The Dufour 29 Sailboat
Specs & key Performance Indicators

The Dufour 29 is a robust cruising sailboat designed by Michel Dufour, a prominent French yacht designer. Manufactured by Dufour Yachts, the boat first entered production in the early 1970s at the company's facilities located in La Rochelle, France.

A Dufour 29 sailboat launches the spinnakerA Dufour 29 sailing slowly in very light winds under her spinnaker

Published Specification for the Dufour 29

  • Underwater Configuration:  Fin with skeg-hung rudder
  • Hull Material:  GRP (fibreglass)
  • Length Overall: 29' 4" / 8.94m
  • Waterline Length: 25' 1" / 7.64m
  • Beam: 9' 8" / 2.95m
  • Draft: 5' 3" / 1.60m
  • Rig Type: Masthead Sloop
  • Displacement: 7,250lb / 3,289kg
  • Designer: Michel Dufour
  • Builder: Dufour (France)
  • Year First Built: 1975
  • Year Last Built: 1984
  • Owners Association: Dufour Owners Association

The Dufour 29 has a traditional layout with two separate cabins and a saloon. The forward cabin has a V-berth that can sleep two people, with storage lockers underneath and shelves on both sides. The aft cabin has a double berth that can sleep two people, with storage lockers underneath and shelves on both sides.

Published Design Ratios for the Dufour 29

  • Sail Area/Displacement Ratio (15.6): This ratio of 15.6 suggests that the Dufour 29 is slightly underpowered. It falls just below the threshold for reasonably good performance, indicative of a boat that might not have the most dynamic acceleration or light wind performance. It suggests a conservative sail plan relative to the boat’s weight, aiming for easy handling rather than high speed.
  • Ballast/Displacement Ratio (36.5): This ratio is slightly below 40, pointing towards a boat that is less stiff or powerful against the wind compared to boats with a higher ratio. Stability is moderate, adequate for general cruising but not exceptionally high for extreme weather or racing scenarios. This ratio also doesn't account for the distribution of ballast, which can significantly affect stability and performance.
  • Displacement/Length Ratio (205): The Dufour 29 has a moderate displacement as indicated by a D/L ratio of 205. This means the boat is neither excessively heavy nor particularly light, striking a balance that supports both respectable cruising speed and comfort. It will not be as quick to respond or as easy to power as a lighter boat but offers better seaworthiness and comfort than ultra-light models.
  • Comfort Ratio (20.7): Situated at the lower end of the moderate stability spectrum (20-30), the comfort ratio of 20.7 suggests that the Dufour 29 should exhibit motion characteristics typical of coastal cruisers. It is likely more comfortable than a racing boat, though not as steady as heavier, deep-sea cruising vessels. The motion on board will be reasonable in typical cruising conditions but might become uncomfortable in harsher sea states.
  • Capsize Screening Formula (2.0): A formula score of 2.0 implies that the Dufour 29 is on the threshold of suitability for ocean passages, indicating average stability in terms of resistance to capsizing. It suggests cautious capability for more challenging waters but is not specifically oriented towards extensive bluewater cruising.

The provided ratios offer a theoretical glimpse into the boat's nature, but they have limitations. The Ballast/Displacement Ratio, for example, doesn't account for ballast placement which can significantly influence actual stability. Ted Brewer's Comfort Ratio tends to favor traditional heavy displacement designs, and modern yachts with different design attributes might not score as well despite potential ocean-going capabilities.

These ratios should therefore be considered as part of a broader evaluation, including actual sea trials and reviews, to better understand the Dufour 29's performance and suitability for specific sailing conditions.

The above text was drafted by using GPT-4 (OpenAI’s large-scale language-generation model) as a research assistant to develop source material; we believe it to be accurate to the best of our knowledge.

Other sailboats in the Dufour range include:

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