak. The photo below clearly shows the garage for the inflatable boat, where instead of a dinghy you can put a jet ski or various waterboards and other devices for entertainment and sports on the water.
In order not to scratch the teak covering of the platform when pulling out the boat, you should first fold the opening part, as shown in the photo below:
The platform is equipped with a folding ladder for launching into the water on the port side, since on the starboard side you have to climb into the cockpit along the only ladder. The ladder leading directly to th
e deck, as you saw in the previous photo, is necessary if mooring is carried out stern-to with a raised platform.
But since in our case the yacht is moored side-to, we will climb into the cockpit along the ladder from the starboard side, having previously folded down the partition, which is also a seat in front of the helm station on this side.
In the Cockpit
Yes, you read it right. In the very cockpit of the Dufour 61 close to the transom you get two helm stations, port and starboard, each with a separate helm and control panel at arm's length and with winches within walking distance. As you can see, there are no winches on the roof of the cabin.
This is not surprising, given the huge size of the cockpit. This can be seen more clearly in the photo below, and based on both shots you can get an impression of this free and well-organized space.
A large number of seats, which, with the help of mattresses, can easily be transformed into sunbeds. Here you can sunbathe or lie down to rest during the night watch. And you didn't forget about the grill, did you? There is a fold-out table that can easily accommodate 8 passengers. Add to them those who can take the benches in front of the helms (the helmsmen and their assistants, of course, will not be left without refreshments!), as well as on the transom sofa... Yes, here you can have a party for 15 people, and no one will feel slighted!
Control posts and winches are clearly moved into the working area. Pay attention to how the sheets and halyards are routed, as well as these capacious baskets for dropping the ends so that they do not gather on the deck, do not tangle with each other and do not pose a threat to passengers and crew.
The helm stations on the port and starboard sides are almost identical. Each is equipped with a classic helm as well as a controls panel. The panel contains Raymarine chartplotters, autopilot, compass, thruster and other navigational equipment. Displayed here are indicators for all equipment and communications equipment operating on the yacht. There is also a very solid "gas-reverse" lever.
The entire cockpit can be blocked from rain and sun with the help of awnings, for which a number of arches are designed. But you can use this option only for a part of the cockpit, for example, above the control stations.
Pay attention to handrails, which are equipped with all dangerous crossings and places on the ship. The developers took the safety issue seriously. This is important for us at the moment, as we are heading to the bow of the Dufour 61.
At the Bow
Moving to the bow of the yacht, we experienced the same feelings, although we were not yet at sea, and we couldn’t just lean back on the mainsail like that.
And who would not feel delight when they see this clean space, passing here along the wide deck along any side.
And the large hatches in the bow are the ceiling windows of the saloon and bow cabin. They provide tons of natural light. If necessary, it is possible to ventilate the underdeck space.
When closed, hatches do not pose a danger to passengers and crew, as they are flush with the deck. But when the hatches are open, you should be more careful.
Since we are talking about the space below deck, it is time to go down to the saloon and cabins…
In the Saloon
And here are the very hatches that we just examined in the bow of the Dufour 61. As you can see, in the daytime and before deep dusk, you can not turn on artificial light here - natural light is enough. It comes not only through the ceiling, but also through the side windows.
Through the ceiling hatches, an excellent view of the sails opens. So, if the yacht is moving on autopilot, and the skipper sits down at the chart or dining table, he can perfectly control the state of the sails, and at the slightest need, go up to the helm stations to the transom.
Dufour Yacht is trying to keep the traditions of sailing, so the chart table on the Dufour 61 is a full-fledged one, equipped as carefully as the helm stations. In addition, this is a real table where, if desired, you can lay out paper cards.
The galley in Dufour 61 is split between two sides, that is, across the entire width of the yacht. Many find this more convenient than placing the kitchen on one side. This is what the galley looks like in the version surveyed by the topRik team. This is part of the galley on the starboard side, opposite is a cutting table and cabinets for storing kitchen utensils and products with a long shelf life without a refrigerator.
Our experience shows that for a group of friends on board without special staff, when they cook in turns, this is a great option. It allows the cook and several of his assistants to move freely in the galley without interference.
But Dufour 61 is also provided in the version with a galley located on one side. Then the space on the opposite side is given over to a cabin with a bunk bed.
In the Cabins
Since we started talking about cabins, let's start with the version that the topRik team tested. This is the so-called 3-cabin owner's version. The owner’s cabin is located at the bow of the Dufour 61. It is spacious and voluminous and has passed the test of our 2-meter-high expert. He walked freely through the door, the length of the bed was enough for him, and the width even more so, and even the bathroom with the shower did not seem cramped. It should be especially noted that this is a rarity on monohull sailboats.
Two guest cabins, each designed for two people, have also been tested for compatibility with our giant.
By the way, in one of the guest cabins both an oversized bed and two single beds can be installed.
