Skip to main content

Tofinou 10

A carbon classic that’s an absolute blast to sail

A carbon classic that’s an absolute blast to sail

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. 

Fix Keel (top); Swing Keel (bottom)

Fix Keel (top); Swing Keel (bottom)

Specifications

LOA 32ft 6in Beam 11ft 2in

Draft 6ft 7in; 3ft 4in to 7ft 8in (swing keel)

Displacement 9,260lb

Ballast 2,866lb

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

Designer Joubert-Nivelt

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

August 2018

Related

01-LEAD-18-Running-before-strong-winds-en-route-to-Molokai

Cruising: Hawaiian Island Hop

We didn’t get off on the right foot sailing into Hawaii. It was our own fault, of course. We should have known better. It’s never a good idea to assume that just because procedures were a certain way one year, they will be the same the next. It was an especially bad idea given ...read more

DUFOUR_470.JM-LIOT-15

Boat Review: Dufour 470

Annapolis may be the sailing capital of America, but if you looked around the United States Sailboat Show last fall, you would have no choice but to conclude most sailboats are now built in Europe. The Dufour 470 is a good example of a modern French performance cruiser. DESIGN & ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_6563

Close Encounters: Captain Sarah Schelbert

I met Captain Sarah Schelbert back in 2019 while on the boat trip from hell aboard a seaworthy but poorly run Triton 28 in the western Caribbean. I was trying to help the owner sail his boat back to Florida from the Rio Dulce, in Guatemala. Outbound from the river basin, we had ...read more

02-Voice-of-the-Oceans---sailboat-Kat-11

Raising Their Voices

Many of us who are cruising sailors have been sailing mid-ocean or walking along a perfect beach in the middle of seemingly nowhere, only to be appalled at the amount of plastic trash we find. Few of us, however, have taken that disheartening reality and turned it into a ...read more

IC37racingonSunday-Photo-by-Paul-Todd

IC37 North American Championship

This past weekend saw 20 IC37s off Newport, Rhode Island engage in fast and furious one-design racing with the win going to Peter McClennen’s Gamecock. “It’s huge,” said McClennen of the win. “I think of the one-designs of this club going back to the New York 30 [built in ...read more

01-LEAD-IMG_2056

South Pacific Storm Prep

Having set ourselves the task of transforming our recently purchased Open 66 ex-Vendée Globe racer, NV, into a performance family cruiser, my partner, Timo, and I found ourselves (extremely) high and dry as cyclone season approached. The favorite cyclone strategy in Fiji is to ...read more

00-Alexe-1---GUaGKDY4-single-boat-sailing-away-from-skyline,-Hill-Holiday

Cruising: Find Your Own Adventure

Whether they’re at the end of their collegiate career or after aging out of a summer sailing program, a lot of young sailors have a hard time finding a way to continue sailing as adults. Some of the barriers to sailing, including location, finances and time, can be hard to ...read more

00LEAD-IMG_2183

Heavy Hitters on Heavy Weather

“What’s the joke about heavy weather? You know it when you see it.” Figure 8 singlehander Randall Reeves drew laughs from the Cruising Club of America (CCA) sailors attending the forum “Heavy Weather Sailing: Bluewater Perspectives” as part of the CCA’s centennial celebration in ...read more