SUB­JECT To Change

Cruising World - - Boats & Gear - BY MARK PILLS­BURY

Ver­sa­tile by de­sign, the DU­FOUR 520

Af­ter spend­ing more than an hour in­spect­ing the new Du­four 520 dur­ing the U.S. Sail­boat Show in An­napo­lis, Mary­land, last fall and then sail­ing the boat in a de­cent breeze in the days fol­low­ing, our Boat of the Year judges named the queen of the com­pany’s Grand Large line Best Full-size Cruiser 50 to 54 feet.

They might just as eas­ily have named the Um­berto Felci-de­signed French pro­duc­tion-built sail­boat Best Value Among Peers or Most Ver­sa­tile, had those cat­e­gories been an op­tion. It was a boat that quickly rose to the top as our in­de­pen­dent team of ex­perts re­viewed their notes and picked this year’s fleet of win­ners.

“This one hits it for me in this class,” said Ed Sher­man, cit­ing the boat’s sail­ing melds com­fort at an­chor with per­for­mance at sea. per­for­mance — 5.5 to 6 knots in 9 to 11 knots of wind — the er­gonomics of the cock­pit, and the lay­out be­low, where the gal­ley is lo­cated athwartships at the main bulk­head, leav­ing the beami­est part of the sa­loon ded­i­cated to liv­ing and en­ter­tain­ing space.

His col­league Tim Mur­phy quickly agreed, point­ing out the boat’s sev­eral “Trans­former-like” at­tributes that are eas­ily tog­gled be­tween sail­ing and liv­ing modes. Start­ing top­side aft, an enor­mous, two-level swim plat­form folds up when on the move to se­cure the cock­pit and pro­vide seat­ing for the helms­man at either of the twin wheels. At an­chor, with the plat­form down, it gives the chef a place to stand when us­ing the out­door sink and grill. A drawer-style fridge un­der the drop-leaf teak cock­pit ta­ble com­pletes the out­door gal­ley. For­ward of the wheels, the crew can re­lax against the cock­pit coam­ings on bench seats while un­der­way; at an­chor, pan­els fold up to turn those seats into sun lounges or out­door bunks for sleep­ing un­der the stars.

Down be­low, to star­board, at the foot of the com­pan­ion­way stairs, a desk to port slides ahead to be­come a for­ward-fac­ing nav sta­tion while un­der­way. It can also be tilted, de­pend­ing on the tack you’re on. When in port, the desk can be pushed aft and turned into an end ta­ble, and a fill-in cush­ion cre­ates a full-length set­tee or ex­tra sea berth.

Op­po­site is a din­ing ta­ble that, with the flip of a switch, can be low­ered for cock­tails or cof­fee, raised for din­ing or folded open to feed the whole crew. Out­board of it, there’s a se­cond full-length set­tee; amid­ships and aft, seats lock into the floor, and their backs pro­vide much-ap­pre­ci­ated hand­holds when un­der­way.

Nu­mer­ous over­head hatches let in light and air, and ports in the hull let you en­joy the view when seated be­low. Own­ers can choose be­tween a darker Moabi in­te­rior wood or light oak, which was used on

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