Peter Poland sails the sparkling performing and spacious Dufour 37

Product Overview

Dufour 37


Dufour 37: ‘a fast, comfortable cruiser’

Price as reviewed:

£266,196.00 (as tested including options, delivery and commissioning)

The Dufour 37, introduced to the market at the end of 2022, is an excellent example of how modern yacht design has progressed.

This Dufour has a long waterline length of 9.31m/30ft 7on on a hull length of 9.99m/32ft 9in (excluding bowsprit).

Yet thanks to her modern hull shape and distinct hull chines, she offers all the space and comfort of a much larger yacht without sacrificing any of the performance or handling qualities.

When Michel Dufour set up his business in the 1960s, I recall seeing his first production yacht – the 22ft Sylphe that he designed in 1964 – lurking in the Pembroke Hall extension at the back of the Earls Court Boat Show.

Its wide beam, bulbed fin keel, skeg-hung rudder and spacious accommodation for a boat of its humble size were way ahead of its time.

Two people sitting in the cockpit of a Dufour 37 boat

The Dufour 37 comes as standard with a self-tacking jib. The 108% Genoa and German system for mainsail sheeting are part of the Ocean Version package. Credit: Jean-Marie Liot/Dufour Yachts

In 1966 Dufour went on to design and build one of the most important and influential GRP boats of all time.

The 30ft Arpège came with spacious accommodation – thanks to its beam of 3m – and was such a successful cruiser-racer that around 1,500 were sold.

Amazingly, it also won the inaugural Half Ton Cup held in La Rochelle in 1967.

The Arpège put Michel Dufour well and truly on the map as a designer and builder of fast cruisers.

After several decades with various owners such as Baron Bich and the successful entrepreneur Olivier Poncin, the Dufour company has continued to go from strength to strength since being acquired in 2018 by leading catamaran builder Fountaine-Pajot.

The Dufour model range now includes the Dufour 32, 37, 41 (new 2023), 44 (new 2024), 470, 530, 56 and 61.

A yacht with a white hull sailing

The extended chine adds to the Dufour 37’s directional and lateral stability. Credit: Peter Poland

Since 2002, Dufour has collaborated with the highly regarded design team from Felci Yachts who together have produced over 40 new models, several winning major awards.

The Dufour 37 was runner-up in the 2023 European Yacht of the Year Award for the best family yacht, while other models have won awards in the USA – the Dufour range is as highly regarded in the USA as it is in Europe.

Always at the forefront of innovation, Dufour has long held the approach that whenever they launch a new model it will come with a completely new design.

This commitment, along with the stability of a long-standing relationship with Felci Yachts, has allowed their design ideas to evolve naturally into the modern hull shapes and many other innovations that we see today.

Chris Warwick of UK Dufour agents Universal Yachting said the first Dufour to feature hull chines was back in 2011 with the Dufour 36 Performance.

Soon after, chined hulls were incorporated into their cruising range where their introduction into modern yacht design has had a pronounced effect on both the sailing experience as well as performance.

A person cooking on a bbq on a boat

The drop down swim platform on the Dufour 37. Credit: Jean-Marie Liot/Dufour Yachts

He added that “working with the keel, the chines help keep a yacht upright by creating resistance as it begins to heel. Sailing a yacht upright opens up more sail area to the wind which improves performance. It also makes a yacht more comfortable and easier to sail.

“Faster and more comfortable to sail modern hull shapes have also led to a massive increase in the usable space both above and below decks offering living spaces that are unrecognisable compared to previous generations of yachts.”

In the ‘old days’ chines were primarily used to make the construction of plywood hulls simple and strong. Little regard was given to their performance-enhancing attributes and once GRP construction took over, chines were cast aside.

Chines and the extra performance and stability they produced later reappeared in racing yachts.

Hunter designer David Thomas was then among the first to reintroduce chines on the aft quarters of quick cruising boats including the 1996 Ranger 265 and pilothouse Pilot 27.

He also incorporated chines on the 1995 Hunter 707; a leading planing sports-boat of its time.

The extra comfort and space in the cruisers’ aft-cabins and the enhanced performance of the 707 were immediately obvious.

Thomas obtusely said: “Water likes chines. They tell it which way to go.”

On the new Dufour 37, chines extend from the stem to the stern.

