Ruby Tuesday, or Ruby to her friends, is a "Dufour 40 Performance"
sailing yacht. She is hull number 266 and she was built during the summer of 2005
at the Dufour facility in La Rochelle.
We first saw the demonstrator in La Minimes marina on a Tuesday and one week later
we signed the order and wrote the cheque, also on a Tuesday. The following week
we visited the factory where Ruby stood outside. She had been built to meet
an order but the buyer had finance problems so cancelled his order. Normally the
lead time from order to delivery is 5 months but by acting quickly we secured 266
as ours. In fact Ruby's almost instant availability was one of the main reason for
our buying her. Three weeks later, yes it was again a Tuesday, we took possession
and commenced moving aboard.
OK so you have probably guessed where the name Tuesday comes from, Ruby is because
she is a 40th anniversary model; this is Dufour's 40th year making yachts.
Bottom, left to right; large cockpit locker, shower, heads and chart table. Then
comes the saloon proper and the forward cabin. Top, left to right; rear double cabin,
galley, saloon and forward double cabin. A large locker is in the bows section.
The cockpit is slightly unusual as it is divided into two parts by the very large
wheel. To the rear is where the sailing takes place and all sheets are handled there.
The helming area is covered by a bimini. Forward is the sociable area although
reefing of the main sail takes place there. We've had the optional foot brace fitted
as its spaciousness and width might have been a problem, anyway, we now find it
safe at sea. It is completed by a spray hood and an in-harbour cockpit table.
We kept a few "can't live without" things from Mithril,
the major items being,
- Hydrovane wind steering as we know it to be a trusty and delightfully quiet
performer on a long passage, and even though it needed new bracketry for the transom,
and so reduced the space on the stern platform, we are glad to have it with us.
- asymmetric spinnaker + pole as it would be costly to replace, it might
be a bit big though, we shall see,
- Seagull outboard because its a piece of history and I like it even if it
is smelly and oily,
- Tinker Tramp because it rows well and again would be expensive to replace,
- ICOM-706 HF radio. It had loads of use in the Baltic tho' not so much this
- Sea-Me Radar Target Enhancer because its nice to be clearly seen on other
radar screens such that their MARPA works on us.
- Link 10 battery condition indicator, it really does keep us in the picture
regarding charge in the batteries.
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- Fully battened main sail - it has better shape and doesn't flog, although
in actual fact the battens do seem a bit limp in the wrist.
- 3rd reef point in mainsail. Surprised the D40 has only 2 reefs. We've
sailed dozens of times in Mithril and needed that 3rd reef too many times to even
think of not having one on a new boat.
- Inner forestay - we have a Kevlar hank on Genoa from an earlier boat and
it fits really well so will be our twin head sail when down wind. We also
want a heavy weather jib.
- Twin anchor rollers - the single one looks really flimsy.
- 1000W anchor windlass, 20Kg Delta anchor and 50m of 10mm chain
- Extra service battery - now its 2 x 110Ah and we'll most likely add more
- Spinaker handling kit - We've retained the Cruising chute and it works well.
- Bimini over the helm and an in-harbour cockpit sun cover
- Cockpit table - because its the only sensible place to eat when the
- Foot brace - along the centre line of the rather wide cockpit.
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- Latex mattress - the standard mattress is crap, its seriously hard and didn't
- Harness points in cockpit - a single Wichard eye in the companionway is standard
but now we have 2 further eyes to the rear of the cockpit.
- Large shelf in forward part of the fore cabin. There is loads of space
here but its not very usable as standard.
- Door handles - these fell off daily so have been engineered to now stay together.
- Air circulation fans - one in the saloon and one above the forward berth,
hopefully helping to keep us cool.
- Split wash boards, the standard acrylic one is really heavy and unwieldy
so we've made a 2 piece one, the lower in wood and the upper in thinner acrylic.
The standard one now stows in the shower cubicle when we are on passage.
- Gas alarm and gas solenoid at the bottle - both give some additional degree
of safety. Interestingly, all UK Dufour's have the solenoid as standard.
- Complete cockpit cover/tent - essential winter kit but can only be fitted
- Extra nav instrumentation - over the companion way, because the existing
instruments can only be seen from the helm.
- Smaller light bulbs - as standard the saloon has 13 lights of 10W each, half
of these now have 5W bulbs
- Shower pump delay - now, after pushing the pump button, the pump stays on
for 30 seconds. It really was a pain having to hold a button in for 1 minute mid
Navigation station equiptment.
- Raymarine C70 chart plotter. (wish we had the bigger one)
- ST6000+ pilot computer.
- ICS NAV6 Navtex.
