50 Years in La Rochelle


The polyester revolution

In 1957, young engineer Michel Dufour discovers this new material: polyester. While he is sailing regatta, he’s also studying sailboats, rules gauge and hydrodynamic. From here was born the idea of building a polyester boat. In 1964, Michel Dufour starts by designing a transportable sailboat, "The Sylph". To build it, he takes all the financial risk, rent a hangar and launch the "Sylph" under the name of his new company « Le Stratifié industriel ».


Into industrial processes

The pioneering engineer has a promising backlog of twenty units in 1965 and sixty the following year. The number of orders literally explodes with the new model "Arpège". It revolutionizes the yacht concept and requires the multiplication of workshops. A Design office is created to create the "Safari" in 1970 and the production became industrialized to produce, by 1971, more than 300 boats a year under the new entity Dufour SA which has moved in a modern factory of 15,000 m² in Périgny, near La Rochelle.


In search of performance

In 1971, the Dufour Sortilege is launched. The brand is soaring and Michel Dufour takes advantage of the opening of the Port des Minimes in la Rochelle to found a new boatshow: Le Grand Pavois, gathering numerous manufacturers of the nautical sector. On all fronts, Michel Dufour extends export sales network throughout Europe and creates subsidiaries in Italy and the United States. This earned him to win the Oscar of Export in 1973 and become the European leader. It was there that the famous Dufour 35, 27, 33, 34, 1300, 29, 31, 2800, et 1800 came alive.


Brand development towards luxury

In the early 1980s, it’s the release of Dufour T7, 3800, 4800 and D28. Then, Dufour Yachts is looking for brand building. The yard decides to follow a cobranding strategy and create an exclusive partnership with the brand Lacoste. The Dufour 42 Lacoste is born. Built in limited edition of 12 units, this unique sailboat still shines with its timeless elegance. To set the bar even higher Dufour Yachts launches the new range Dufour Prestige in 1988. At the forefront of the global nautical industry, the Dufour Prestige sailboats are exclusive, with luxurious and modern interiors.


New concept: ready-to-sail boats

In 1994, Dufour Yachts renews itself and gets a new fresh look by designing a brand new range: the Dufour Classic. First entirely-equipped sailboats, these models constitute a major shift in the nautical sector. A shape with a very elegant classicism, an interior with unparalleled comfort and smart facilities, everything has been designed to make cruising aboard the Dufour Classic the most enjoyable to be.


New area: dufour performance and grand large with Umberto Felci

The 2000s mark the beginning of the collaboration between Dufour Yachts design office and the renowned architect Umberto FELCI. The fruit of this coworking are two brand new ranges: the Dufour Performance in 2002 and the Grand Large in 2003. If the Dufour Performance models have racing shape, dedicated to regatta, the Dufour Grand Large models are devoted to cruising. Constantly renewed since then, these ranges fill different needs for everyone’s delight.