If you are looking for more space on board, a large-sized monohull might be the right option for you. The Dufour Catamarans 48 (14.70 x 7.96 m) in particular. Despite its French name, the boat was developed by an all-Italian design team and built in Forlì
Dufour Catamarans 48 – Test
Certainly an excellent debut in the world of catamarans for Dufour (and a longseller, considering that the boat has been in production for over five years). The shipyard entrusted the design to Umberto Felci who, together with Lorenzo Giovannozzi, has created an elegant, innovative boat with great is attention to detail. Designed as a cruising catamaran, Dufour Catamarans is however a highly versatile boat.
In fact, this catamaran is designed to serve a dual purpose: to satisfy both the charter market, which is the primary destination, but also the private market by giving it the possibility of being configured in several interior layouts.
I think the operation has been a great success for Felci Yachts. We tested it in Tuscany, at Cala de Medici, at Marina Yacht Sales, a Dufour Catamarans dealer for Italy and France.
Video – On board the Dufour Catamarans 48
Hull and Deck
The first thing that stands out from the dock is the clean, elegant line of the hull. The inverted bows also stand out, seeming only to tell the wave to come forward without fear. The fenestration on the side is well defined and beautiful to look at, not intrusive even though it breaks up the line of the hull.
Volumes are decisive on a catamaran but they must be harmoniously integrated into the naval architecture or else lose seaworthiness. Thus the considerable but not exaggerated dimensions of the two stern platforms say a lot about the Cat’s seaworthiness as a favourite place for bathing and relaxing with one’s feet in the water.
The system for lowering and hoisting the tender is designed to be manoeuvred by one person. Comfortable although perhaps a little too massive, it ensures weights of up to 450 kg, just like the version with the hydraulic stern platform.
The cockpit gives the idea, as is more and more often the case, of being an extension of the Cat’s dinette. Comfortable seating and ample space promise the owner and his guests wonderful days at sea spent in comfort while sailing and relaxing at anchor. The fixed barbecue in the stern is a solution that has more or less been adopted by all shipyards since then!
The outdoor table seats up to eight people comfortably. The seats are also lockers and run on three sides of the table, leaving the area towards the stern free to facilitate manoeuvring. Despite the numerous accessories, freedom of movement is always ensured thanks to the eight-metre width of the 48. You almost want to run… but don’t!
The hull and deck are made of fibreglass. Structural bulkheads make staying inside the cabins pleasant to the ear. Exploration continues towards the bow along wide walkways well protected by the bulwark to the first step in which a light porthole for the hull below is well shaped.
At the bow are two double sunbathing areas integrated into the hull and the trampolines, a characteristic and emotional trait of the Cat. Felci Yachts has decided to lower and bring forward the deckhouse so as to have more space for the Fly but also in the interior and have a more attractive line.
Returning to the stern there are two beautiful access ladders on both sides that lead to the Flybridge, which is very spacious and is the jewel in the crown of this design that makes the roofs an important living area. The Fly is the ideal place to enjoy a nice evening with friends thanks to the seating that runs around the perimeter and the adjustable table, but above all thanks to the presence of a fridge. The bimini is appropriate for the space underneath and can be ordered in either fabric or rigid. Just beyond what is to all intents and purposes a second cockpit is a large sunbathing area.
Dufour Catamarans 48 – Rigging
The helm station is on the Fly and this certainly offers an advantage, as it allows the entire boat to be kept under control; very important when the skipper brings an inexperienced crew.
The helm station offers all the instruments one could wish for. The engine throttles are very comfortable and you can manoeuvre the boat with complete peace of mind. Track located outside the rear seats of the fly. Two winches behind the helmsman and two electric ones beside the console. Stoppers block the lines but when sailing you have to be organised as with open sails it gets a bit messy and you feel the lack of a pocket for the lines.
Shaft set back to optimally balance the weight. The mainsail is about 72 square metres and the boom can be tilted for safety reasons with guests on board. The jib on a self-tacking trolley increases ease of steering. The boom can be requested and used to hoist Gennaker or Code Zero.
CFD analysis or rather, numerical fluid dynamic analysis. This test simulates water flowing along the hull; we can thus understand what the hydrodynamic qualities are and how they can be improved. The main effort that Studio Felci and Dufour Yacht had to cope with was certainly the high level of product engineering in order to be able to mass produce it. Saildrive for the two inboards and hull lines give this Cat good performance both under sail and motor.
Dufour Catamarans 48 Sea Trial
This catamaran is primarily aimed at the charter market and the design is heavily influenced by elegance and comfort. Despite this, the Cat maintains a good performance range compared to similar catamarans.
Our test day began with… unmooring, a delicate operation that is often carried out by two people on charters, if not just one. In this case, if you want to do it alone, you have to be really adept at manoeuvring to let go of the rear moorings and the topsails. Better in two, one at the unmooring and the other at the helm. We leave the Cala De’ Medici Marina and immediately find the conditions typical of the Mediterranean Sea in summer… zero wind and flat sea. Not too bad. We test the engines! The hull is well-designed and fast, which gets us up to a speed of around 8.5 knots at about 2000 rpm. Consumption is average.
Excellent considering the cost of fuel at the time of writing. Finally, after a couple of hours, we find about ten knots waiting for us. We open the mainsail and jib and go to the edge of the wide windward mark and almost to the side to test both speed and hull on the waves. The Cat does not slam and passes with ease over the wave, reaching the not inconsiderable speed of 6.5 knots. For a cat designed for cruising, the performance is good and the boat is responsive to the controls. We tack and set off to the side but the wind drops suddenly even though the results in very light winds remain above average. Our test for today ends here.
Flexible and customizable, the Dufour Catamarans 48 can be requested in 3 layouts: 3 cabins and 3 toilets in which one hull is completely dedicated to the owner, 4 cabins and 5 cabins with a crew cabin with bathroom and external access.
Our test is on the 5-cabin. The idea I got on board was of a boat with several spaces interconnected in an intelligent and functional way. The feeling is that despite the twelve people on board, privacy is also guaranteed by the staggered hull access stairs, one to port and two to starboard. The dinette is illuminated thanks to an elegant blacked-out window that allows natural light to do its work.
The C-shaped kitchen with peninsula is comparable to that of a house, equipped with oven, microwave, stove, lots of storage space and a dishwasher. Also in the dinette and in a position in front of the glass entrance doors we find the chart table to which some instruments can be returned. To the side is the control panel where we can control utilities and gather information about the boat. In the cabins we find windows in the broadside that, like those in the dinette, allow light to enter naturally.
The cabins are air-conditioned and have an enviable double bed. Well-designed spaces allow you to unpack and never think about it again. Private bathroom with shower and lockers for stowing necessities. Crew cabin finally not so small and cramped! Last but not least, a sail locker in the port hull accessible from the outside.
Dufour Catamarans 48 – Our impressions
The Dufour Cat 48 is an unusual cruiser in terms of both customisation possibilities and living space. You sail in a cosy environment, designed to be home for a week or all year round. I really appreciated the space and the technical solutions. Felci and Dufour have done a lot and for a pathfinder I would say that the experiment is more than successful.
Fabio S. Portesan
Dufour Catamarans 48 – technical specs
LOA: 14.70 m
LH: 14.20 m
Max Beam.: 7.96 m
Displacement: 14,955 kg
Keel Draft: 1.30 m
Mainsail: 72 m2
Jib: 48 m2
Gennaker: 110 m2
Engine: 2x50HP or 2x0HP
Fresh Water: 700 L
Fuel: 900 L
Designer: Felci Yachts
Intrio Design: Felci Yachts
Construction: J.J.L. Catamarans