Kimberley Wilmot tests the new Dufour 310

The 310 we were testing had a small, sporty feel to her. She is set up for short-handed sailing and would be a comfortable boat for any club race.

When you first see the 310, she looks like a comfortable racing boat, a sporty version of a Dufour. This is enhanced with the minimal teak decking, making it easy to clean at the end of a race. But there is the all important swim platform which can be raised when racing, this is a staple for any boat that may do some cruising.

The twin wheels make the cockpit easily accessible; their high position ensures the helmsman has good vision from all angles.

The cabin top is high allowing for easy reach of handholds – and more headroom down below. It is clean with just five ropes leading from the mast back to the port companionway winch.

There are two options for the headsail setup – a self-tacking jib or a large genoa. With the self-tacker you won’t need winches on the coamings, but the helm won’t be able to reach the sheets. There is a benefit to both set-ups but it all comes down to what the sailor prefers.

Interior

Heading down below there are only three steps – this is great but makes the engine room a bit cramped. While on deck is minimal, down below has all the signs of being a luxurious Grand Large.

The galley is L-shaped and positioned to port with the navigation table and head off to starboard. And at the bottom of the steps is the hidden wine rack; just make sure you remove the wine before racing. The lounge area takes up the rest of the main cabin and could easily seat six, four with both sides of the table raised.

Ahead of the lounge suite is, once again, double-doors into the forward berth – to me double-doors screams luxury, adding to the Grand Large feel. The bed is surrounded with shelving and cupboards either side of the doors. At the back of the boat is another large double berth.

Performance

As I said, this boat is a good club racer. Matt Hayes from Performance Cruising summed it up saying, “I see this as a perfect entry level boat, easy to learn to sail, but also quite speedy if you want to race.”

With three crew on board, we handled the boat very easily in 16knots. It was very nimble in the water. The rudders were quite small for this size of yacht – without being a sports boat. It was a little stiff to steer but this may be because the boat is brand new or maybe because of the twin wheel set up.

I thought this boat was great for your afternoon race around the harbour or bay. The 310 is a great boat to introduce your friends to the sport, without overwhelming them.

Dufour have always designed beautiful boats that are able to perform when optimised and these two are no different. Whether you are a keen club-racer or a cruiser who likes to race every so often, the brand is sure to have a boat for you.

– Kimberley Wilmot

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