The saloon area on the Dufour 37

Three-cabin version with twin stern cabins; the heads/shower compartment is ahead of the starboard aft cabin access. Forecabin stowage lockers are behind the opened double doors. Credit: Jean-Marie Liot/Dufour Yachts

They help to reduce the heeling angle and add to the crew’s comfort in the cockpit and below deck. The wide side decks also make moving around the boat much easier.

Another important feature of the Dufour 37 is its underwater hull form.

It has a deeper forefoot and a rounded hull shape designed by Felci to reduce noise and slamming in a seaway.

The bow of the Dufour 37 and – to a larger degree – the bow on the new 41 and 44 have a hint of the modern ‘scow bow’ shape that increases performance and enhances the space in the forecabin.

In addition to reducing heel, the full-length hull chines also enable the beam to be pulled well aft.

This gives ample space in the cockpit and produces extra volume below.

The galley on a Dufour 37 yacht

Removable work surfaces above the cooker and sinks maximise preparation areas. Credit: Jean-Marie Liot/Dufour Yachts

The forward extension to the chines also adds balance under sail and increases space in the bow.

Until recently there was a distinct divide between cruising yachts and performance yachts, but recent evolutions in design mean there has been a noticeable increase in the performance of the perceived ‘cruising yacht‘.

On some designs this means that the need to have two distinct ranges has largely disappeared; unless the customer is in the market for an extreme flat-out racer.

The designers maintain that modern Dufours aim to offer the comforts of a cruising yacht without sacrificing performance.

On the latest Dufours, the customer can choose between three different versions depending on the type of sailing they enjoy: Easy, Ocean or Performance.

Added to this Dufour clients also have a choice of interior layouts and décor options and a variety of equipment choices.

A plan of the The two-cabin accommodation layout on the Dufour 37

The two-cabin accommodation layout. Credit: Dufour Yachts

Interestingly Chris Warwick said the Ocean option is proving the most popular.

The 37’s construction features an infusion-moulded solid hull with a deck that is injection-moulded.

There are some distinct advantages of the infusion and injection moulding process, not least that it allows for precise control of the resin-to-fibre ratio and an even distribution of resin throughout the structure.

This enables manufacturers to consistently deliver a quality hull and deck structure that is strong and lighter than traditional methods.

The cockpit is big enough to have space for a large table (with integral grab handles), twin wheels with pedestals and mounting panels for instruments, an easy passage to the bathing platform, and the popular optional integrated Plancha BBQ with a sink that is accessed from the platform.

When the platform is raised, it encloses the aft end of the cockpit. The liferaft stowage locker is revealed when the platform is lowered.

A yacht sailing with a yellow sail

The Dufour 37 comes with a mainsail area of 32m2/344.45ft2. Credit: Jean-Marie Liot/Dufour Yachts

Hinging helmsman’s seats on each side also give easy access to and from the platform.

The stern platform made an immediate impression. Instead of having to board the Dufour 37 by opening an optional gate in the guardrails and clambering up over the topsides, I could step straight onto the platform and into the cockpit via the two hinging seats on the transom.

This route is also ideal for boarding from a tender.

Once Chris had fired up the Volvo D1-30 (an extremely quiet optional upgrade of the standard D1-20), the benefits of designer Felci’s single semi-elliptical rudder became obvious.

Some call him ‘the master of the single rudder’… and with good reason.

Being on the centreline, the balanced rudder’s grip on the water when motoring astern was immediately obvious.

To emphasise his point before leaving the marina, Chris executed a sequence of low-speed manoeuvres astern without ever resorting to the bow thruster.

The Jefa rudder system also adds to the easy control of the 37.

Under way outside the Hamble, the D1-30 pushed the 37 up to its hull speed of around 7.4 knots.

I suspect the smaller standard D1-20 engine will achieve similar speeds in flat water while the D1-30’s extra power will maintain speed in rougher seas.

When motoring at speed the semi-elliptical rudder remained light and easy to control.

When the sails were raised, the wind was a light 8-10 knots.

The test boat was the Ocean version with upgraded laminate sails including a 108% overlapping genoa and fully battened mainsail.

A very nice feature of this option is that the tracks and cars on the side deck have been replaced with genoa sheet friction rings with tackles on the coachroof, leaving the side decks completely clear.

The boat as standard comes with a Dacron mainsail and self-tacking jib with in-mast mainsail furling as an option.

