Dufour 382 Grand Large
By Dale Miller
French boat builder Dufour Yachts has carved a niche for itself with its stylish and sporty sailboats in the 30- and 40-foot range. These boats appeal to the sailor who values performance and slick engineering more than flash. They are designed from the outside in, rather than the inside out—which is opposite to the standard practice for many of Dufour’s production boat competitors. Just a couple minutes sailing at the helm of one of Dufour’s offerings, and you’ll see what we mean.
This new 382 Grand Large sits smack in the middle of their lineup, and offers boaters the option of cruising comfortably with family or friends while still being easily manageable for a couple, or even singlehanded. The 382 has had recent success in the European boat shows and is becoming very popular with the charter industry in Europe.
In fact, our test boat, Meritage, is headed for the charter fleet at San Juan Sailing, and there is currently another 382 available for charter at Desolation Sound Yacht Charters, a boat that is notably powered by an Oceanvolt electric motor. Local dealer Yacht Sales West even offers a “try before you buy” program where if you charter a Dufour from any fleet they will refund the charter fees with the purchase of a new model. Not a bad way to do a test sail, all things considered.
Design and Construction Designed in collaboration with Felci Yacht Design—which has proven to be an award-winning partnership since 2004—the Dufour 382 Grand Large’s versatility is showcased by its interior options. No less than six different interior configurations are available from the factory, with the main options being two or three cabins, one or two heads and a linear or L-shaped galley.
Dufour’s 382 features a hand-laminated, solid fibreglass hull and injected foam-cored decks, with an internally bonded grid structure to keep everything supported. There are two keel length options, both with an L-shaped bulb, and the strong semi-elliptical rudder is filled with closed-cell foam while hanging on a solid stainless steel rudder post. The overall mantra here is to save weight wherever possible without sacrificing strength and durability.
Rig and Controls Our test boat was fitted with the optional tall rig, which is 0.7 metres taller than standard. The deck-stepped Z-Spars mast features split backstays and shrouds that are lead to the far outboard edge of the deck. The upsized rig comes with upgraded sails, a larger overlapping jib and a handy stack pack and lazy jack system. It was also fitted with an optional bowsprit to keep the asymmetrical cruising spinnaker out of the way of the forestay.
The standard cruising headsail for the 382 is a 95 percent jib on a self tacking track, which, while handy for singlehanding, doesn’t offer the performance of a conventional jib set up. The jib sheets on our test boat were led back through clutches on the coaming to the Lewmar 40 main winches located just forward of the twin helm stations, and had adjustable jib cars with control lines led back to the cockpit.
Curiously, even though our test boat was fitted with the hardware for a double-ended German mainsheet system, and a traveller just forward of the companionway, it was set up with the mainsheet terminating on the clutch bank on the cabin top, which is also home to two Lewmar 40 winches, one on each side.
Cockpit and Deck Steering for the Dufour 382 Grand Large is provided by twin wheels located far to the aft corner on each side of the cockpit. This offers the driver excellent visibility forward to the sails, especially when sitting at the lower helm station. Our test boat had a compass and B&G chartplotter at each wheel, with engine controls located on the starboard side.
The wide spacing of the wheels allows clear access to the swing down transom, which is raised and lowered with a simple block and tackle system rather than hydraulics. In its lowered position, the transom opens up a large useable cockpit area and serves as a stable and functional swimdeck. Also on the transom is a compartment for a propane canister, and a liferaft storage locker that could double as storage for fenders or a crab trap.
The cockpit features two benches, each with a lazarette. Since our boat was the three cabin version, the lazarettes where rather shallow, but more than wide enough to be useful for deck-side storage. The cockpit is split by a folding leaf centre table and is a comfortable space both underway and at rest.
The Dufour has a tasteful, yet manageable amount of teak on deck, with teak floor and seating surfaces in the cockpit, teak handrails on the coachroof and teak toe rails. Moving forward, the molded non-skid feels grippy and there are adequate handholds.
The foredeck features a split pulpit that offers easy access to the sprit, and also allows the jib to move both inboard and outboard freely. The well-sized anchor locker was fitted with an electric windlass.
Interior Below deck, the Dufour 382 Grand Large feels open and bright, with light-coloured oak woodwork, ample handholds and plenty of windows, both overhead and at eye level. The most striking of these is a pair of large windows directly above the saloon’s double folding leaf table. These two windows act like a sunroof for the whole saloon and contribute immensely to the overall open feel of the interior.
