FIRST TEST

A 33ft yacht sport­ing a large cock­pit, twin helms, wet bar and grill, and down be­low she has nine berths – surely there must be some mis­take?

Yachting Monthly - - CONTENTS - Words & pic­tures Gra­ham Snook

Du­four 360. A large cock­pit, twin helms, a wet bar and grill and nine berths? Has this 33ft yacht got ev­ery­thing?

The Du­four Grand Large 360 is aimed squarely at the sum­mer cruiser; some­one who, with their fam­ily and friends, port hops along the coast from anchorage to anchorage or har­bour to har­bour. Af­ter all, there’s not much need for a wet bar and grill lo­cated on the bathing plat­form in the win­ter months. Take her to the West Coun­try or cruise north­ern France and re­lax in the cock­pit while din­ner siz­zles and the sun sets. The 360 of­fers the deck space to make this dream a re­al­ity – that’s not some­thing many 9.99m (32ft 9in) yachts can do.

The 360 is an im­prove­ment in many ar­eas on her pre­de­ces­sor, the 350, es­pe­cially around the helm, and is de­signed to be easy to sail and of­fer good ac­com­mo­da­tion filled with nat­u­ral light. Af­ter 54 years of build­ing yachts, Du­four has the knowl­edge and ex­pe­ri­ence to make the 360 a perfect cruis­ing yacht for UK and Euro­pean wa­ters. But did they?

PER­FOR­MANCE

The wind dur­ing the test in­creased from a re­lax­ing Force 4 to an en­er­getic Force 5. Un­der full sail, close hauled, the ap­par­ent wind was in the high teens so we tucked in one reef to the main­sail. Then, as it reached 20-25 knots, we rolled a reef into the genoa – short­en­ing sail was easy as all lines are led aft to the cock­pit. Bear­ing away past a beam reach, we were able to un­furl the genoa and keep her pow­ered up.

When over­pow­ered, she showed no ten­dency to round up and even with the rud­der stalled, she tracked in a straight line. Re­leas­ing the main­sheet brought her un­der the con­trol of the helm again.

There was a fair weight to the helm but given the con­di­tions, it was not sur­pris­ing. Even when she was pushed hard, the helm was still man­age­able. As the wind picked up, forestay sag be­came more no­tice­able. This would have af­fected her point­ing abil­ity but with­out a back­stay to ten­sion or the means or time to ad­just the rig, we made do. Reef­ing her at the right time paid off; she was a joy to helm and took all the chop the Solent could throw at her.

DECK LAY­OUT

The fold-down tran­som makes board­ing a breeze when you’re moored stern-to. It also ex­tends the cock­pit when an­chored; the wet bar and grill both open to­wards the stern and are used while stand­ing on this plat­form. Un­der the grill is the ded­i­cated lif­er­aft locker. This is the three­cabin ver­sion, so locker space in the cock­pit is re­duced. Worry not; the two-cabin ver­sion has an abun­dance of deck stowage and is a bet­ter lay­out all round, but more on that later. The cock­pit has a good fixed cock­pit ta­ble, al­though I would have liked to see rounded ends to the han­dles on it in­stead of the catch-all T-bars.

At the bows, in the moulded an­chor locker, the drop on the chain from the wind­lass is slightly short. The large deck win­dows have a gen­er­ous sur­round of non-slip to them. It was good to see the handrails come aft, past the for­ward end of the large pro­tec­tive spray­hood, keep­ing the no man’s land be­tween cock­pit and hand­holds to a min­i­mum.

Lines are led un­der the coachroof from the mast to Lew­mar 30ST winches that, like the rope clutches, are re­cessed into the coachroof deck level. Lew­mar 40 genoa winches con­trol the genoa. The low cock­pit coam­ings have com­fort­able rounded tops so they’re com­fort­able to sit on.

AT THE HELM

It’s best to helm sit­ting on the slightly raised side deck as space be­hind the helm is limited. The cen­tral unit that houses the grill comes for­ward a foot’s width and pro­vides good brac­ing. There is seat­ing on the lids that cover the grill and gas locker lids aft.