- Link 10 battery condition monitor.
- Navman 7200 DSC VHF.
- 14" TV / PC display.
G8PK ham radio station equipment.
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- ICOM IC-706 HF-VHF transceiver.
- ICOM AH-130E long wire ATU.
- Aerial is 16.5 metres of the yachts backstay, 30 degrees from vertical and bottom
- Computer Software, SeaTTY and MMTTY.
We found a strange option available to us when buying a vessel in France and it
meant us saving about 10% of the purchase price; quite simply we have lease-purchased
Ruby. This involved paying a maximum of 50% of the sale price and paying for the
rest via a lease agreement with a bank. We chose the minimum period of 3 years for
the lease and so we make 36 equal payments and then we own Ruby. Strangely 36 payments
add up to a little over 40%, and during those 3 years we will have kept the money
in a savings account in the UK, so overall then we expect to save about 10%. Oh
yes there is a down side, we now sail under a French flag and we are subject to
French bureaucracy. Can't say more as it might be treason. Return to
- Length over all - 12.32m
- Length water line - 10.75m
- Beam - 3.90m
- Displacement - 7800 Kg
- Ballast - 2815 Kg
- Draught - 1.65m
- Sail area - 82m²
- Engine - Volvo 2040 (39 hp)
- CE certification - category A
Problems experienced so far.
- Leaking hatches. All 4 opening side windows leak. And why? I think its due
to poor manufacturing consistency on the part of the hatch manufacturer. Each hatch
is held closed by four catches and from a total of 16 catches 6 leaked, luckily
the worst was in the heads where a little water is no problem. Each catch is assembled
using thread-lock to stop it undoing but half of the catches were only finger tight,
they either had no thread-lock applied or the threads were greasy when assembled
so became loose in use. Of the catches 2 had the O-rings missing, 12 had them so
badly crushed, well beyond the elastic limit of the rings, that they were largely
ineffective and the final 2 had the bolts so long (or the blind holes too
shallow) that they could not be tightened at all. Its quite sad that Dufour have
chosen a good hatch design but its manufacturer, for whatever reason, seems to be
delivering shoddy goods. They are now overhauled and, fingers crossed, will
- Life raft stowage. At first sight the stowage location
is superb, out of site, close to the centre of activities and seemingly easily deployed.
Looking at it a second time: its out of sight but out of mind, its close to the
activities but maybe 10 minutes from being deployable. All in all it is perhaps
a real oversight by Dufour.
If you read last years log you will know of the saga of choosing this 55 Kg monster
of a life raft. Ours is in a valise and sits in a large chamber designed for it.
The chamber is also the drain for the cockpit, so any debris; bread crumbs, biscuits,
saw dust, Sahara sand from thunder storms, etc etc all gets washed into this chamber.
Luckily Dufour has designed a 38mm drain to empty it, unluckily the drain is beneath
the life-raft and this happily sits over the drain and slowly filters any water.
Two things result; if it rains the chamber starts to fill so the life-raft sits
in cm's of dirty water, any cockpit debris remains in the chamber thus retaining
water and debris in a soggy mass. Additionally the drain sits about 1 cm above the
bottom surface of the chamber so at best 1 cm of water always remains. Ok so we've
fitted a 50mm grid to lift the raft above these problems but down there its always
dirty and damp and a breeding ground for mildew. So . . . . now to deployment.
Above the raft 2 things need to be removed; first the rear cockpit seat which forms
a drop down section to allow access to the rear bathing platform, and then the floor
beneath the helm position.
Maybe, originally, the 2 items did remove easily but as the design was finalised
and introduced into production little additional brackets, hinges, catches, bolts
and backstays all stole mm such that the thing is really difficult to access. Our
backstay needs a firm foot against it to move it away so allowing some chance of
removing the seat. WOW now I understand. If we are dismasted, and sinking
because of it, the backstay is most likely completely absent so the whole job might
take less than 5 minutes; that is if adrenalin creates sufficient strength for us
to lift the 55 Kg.
- Sail-drive anodes and prop anodes. It seems that
modern Volvo folding props have 3 anodes fitted in a ring around the prop. Well,
after 8 months ours were about 60% gone so I assumed they must be changed annually;
not an expense we'd planned for. Unfortunately they were not noticed until Ruby
was in the slings and about to be launched so I hastily concocted a plan to change
them under water some weeks hence. Then, 3 weeks later in Gijon, we discovered
a 1 hour lift out was only 100 Euros so ideal for a quick anodes change. Out came
Ruby, but then, what a surprise! The sail-drive anode, now in the form of 2 semi
circles which bolt together, was hanging loose. The top bolt was long gone and the
lower one on its last few threads so the pair of semi circles of zinc were vibrating
on the bolt causing it in turn to rattle in the alloy casing of the sail-drive.