The saloon features an L-shaped settee to starboard, which has a moveable seat that turns the L into an I and pulls out to a double bed. There is a fair amount of storage compartments in the saloon area, with cabinets above the settees and compartments below.
Forward of the saloon and through some unique double doors (which also add to the 382’s overall openness) lies the main stateroom. Here you will find a V-berth, a portlight and hanging locker on each side, and ample storage in drawers and compartments under the mattress.
Two quarterberths lie at the aft end of the boat, each nearly identical in features, except for an additional storage bin on the starboard side. Storage space in these nicely-sized berths is somewhat limited, with no stowage under the mattresses and small hanging lockers and cubbies, but it should be more than enough for local weekend cruising.
The well-equipped galley sits on the starboard side of the companionway, and features a front and top loading fridge, a fresh water footpump, two-burner cooktop, oven under the counter and a microwave. One clever feature here is a slatted cover for the sink, that serves as a breadboard that allows the crumbs to fall into the sink.
The head lies to the port side of the companionway and just aft of the small navigation table. The layout is functional and the sink is a useable size, but again it lacks in serious storage. The two-berth versions of the 382 feature the addition of a separate shower stall.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the dedicated wine cellar located beneath the floorboards at the foot of the companionway stairs, in addition to the bottle storage in the galley and saloon table. This is a feature shared with all Dufour Yachts, and is a classic example of this builder’s French sensibility.
Overall, the fit and finish of the Dufour 382’s interior is modern and solid, with no squeaks or groans, even in the bamboo floorboards—which is more than you can say about some production sailboats on the market. I would describe the 382’s interior as being more clean, correct and comfortable than avant-garde or overly exciting, but this is well in line with the brand’s no-nonsense performance and functionality.
Engine and Systems Our test boat was fitted with a 40-horsepower Volvo Penta, which is the larger engine of the two available options. This was more than enough power for the 382, and you could likely save a bit of cash by ordering the 30-horsepower engine, without giving up much in performance. The boat also featured a high output alternator, two-blade fixed prop and an optional heater.
Cruising out of False Creek we were making 5.5 knots at 1,800 rpm, and a comfortable and efficient cruising speed would be around 2,600 rpm and 7.2 knots. Engine noise was very reasonable and allowed for easy conversation both above deck and below, thanks to a well-insulated engine compartment.
Under Sail Once you raise the sails and turn off the engine, the Dufour 382 really starts to shine. Even though our sailing conditions were at the bottom range of what you’d typically sail in while cruising, at five to 10 knots of breeze, this boat is fun and rewarding to sail, both upwind and down.
Since our test boat was fitted with a cruising spinnaker and we were headed downwind, it was an easy decision to pop the kite, and it didn’t take long to rig up the control lines and sock. Sailing with the kite in six to seven knots of true wind speed at 130 to 140 degrees, we comfortably made 4.5 knots of boatspeed. Gybing was easy with our crew of three, and the spinnaker came down as easily as it went up.
Heading upwind, while cracked off a touch in five to six knots of wind, we made four to five knots of boatspeed. As the wind increased to 10 knots we hardened up to close-hauled and our boatspeed climbed to 5.5 to six knots—very respectable speeds for any cruising boat in the 35 to 45-foot range.
The helm had a powered up, positive feel at all points of sail, and the boat tracked nicely through the slight chop in English Bay. If I was out cruising the 382 in the Gulf Islands on a sunny summer day I wouldn’t hesitate to raise the sails in anything but the lightest of conditions.
Concluding Remarks For a person looking for a mid-sized cruiser who values sailing performance, stylish good looks and solid engineering over flash and ultra modern design, it would be hard to beat the Dufour 382 Grand Large. And with a sailaway price of $292,680 in Vancouver, it represents good value for a boat that will provide endless hours of sailing pleasure.
By Dale Miller
LOA 11.25 m 36’ 10”
LWL 9.90 m 32’ 6”
Beam 3.85 m 12’ 7”
Draft 1.90 m 6’ 4”
Light displ. 7,060 kg 15,564 lbs
Fuel 200 L 53 USG
Water 380 L 100 USG
Power Volvo Penta 40-hp
La Rochelle, France
Yacht Sales West