There’s no back-stay to get in the way when helm­ing and the hand­holds on the front of the pedestal make mov­ing around the helm eas­ier.

DE­SIGN & CON­STRUC­TION

The hull is a slight ex­ten­sion of the 350, solid hand-lam­i­nated GRP with isoph­thalic gel­coat and resin in the first layer of cloth. The hol­low in­ner grid re­in­force­ment is lam­i­nated in place. The deck is foam cored and Resin Trans­fer Moulded (RTM), us­ing both male and fe­male moulds to give a one-piece deck struc­ture that is fin­ished on the in­side and out. It gives a lovely fin­ish but it does mean that any through-deck bolts are vis­i­ble, hid­den only by plas­tic nut cov­ers.

RIG & SAILPLAN

With­out a back­stay, the 9/10ths frac­tional rig is fuss free, but if you find her forestay sag­ging away, there is lit­tle one can do to rec­tify the prob­lem while sail­ing.

A fixed bowsprit for an asym­met­ric spin­naker or Code 0 is an op­tion, as is the pos­si­bil­ity for her to be rigged with a German main­sheet sys­tem which gives con­trol of the main­sail to the helm to help you bear away if you find your­self over­pow­ered. The main­sheet is set on a bri­dle for­ward of the com­pan­ion­way and led for­ward along the boom be­fore com­ing aft. She has the op­tion of a self-tack­ing jib or a genoa.

AC­COM­MO­DA­TION

Be­low decks, the saloon is a light space thanks to over­head win­dows and hatches, as well as the long coach-roof win­dows. This boat has the oak Alpi in­te­rior. For those un­fa­mil­iar with Alpi, it’s a wood ve­neer made up from 2mm-thick strips bonded to­gether. On the Du­four, how­ever, the width of the strips in the Alpi varies from wide to nar­row and back to wide down the panel, which give a more re­al­is­tic grain ef­fect. In places though, like the lid inset for the ta­ble, the ‘grain’ doesn’t match up, which would have been nice. The ta­ble has the op­tion a semi-fixed leaf to port. It doesn’t fold down; in­stead, it lifts out to be at­tached level with the seat base. A fold-out panel from un­der the seat makes a roomy 1.09m (3 ft 7in) wide sin­gle berth or a cosy dou­ble. It might not be the eas­i­est method, but it works. The seat to star­board is 1.50m (4ft 11in) long un­til the chart ta­ble is low­ered and cushions added so that it matches the port seat at 1.92m (6ft 4in). With a lack of head­lin­ing, the in­te­rior is punc­tu­ated by the vis­i­ble cir­cles of stain­less-steel wash­ers used for all the through-deck fit­tings. These stand out against the clean white head­lin­ing, though it does make some main­te­nance jobs eas­ier.

There are lines of lock­ers out­board in the saloon. They have deep fid­dles but no shelves. Stowage is good for a boat aimed squarely at coastal cruis­ers and there are handy ar­eas like the drawer and cup­board

She was a joy to helm and took all the chop the Solent could throw at her

in the aft end of the saloon ta­ble as well, as the op­tional 11-bot­tle wine rack un­der the sole at the com­pan­ion­way.

The fore­cabin is through a pair of doors in the for­ward bulk­head. These can both be opened to in­crease the feel­ing of space. The fin­ish on this boat isn’t the ti­di­est I’ve seen and while it might be styling, there were large gaps around the for­ward end of the join­ery cov­er­ing of the an­chor locker.

There’s stowage un­der the bunk, and a sep­a­rate aft cush­ion and hinged bunk board make it re­ally easy to ac­cess. For­ward of the stowage is the wa­ter tank.

Light­ing is min­i­mal ex­cept in the saloon where there are LED strip lights un­der the lock­ers un­der the deck. The over­head lights are in­di­vid­u­ally switched. There is one switch at the switch panel to turn all the lights off; a cabin switch would have been nicer.