I replaced the missing bolt and tightened the whole assembly, this time using locktite
on the bolts. Its disappointing that the problem occurred in the first place but
why were the loose bolts not spotted by Dufour or Cap-Atlantic and the sales team.
- Fresh water leak. Not simply a leak, we had 190 litres
in the bilges. Most of the fresh water installation uses Whale push-fit connectors
and they are very effective but, as with the pipe also, does not like to see a bending
load together with high water pressures and temperatures near boiling point.
Printed on the pipe is a spec saying 60 degrees C and 10 bars.
Hot water cylinder
Dufour therefore uses only straight pipes or shallow bends and resorts to elbow
fittings for true bends; with one exception, and it was on the most likely fitting
to fail. When running the engine the domestic hot water is heated to circa 90 degrees
C and this causes increased pressure within the water system particularly if you
have previously been at anchor and so the hot tank is quite cold. The fitting at
the outlet of the hot water tank sits in this near boiling water as does about 6"
of pipe, and the now heat-softened pipe expands and distorts due to the pressure
and bending force. Before long (actually giving it some credit, it did take 1 year)
the distorted pipe starts to leak as the barbs in the connector push through the,
now thin walled, plastic pipe. Trouble then is that the pipe, originally 15 mm o/d,
is now 17 mm and so a new fitting also requires new pipe, more trouble, the pipes
do not take apart as Whale fittings are not (I believe) removable.
I measured the pipe along its length until I found a 15 mm section, chopped off
the pipe, fitted an elbow and new outlet fitting. Daft thing was, a new Whale item
was 20 Euros and a brass compression fitting 10 Euros. I bought the brass one.
Other relevant comments;
a) the domestic water pump is one of the new really quiet variable speed pumps,
so a leak causes the pump to /only run slowly and so very quietly, thus we didn't
hear it running.
b) 200 litres puts water everywhere, a real mess and an auto bilge pump would have
saved the day.
c) the first time the bilges are flooded all of Dufour's manufacturing crap gets
swilled into the sump and the strum box / filter clogs totally. Its quite surprising
the volume of fibreglass and foam swarf created, I'd guess we got nearly a pint
of the wet soggy stuff.
- Roller furling system, the Furlex RS260 fitted to
Ruby is a stupidly flawed design. Fundamentally the headsail, in our case
a bi-radial genoa, needs to be able to be reefed by rolling if around a luff foil
and usually the foil is of constant section for the length of the sail's luff. This
gives rise to a poor reef as the sail gets baggier as it is rolled, but by and large
we have all come to accept this weakness in roller furling headsails. But the Furlex
is not even that good! The lower 300mm of the luff foil is about 3x the circumference
of the remained of the foil. This means the first 5 turns at the foot of the
sail are rolled away in great hands full giving a very tight foot, whereas, the
rest of the sail remains extremely baggy. Try going to windward in 25+ knots with
that sail. Its maybe OK for the racing guys who never reef, but for us cruisers
its crap. Good job we have an inner forestay. Presumably this applies to other marques
who also use the furlex. Do note, the more horizontal the foot of the sail is the
worse the effect.
- Rust patches on keel. I'm not pleased about these but
as yet they are small so I'll wait until next lift out.
Note Mar 07: Maybe they weren't rust patches because they have never appeared since
that first liftout.
- Autohelm failure. We have a Raymarine 6000+ autohelm
with a Lewmar steering system and Lewmar drive motor/gearbox. After a total
of 1300 miles of passage distance, most of which the 6000+ steered for us, the Lewmar
motor/gearbox combination ceased to work. The Raymarine agents here in Lagos
sent the lump back to Raymarine in Lisbon who promptly posted it to Lewmar in the
UK. It has been repaired and refitted but not tested at sea yet. This is pretty
poor performance for a unit which has yet to steer in anything above a F5 wind.
But I will admit that for most of the 1300 miles its performance was superb. Note
Mar 07: All working fine, poor initial reliability though.
We should have found the following and complained about them in La Rochelle where,
I'm sure the guys at Cap Atlantic would have fixed them, but we are only now finding
them and we have no wish to return to LR this year. So be warned, sort things
- Anchor chain should have been 50m, it is only 47m. I've just now found this
as I paint in 5m marks.
- Spinaker system has no pole up-haul, I have to use the staysail halyard. This means
a twin headsail cannot be poled out, and using an second headsail was the
reason we had the inner forestay fitted.
- All ropes at the mast are fed back to the cockpit, except the topping lift.
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