Hard on the wind at 32° apparent, the 37 made 5.6 knots under full mainsail in the light breeze. At 125° apparent, this increased to over 6 knots.

At all times there was very little pressure on the wheel and the boat was a delight to handle.

When I jumped into a RIB to photograph the Dufour 37 under sail, the wind perversely increased.

I watched the Dufour 37 pick up her skirts and accelerate without having the pleasure of helming her at this extra speed.

Continues below…

Once I clambered back on board I enjoyed steering her again.

Tacking is as simple as it gets with both the main and jib sheets coming back to two aft winches, allowing the helm to control everything without leaving the twin wheels.

Before we turned back and headed towards Hamble, we had an interesting moment sailing upwind of a First 40.7.

This Bruce Farr-designed race-boat dates from the late 1990s and had elderly-looking sails, but it appeared to be racing with a full crew.

It was considerably longer overall than the Dufour 37… which soon overhauled it.

Down below, the Dufour 37 has many attractions, not least the amount of natural light that floods in through the deck and hull windows which just adds to the overall feeling of space which is quite remarkable for what is essentially a 32ft 9in hull.

An attractive teak finish is standard while optional light oak adds a touch of bright modernity.

There’s also an extensive choice of fabrics and upholstery. There are two internal layouts, two-cabin and three-cabin.

The forecabin has a 2m-long berth with ample width to make a comfortable double, allowing you to sleep with your head towards the bow.

The three-cabin option offers twin stern cabins with 2m x 1.55m-wide berths.

The standard two-cabin layout has a single stern cabin to port with a large 2m x 2m athwartships berth.

On the two-cabin layout, the aft heads and shower compartment to starboard is larger and has access aft to a cavernous cockpit locker.

On both layouts, Dufour offers an inflatable cushion to convert an area adjacent to the saloon table into an extra and wider berth.

Access to the chain locker is via a watertight hatch in the bulkhead ahead of the large double berth rather than via a deck locker.

The cabin is accessed via double doors set in the saloon bulkhead which, when open, adds a great sense of space to the saloon and interior.

The saloon is equally welcoming, light and airy.

The finely crafted saloon table has large hinging leaves and contains a dedicated cutlery drawer at its aft end.

There’s also a clever optional ‘box stool’ that stows under the table, making an extra seat at the end of the table.

On the two-cabin version, there’s a worktop to starboard with extra stowage in the lockers above and below.

This useful extra space results from enlarging and moving the heads compartment further aft.

The L-shaped galley is to port and forward of the port stern cabin.

Saloon on the new Dufour 37 yacht

The optional light oak trim provides a modern and airy ambience. There’s stowage in overhead lockers, behind the backrests, under the saloon settees and in the table. Credit: Jean-Marie Liot/Dufour Yachts

The test boat had the full Comfort Pack that includes a two-burner cooker with oven, hot water boiler and numerous sundry items such as the cockpit table, aft bathing platform and extra battery.

The worktop area can be extended with a removable cover over the cooker and two covers over the double sink as well as by making use of the lid over the large refrigerator.

Overall, the Dufour 37 is a fast and comfortable cruiser.

Its hull form also provides an exceptional amount of well-designed space below for its hull length of 9.99m/32ft 9in and overall length of 10.77m/35ft 4in.

As one American magazine concluded: ‘The Dufour 37 won over the jury for both her performance and her remarkable living space, which is comparable to that of a bigger boat … With her performance under sail and her ease of handling, the Dufour 37 offers undeniable pleasure at the helm.’

I can only agree.


LOA:10.77m/35ft 4in
Hull Length:9.99m/32ft 9in
LWL:9.31m/30ft 7in
Light displacement:6,474kg/14,269lb
Deep draught keel:1.90m/6ft 3in
Shallow draught keel: 1.60m/5ft 3in
Max beam:3.80m/12ft 6in
Ballast ratio:25%
Displacement/length ratio: 233
Comfort ratio:25
Fuel tank capacity:160lt/42gal
Water tank capacity: 180lt (optional 160lt/48gal)
Engine:Volvo Saildrive 19hp (30hp optional)
Mainsail area:32m2/344.45ft2
Genoa area:24.9m2/268ft2
Standard Construction:Solid infused hull with anti-osmosis vinylester resin, injection moulded deck with a PET core
Price:Base price ex works inc VAT €190,080; as tested including options, delivery and commissioning £266,196
UK dealer:Universal Yachting