As you can see, all cabins have opening skylights and plenty of storage space. All three cabins in this version have their own private bathrooms, as seen in the diagram below.
You have already seen the layout of the charter option, when the galley is transferred to one side, and on the opposite side there is a double cabin, which does not have its own bathroom.
There is another option when a shower cabin or storage space is in place of the second bed in the aft cabin, or this room is used at the discretion of the owner.
All of these versions have a cabin in the forepeak where the skipper or one of the crew members can be accommodated.
As you can see, there is a bed and a compartment with a toilet and a washbasin, as well as places to store personal belongings or yacht accessories.
At the Sea
We managed to go to sea on Dufour 61 a year later, when we were selecting sailboats for our yachting school. We sailed on a standard sailing wardrobe, with a classic mast and mainsail.
Our skipper, who is also the leader of the topRik team, was at the helm. The crew did not have to help with the management after setting the sails. Based on this experience, we concluded that this large boat could be handled by one, but an experienced sailor - it is so simple, obedient and easy to manage. If you have any doubts about your skills of sailing, it is better to go to sea with an assistant.
The disadvantage of Dufour 61 is typical for many models of the line – some planks were creaking when stepped on in some places.
Otherwise, this is a solid offshore cruiser with an excellent sailing wardrobe and a reliable mast in several options. That is, you can choose a version in accordance with the level of experience in yachting.
This is an excellent sailing vessel that does not require much effort from the skipper. An experienced sailor can manage it alone. Charter voyages do not require a large crew to operate the sails.
The yacht has excellent features for long autonomous navigation: a 440-liter fuel tank, a 730-liter fresh water tank, large refrigerators and freezers for food storage.
The Dufour 61 is perfectly suited for a comfortable life on board while cruising. In addition to comfortable and spacious places for recreation and entertainment, the yacht provides the opportunity to take on board the necessary amount of personal belongings, which greatly improves the stay on board.
The sailboat is provided with all possible devices that ensure the safety of passengers and crew - handrails and railings on the deck, handrails in the interior, the absence of sharp corners in furniture, leather upholstery of parts that you can grab onto, etc.
Reviews of Dufour 61 from Professionals
This time we gave most of this section to the yachtsmen who participated in testing the Dufour 61 at Best Boats 2022.
Video Reviews of Dufour 61
In this section we provide the list of the most informative videos on Dufour 61 we could find.
First, the teaser from the manufacturer – all the main features are well-shown here:
More information on the layout, very clear CG renders of the interior and exterior:
Detailed walkthrough with high-quality footage of the yacht’s interiors:
BoatTube provides another walkaround without commentary:
And more information from the creators – incredible performance and comfort on board caught on camera:
According to some observers, the comfortable, fast and safe Dufour 61 yacht is intended, first of all, for the personal ownership. TopRik's experts disagree with this conclusion, as our own testing results have shown that this monohull sailboat has a diverse demand. We made this conclusion on the basis of practical experience in our skipper school and the provision of charter services using our flotilla. An analysis of our data even for a year shows that the sailing cruiser Dufour 61 is in demand among:
- experienced yachtsmen who prefer the wind in their hair under sail;
- lovers of solo swimming;
- those who do not want to give up the comfort of a sea cruise under sail;
- those who want to enjoy comfortable solitude in a romantic setting;
- supporters of cruises in a large company of friends;
- families vacationing at sea - this can be both the family of the owner of the yacht, and the customers of the charter with or without a crew.
Of course, this is a great acquisition for charter companies, since not every yachtsman will be able to purchase such a boat, but there are many who want to go to sea on a rented one as it puts less strain on the wallet. The same applies to a charter voyage for a relatively large group of friends.
Where to Buy Dufour 61 at a Bargain Price
If you are here, you already know where to buy Dufour 61 at a bargain price. Just describe to our experts in detail what you expect from your Dufour 61 and we will find you the yacht of your dreams at a bargain price. But before that, you will receive from us many other useful and necessary services, which include:
- free consultations on all matters of acquisition and operation of a sailing yacht;
- negotiations with the manufacturer or responsible and trusted dealers;
- provided the specified version of Dufour 61 with custom packages in accordance with your requirements;
- registration of all documentation, including a sale contract, insurance, customs clearance, etc.;
- control over the quality of included equipment;
- transfer of Dufour 61 to the agreed point.
If you express such a wish, we will take your yacht for maintenance, which includes preventive inspections according to the schedule, as well as conservation of the boat.
If necessary, we equip the yacht with accessories that are not provided in the standard or optional equipment from the manufacturer. Such accessories may include table and bed textiles, blankets, pillows, dishes, rugs, tools, etc.
If required, you can take a Yacht Training course “International Bareboat Skipper” at our SimpleSail school, which is an official partner of IYT Worldwide. Bareboat Skipper qualification obtained at our school allows you to automatically receive an International Certificate of Competence (ICC).
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