Great example of the popular and sporty Dufour 500GL. Benefitting from a taller rig, retractable bowsprit and a fantastic 3-cabins, 3-heads interior layout, M is good to go and well-priced to boot.
FURTHER BROKER’S COMMENTS:
Launched in 2015 to designs by Umberto Felci, M benefits from the taller ‘Grand Prix’ rig. Fitted out for private use and short-handed sailing her highlights include:- • 3 cabin ‘master layout’ version with three double cabins and three heads including master cabin forward with separate shower and heads compartments. • 2.30m sport keel • Taller rig option with matt black painted spars • Electric main halyard winch • Sprayhood and bimini • Retractable 24vDC bowthruster with dedicated battery bank and charger • Inverter • Watermaker • Solar panels on top of bimini • Elvstrom carbon technora laminate fully-battened mainsail and furling genoa with vertical battens • Gennaker with retractable bowsprit • Sprayhood & bimini • B&G electrics with twin plotters • Cockpit fridge • Sunbathing cushions • Tender & outboard
YACHTING PRESS REMARKS:
Forward there is a recessed anchor locker housing a Quick windlass and a pivoting anchor roller that supports a large Delta anchor. This keeps the hook out of sight (and away from the gennaker) until it’s time to deploy—which is done by lifting it out and over the stem. The target buyers for this boat are experienced sailors looking for a good turn of speed and respectable performance in club racing, so keeping the bow neat and tidy is a bonus.
The other end of the boat is equally interesting, thanks to the way Dufour has divided the cockpit into “maneuvering” and “comfort” zones. The forward section of the cockpit is dedicated to relaxation and includes two settees, one of which can be converted into a wide sun-pad or even a nifty sea berth. The drop-leaf table separating the settees has a 12V light attachment, a sink and tap with hot and cold fresh water, and an optional reefer. Hidden in the cockpit sole just aft of the hinged companionway doors are a number of clever halyard bins, so the entryway stays clutter-free, even when sailing.
Farther aft, the working part of the cockpit features twin helm stations, each with a multifunction display, and each within reach of the Lewmar primary and spinnaker winches. Beyond that there is a neat central “tower” near the transom that serves multiple purposes, thanks to some creative and clever engineering. First and foremost, it serves as an aft seat to help a guest or tactician stay clear of the helmsman. It also houses speakers and a freshwater shower, and lifts up to provide access to a machinery space below, which includes the generator and air conditioning/heating unit.
The interior is as well executed as the exterior, both in terms of finish and practicality. The basic floor plan offers a choice of three or four cabins and two or three ensuite heads. I expect most hulls will be fitted with the master cabin forward, with its split head to starboard and shower compartment to port. The island berth has drawer storage below and numerous hatches overhead for ventilation.
The real show-stopper belowdecks is the galley, which is split and runs athwartships just aft of the master cabin. To port is an Eno stove and Isotherm reefer, a built-in spice rack, drop-out cutlery bins and a built-in coffee maker that swings out to reveal tiny cubbies designed to hold prepackage tubs of coffee flavorings. To starboard are twin sinks and lots of countertop space. The great thing about this galley is that multiple people can assist in meal preparation without getting in each other’s way. If nothing else, I also like this lateral galley concept for its out-of-the-box thinking. The only real down side I can see is that you will have a long way to go when delivering a bowl of hot soup to the cockpit crew underway.
The saloon is enormous, with a U-shaped settee and convertible table to port and a straight settee to starboard at the end of which is a dedicated nav station that slides on rails and can face either forward or aft. Both the desk and the seat are hinged to provide a comfortable workstation when heeling on either tack. Two guest cabins, each with a head/shower, round out the aft end of the boat. The interior finish is Maobi veneer and solid wood. Headroom is generous throughout, maxing out at 6ft 7in in the saloon.
The walk-through at the dock was intriguing, but would she sail well? Indeed she does—with an abundance of panache, in fact. Although the GL500 is massive, it doesn’t feel that way underway. On the contrary, the boat was fairly nimble and easy on the helm, even in the very light winds we experienced during our test sail. In 8-knot gusts, we were able to push up to 6.1 knots of boat speed at a 60-degree apparent wind angle. At 45 degrees we made 5.8 knots. We were easily the largest boat sailing that day and, surprisingly, had the least trouble moving in the sputtering breeze.
Maybe Dufour didn’t literally break the mold with the GL500, but it certainly busted many of the constraints of old-world thinking with its “what if” approach. Dufour has echoed Apple’s old tag line, “Think Different,” and deserves credit for doing so. It’s also good to see that, despite all the focus on innovation, someone still remembered this big machine needed to sail and take care of its crew—something it does very well. Sail Magazine – Best Boats 2014
2015 Dufour 500 Grand Large – M – Asking Euro 385,000 EU VAT paid – full details here
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