Tested: Tofinou 8

One of the new generation of small boats coming out of Europe, aboard which aesthetics are as important as performance, the Tofinou 8 is also packed with interesting features that allow you to do a lot more than just go for a spin around the harbor.
Author:
Publish date:
Tofinou-8-Opener

Form meets function and then some in this gorgeous design

One of the new generation of small boats coming out of Europe, aboard which aesthetics are as important as performance, the Tofinou 8 is also packed with interesting features that allow you to do a lot more than just go for a spin around the harbor. Like it’s big brother, the Tofinou 9.5, the Joubert and Nivelt-designed also features a look that is modern, without being overly edgy: think a pocket Wally design, with a little bit of old-fashioned New England-style elegance.

First and foremost, he boat is equipped with a high-aspect, cast-iron swing keel that is deployed and retrieved via cleverly engineered hydraulics. (An electrical keel-control system is available as an option.) From a performance standpoint, the heavy cast-iron fin makes the boat feel that much more secure under sail, ensuring your nonsailing friends will enjoy themselves, even when the wind picks up. It also means not only being able to explore thin water, but being able to run the boat up on shore for a little beach combing. A 5ft 6in fixed keel with in impressive-looking ballast bulb, is also available for those interested in maximizing performance.

 The ornate bow of the Tofinou 8

The ornate bow of the Tofinou 8

Topside, the expansive, self-draining cockpit and foredeck are absolutely awash in teak, with mahogany coamings and cabin sides on the cuddy adding yet more elegance. (The mahogany is easily removable for maintenance.) There is a dedicated helm station aft, with sail controls led to a pair of winches and batteries of clutches mounted on a kind of molded in partition. The mainsheet runs from the end of the boom to traveler, which arches over the tiller and separates the cockpit to a small aft deck than includes storage underneath. Access to the small auxiliary is through the cabin sole, and excellent for a boat this size—a nice touch.

The top of the cuddy is hinged and includes a pair of gas struts to hold it up, opening up access via the companionway to a small, but cozy cabin space. Among the features there are a compact V-berth forward, a pair of settee benches and room for a chemical toilet. Not a bad place to get in out of the rain.

The mast and boom on the 7/8 rig are aluminum; the retractable bowsprit is carbon (A carbon mast is also available as an option). The hull and cored deck are hand-laid E-glass, with a series of frames and stringers providing additional stiffness in the hull. Workmanship throughout is nothing less than spectacular. The Tofinou 8 is as much a work of art as it is a sailboat.

Tofinou-8-looking-aft

Under sail, the Tofinou 8 is surprisingly nimble given the somewhat stubby rudder required by its pivoting keel. Short tacking to windward, I had to be careful not to over-steer as we came about in flat seas and about 10 knots of true wind—logging 5-plus knots at a 40 degree apparent wind angle. Deploying the “prodder” and hoisting the kite, our speed immediately jumped to 7-8 knots. Even more important than our boatspeed, though, was the feel of the boat is rushed through the water. Even in the puffs, the helm and heel angle felt comfortingly predictable. No unexpected rounding up aboard the Tofinou 8. At all times he behavior was as refined, elegant and satisfying as her looks. By any standard, the Tofinou8 is quite a boat!

 View from the cockpit looking forward

View from the cockpit looking forward

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA 26ft 2in

LWL 22ft 11in

BEAM 8ft 3in

DRAFT 2ft 10in (keel up); 6ft 2in (keel down)

DISPLACEMENT 4,078lb

BALLAST 1,545lb

SAIL AREA 377 ft²

FUEL/WATER (GAL) 6/12

ENGINE 9hp Yanmar

ELECTRICAL 110AH

DESIGNER Joubert/Nivelt

BUILDER Latitude 46, Ile de Re, France, classic-boats.com

U.S. AGENT R.B. Rodgers Yacht Sales, Noank, CT, rodgersyachtsales.com

BALLAST RATIO 38

SAIL AREA-DISPLACEMENT RATIO 24

DISPLACEMENT-LENGTH RATIO 152

Related

IMG_0173

Electronic “Flares” for Cruisers

The United States Coast Guard requires that all boats operating in coastal waters or on the high seas carry a selection of visual distress signals. Almost invariably, such signals include the pyrotechnic type, either handheld or fired from a flare pistol, but surely there are ...read more

M2-HOOK-TOP-AND-CHAIN-1

Gear: M2 Chain Hook from Mantus

Stay Hooked Chain hooks on anchor snubber lines tend to fall off when you least want them to. Not so this latest example from Mantus. The M2 Chain Hook is secured to the chain by a simple elastic strap, so it won’t come off when the snubber loosens. Made from corrosion-resistant ...read more

shutterstock_349918991

Successful Surf Landings with Wheels

“Ready to take the dink ashore?” Never had those words invoked as much anxiety as when my husband, Jeff, and I first moved to the Pacific Coast. Why? Because we had exactly zero experience with dinghy surf landings, and the possibility of being flipped upside down along with our ...read more

Sail2010_597

How to: Find Good Values on Charter Vacations

So, you want to find a great deal on your next charter vacation? Sure, you can scour the internet, hope for Black Friday deals or ask friends. But an even better way to find good prices on charter boats is to go to a boat show. Not only do charter companies like The Moorings, ...read more

leadphoto

Know How: Dinghy Modification

The rigmarole of stretching a cover over a dinghy in choppy water prior to hoisting it on davits can become a very wet business if you’re not careful. Leaning right over either end, trying to stretch a cover over the bow and stern pods can quite easily result in a head-first dip ...read more

25980

Catnapped Aboard a Racing Multihull

It was after midnight when I realized my daysail with Tony Bullimore aboard his giant record-breaking catamaran, Team Legato, was not going to plan. The big cat was en route for a December dash from England across the Bay of Biscay to Barcelona and the start of a drag race ...read more