The heads doesn’t have a sep­a­rate shower com­part­ment. It does, how­ever, have a sep­a­rate show­er­head and con­trols. The mir­ror on this boat, like most mod­ern Du­fours, has a slide bolt to ad­just the an­gle of the mir­ror to see your­self, some­thing many other man­u­fac­tur­ers could learn from. The com­part­ment is a fair size and with the sin­gle aft cabin ver­sion, it gets even bigger.

Now to the aft cab­ins; the port cabin is a re­ally good space, with plenty of room over the bunk. Al­though this re­duces at the far end, it only be­comes an is­sue if you’re 2.0m (6ft 7in) tall and sleep ar­row straight. On a 34-footer, hav­ing three cab­ins clearly means there will be com­pro­mises. The star­board aft cabin didn’t work so well – fine for chil­dren or shorter adults but it didn’t work as a full-sized berth. There’s good space over the first 1.45m (4ft 9in) of the berth but at the feet end, the cock­pit locker in­trudes into the space above the bunk. Al­though it leaves 52cm (1ft 9in) ini­tially, the fi­nal half-me­tre has just 21cm (8in) clear­ance. For me, at 5ft 10in tall, this didn’t leave quite enough space to get my feet in with­out twist­ing them, and risked catch­ing my shins. My pref­er­ence would be to do with­out this cabin.

The two-cabin lay­out, by con­trast, gives you one dou­ble cabin aft, a vast cock­pit locker, a bigger heads

The L-shaped gal­ley has some re­ally neat stowage ideas and for its size, works well

and a for­ward-fac­ing chart ta­ble, which is win, win, win as far as life on board goes. Both aft­cabin berths, at 1.42m (4ft 8in), are a good width.

CHART TA­BLE

The boat on show at Boot Düs­sel­dorf had a for­ward-fac­ing chart ta­ble with a very neat, smaller lap­top-sized lid inset into the larger stan­dard-sized one that can be lifted up in­de­pen­dently. This boat, be­cause of the twin aft-cabin lay­out, had the smaller aft-fac­ing chart ta­ble. Out­board is a leather-cov­ered han­dle, to raise and lower the ta­ble and ex­tend the saloon seat­ing. It’s not the deep­est or big­gest chart ta­ble but it’s nice to have one. It’s par­ti­tioned in­side; that’s fine, ex­cept the di­vider blocks the fin­ger hole in the lid and trapped my fin­ger as I closed it.

GAL­LEY

The L-shaped gal­ley has some re­ally smart uses of space. The sink can be used ei­ther fac­ing for­ward or out­board. There’s stowage for the stove cover in a slot against the aft bulk­head and for­ward of the stove is a deep locker that is great for chop­ping boards, trays and place­mats. Un­der the deck are lock­ers with pegged stowage. There’s pot stowage un­der the stove. The fridge is top open­ing and has lots of handy com­part­ments and di­viders. The cut­lery drawer is in the aft end of the saloon ta­ble.

The win­dow styling min­imises any view for the cook as the wide mul­lions block most of the gal­ley’s win­dows, but there is an open­ing port light to pro­vide ven­ti­la­tion. Strangely though, there’s no over­head light­ing, only two lights out­board, so find­ing things in the fridge and wash­ing up at night could be a bit hit and miss.

MAIN­TE­NANCE

Thank­fully, Du­four has done away with the shoe­horn-the-en­gine-in ap­proach I found on its 310, and even for the larger 29hp op­tion, there’s space to ac­cess the fil­ters on the en­gine. The pri­mary fuel fil­ter, how­ever, is only fully ac­ces­si­ble by un­screw­ing pan­els next to the star­board aft berth.

There is loads of space at the for­ward end of the en­gine com­part­ment, so it’s a shame Du­four didn’t use this for the pri­mary fuel fil­ter.

Coachroof winches are re­cessed in the deck. The cock­pit is com­fort­able, as are rounded coam­ings

Space at the helm is a bit limited but it’s com­fort­able to helm while sit­ting on the side deck

The chart ta­ble slides down. A larger fixed for­ward-fac­ing ta­ble is also an op­tion

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