Occasionally you come across a yacht that stands out from the crowd and the French Tofinou range has always been a prime example. To date the range has been limited to gorgeous day sailers with elegant traditional styling, matched with a modern underwater profile and efficient rudders and keels.
They have proved hugely popular, but the downside is minimal accommodation. The builders have therefore announced a new cruising range. The first model is a 10 metre (33ft) design intended to appeal to the kind of discerning buyers that already buy Tofinou models, while offering significantly more interior space.
The styling of the new Joubert Nivelt design makes it instantly recognisable as a Tofinou, despite the greater beam and higher freeboard compared to the company’s daysailer designs. This effect is underlined by the extensive use of wood trim on the coach roof and cockpit coamings, much of which is removable for maintenance and to protect against the ravages of winter weather, as well as the teak laid deck.
The accommodation offers significantly more space than the company’s existing models of a similar size, although they have made no attempt to risk spoiling the beauty of the boat’s lines by attempting to cram in too much accommodation. The largely open plan layout offers a double berth, a saloon table, small galley and decent heads compartment, plus a separate aft cabin for children or guests. Internal joinery is in teak, with plenty of white panelling and overhead hatches that give ample natural light.
Maximum headroom is comfortable for all but the tallest, although it feels lower than that of many contemporary yachts. Nevertheless, it’s an excellent compromise for this boat – any more would detract from the gorgeous sleek lines and add unnecessary weight.
On deck and performance
The elegant and timeless hull shape is combined with twin rudders and swing or fin keels that offer fast, easily controlled sailing, with exemplary handling. The deck layout is very neat and crisp, with control lines concealed wherever possible. This emphasises the wide side decks, clear foredeck and uncluttered cockpit layout. As standard a varnished mahogany tiller, which absolutely fits with the boat’s style, is provided, although a single large wheel is available as an option.
Among many neat touches are the pop-up MFD/chartplotter displays on each side deck. These are just ahead of where you sit when helming, giving all the info at your finger tips and within easy view, without compromising the boat’s clean lines in any way.
Two keel options are offered – either a conventional fin with a low centre of gravity bulb, or an electrically operated ballasted centerboard that swings up into a stub keel below the hull. The 7/8ths fractional rig looks easily tamed, while the twin rudders promise good control even in boisterous conditions. A high standard of equipment is offered as standard, including Harken mainsail luff track and Dyneema halyards. For ease of handling all sail controls are led to a pair of winches each side of the cockpit just ahead of the tiller, while the self-tacking jib is on an electric furler.
Stowage on deck is in two lazarettes that are properly organised with fender racks, rope storage and so on. Although this may sound like a small detail, it’s one many builders omit, even though the expense of factory fitting it on every boat that’s built is a small cost compared to retro fitting at a later date. There are also big bins for rope tails, neatly incorporated under the seats towards the aft end of the cockpit.
Equipment and options
High quality materials and fittings are used throughout, with many items provided as standard that are often in the options list. The standard specification includes plenty of teak trim and decking, although other deck finishes, including a selection of synthetic teak products, are also offered.
To complement the semi traditional styling the standard aluminium spars are painted in an ivory colour, while carbon spars are also offered as an option. There’s also a very neat optional cockpit table that lifts up from the cockpit sole.
Strengths and compromises
The Tofinou 10 offers a stunning level of finish and standard of fit out in a boat that will clearly be a lot of fun to sail, without being unduly onerous to maintain. There’s enough space of a couple to comfortably spend several days, or even weeks, with provision for occasional guests.
However, quality fittings, good design and attention to detail don’t come cheap, and this design is inevitably priced to reflect this. However, there’s a significant market for vessels where pride of ownership and the fun and satisfaction of sailing a boat that’s really well thought out are important factors.
Tofinou practically invented the concept of high-end daysailers in 1991. At the moment there are very few comparable cruising yachts to the Tofinou 10, although other manufacturers are starting to show an interest in this sector. Most notable perhaps is the Spirit 47, launched at the 2016 Southampton Boat Show (see Spirit 47CR First Look Video). Certainly if the concept of the Tofinou 10 proves to be as popular as the company’s earlier models, this part of the marked is likely to expand significantly.
For more information visit Tofinou.
Tofinou 10 specifications
Draught (fixed keel): 2.0m; (swing keel) 1.0-2.35m
Displacement (estimated) 4,200kg
Headsail area 22.5 sq m
Mainsail 33.7 sq m
Water tank 140 litres
Fuel tank 50 litres