Surfing down a short wave, we’re suddenly doing over 9 knots toward the muddy shallows off La Rochelle in western France. As I gaze down the long, gleaming curves that characterize the lines of the new Tofinou 10, gripping the lifelines for dear life, it’s suddenly plain why people will part with nearly half a million dollars to own her. This boat not only turns heads with her looks, she is also seriously good fun.
Designers Joubert-Nivelt have stuck to the refined look found across all seven of the boats in the Tofinou line. Being a dayboat-cum-weekender, the Tofinou 10 doesn’t need great volume below, and the result is a lithe, fast hull with sleek, classic lines and a large, open cockpit. Her low coachroof sweeps out of the teak deck to create a blend of deeply-varnished, curved mahogany, elegant gray fiberglass and flush hatches. This pattern is repeated in the short cockpit coaming, which gives way to teak side decking where the helmsman can perch on a beat.
Of course, it takes many layers of varnish to achieve this finish, and it is the mark of the yard’s attention to detail that the exterior wooden panels can be removed for refinishing. If you buy a boat that looks like this, you want to ensure she keeps her looks.
Beyond that, the Tofinou may have classic lines, but she is bang up-to-date technically, with a hull that is vacuum-infused and a range of keel options, including a 7ft 8in deep electrically operated swing keel.
My test boat—hull #2—was also highly specced, with a carbon mast and a Park Avenue boom molded specially for the Tofinou 10 by Axxon. This carbon option doesn’t come cheap, but it packs a punch aesthetically and makes it fantastically easy to drop the main.
In blustery, sunny conditions we beat up and down the alluvial waters of the Pertuis Breton at 7-plus knots with a reef in. In gusts up to 35 knots, we heeled well over 40 degrees, but the balanced twin rudders dug in well, and it took very little effort to helm. In fact, a touch more feel might have been useful, as I had the wheel hard over before I realized there was any weather helm at all. The boat is also available with a tiller.
The sail controls have been reduced to simplicity itself. You can upgrade to electric winches if you choose, but the standard is Harken self-tailers, which are more than adequate. There is a snappy 240ft self-tacking jib on a manual furler and a Code 0 can be flown on a beautifully engineered belowdeck furler, also by Harken. With her fine entry, little of the silty, brown chop of these waters came on deck and even less made it as far back as the cockpit.
Below, the Tofinou has a moderate amount of volume, but the designers have resisted the urge to cram in too much wizardry. There’s a head, stove, sink and small fridge, as well as pressurized water. Three couples could find a berth below, but you’d be better off with just two or three people.
The joinery is well executed—as you’d expect of a boat in this price range—in a very pleasing dark matte teak, with lots of good storage tucked away behind panels and bulkheads. Lights are all LED, and the electrics are on a clever digital switching system, so there’s no distribution panel crowded with buttons.
As we returned to port, we received yet another thumbs-up from a passing sailor—the Tofinou is that sort of boat—comfirming once again the kind of picture we made: of a sailing thoroughbred too classy for all-out speed ride, but too lean to be slow; easy to singlehande and able to effortlessly get you 50 miles down the coast in a fast daysail.
LOA 32ft 6in Beam 11ft 2in
Draft 6ft 7in; 3ft 4in to 7ft 8in (swing keel)
Sail area 605ft
Engine Yanmar 20hp saildrive
Ballast Ratio 31
D/L Ratio 120 SA/D Ratio 22
What do these ratios mean? Visit sailmagazine.com/ratios
Builder Latitude 46, La Rochelle, France, tofinou.com
US Distributor Rodgers Yacht Sales, Mystic, CT, rodgersyachtsales.com
Price $480,000 (as sailed) at time of publication