The deck set-up is revolutionary, as is the size of the interiors and performance under sail. The latest model from the French shipyard gets very close to perfection
by Niccolò Volpati – photo by Guillaume Gauter, Jerome Kelagopian and Bertrand Duquenne
“Be realistic, demand the impossible”, as French students wrote on the walls during May 1968. And we too want the impossible, but referring to the excellent performance of a sailing cruiser. A lot of yards have tried, especially in recent years, but for one reason or another, nobody has really convinced us.
The one to have got closest is probably Jeanneau, with the new approach taken by the Sun Odyssey series. Jeanneau started from a design that takes into account volumes that are something that people who want to sail in comfort cannot do without, and took care to create waterlines that can make it sail quickly.
I particularly liked the latest model, the 410. We had a good wind when we tried out the boat, so the test was easier. Things are different when there is so little wind that any sailing cruiser wouldn’t be able to move at all. With a perfect breeze of between 12 and 15 knots, the performance under sail was really convincing. Firstly, because we did the entire test with the main sails. Just the mainsail and the genoa, no Code 0, gennaker or other sails that improve performance when there isn’t much wind.
The main sails, so classic sailing cruiser equipment that doesn’t require too much effort in unfurling one sail after another. Sun Odyssey 410 behaves very well sailing upwind. It sails close to the wind, and doesn’t have any difficulty even if taken to 30 degrees, but it literally takes off if you bear away a bit. We touched eight knots with twelve knots true wind speed at 35 degrees. But you can still sail at over seven knots at 30 degrees, even if the wind is slightly greater. In each case it was nice sailing. Bearing away further, the boat nearly reached ten knots.
Boats that do well against the wind often suffer on a broad reach. But it didn’t. On a broad reach, despite only having the main sail and the genoa, the performance was entirely respectable. We can imagine that with a spinnaker or a gennaker it could do still better. In defiance of the extremists, utopia here was achieved thanks to moderation. It is the product of a compromise that was achieved very well. The sail wasn’t excessive. If it had been, more ballast would have been needed. It is quick, but it isn’t hasty. It is stable, but not flat. So all in all, you can have fun, without any particular concerns.
It is easy to steer, everything is at hand and you don’t need a large professional crew to make a turn. Going for two steering blades was a good decision, so one is always under water and the boat can be handled even when you are heeling strongly and close-hauled. It would be cheaper to manufacture with just one blade, but it would be less efficient. In this Jeanneau certainly didn’t try to save money.
The only thing I feel the need to mention in relation to the deck fittings is the fact that the sheets and halyards aren’t hidden away under the deckhouse. That is not just an aesthetic issue, since that way they are less protected before getting to the winches, which are close to the two helms, they run just above the backs of the benches in the cockpit. Whereas the gangways are of the type that we have already seen on the 490. They represent a kind of Copernican revolution in decks because, rather than having to get over the seats to get to them, you just have to walk. They are two ramps that lead away from the helms, and as you go up, they mean you get to the height of the shrouds.
It is no effort to get up to the bow. There is nothing in the way, you just have to walk. That is nice and easy. There are people who say that this means that the cockpit will get wetter, especially when the sea is rough and you are sailing upwind. The conditions that we found during the test didn’t allow us to confirm or reject this idea. There weren’t any rough waves, and not even much of a stiff breeze. I can say, however, that it didn’t give me the feeling of being a boat that veers off course too much, and also the freeboard is fairly high. I think that only in very rough seas could a wave manage to get into the cockpit along the gangways.
The volumes below decks are a surprise. We shouldn’t forget that we are on board a forty-footer. That is the consequence of a fairly high freeboard, although it is not enough to weigh it down. It is also because of a well-proportioned deckhouse that is able to give room in the interior areas and, finally, because of a chine in the hull that runs nearly to the bows, and improves upwind performance while giving larger volumes to the dinette and the cabins.
Compared to the old 40-footer of the same size, Jeanneau claims to have obtained volumes greater than 15%. And at first sight it looks that way, although the interiors were also pleasing because of the solutions and the designs by Jean-Marc Piaton. There is plenty of natural light, thanks to the windows and portholes, not just in the dinette, but also in the cabins. The galley is large, as is the map area, with a lot of seats, and there is even a chaise longue, all of it done without any waste. It is a very liveable area, because, when cruising, people look for comfort outside as much as below decks. It is a good boat for all seasons.
32 Avenue des Sables – CS 30529
F-85505 Les Herbiers Cedex
PROJECT: Marc Lombard Design (naval architecture), Piaton Yacht Design and Jeanneau Design (interiors and superstructure)
HULL: LOA 12.35m • Lenght 11.99m • Maximum beam 3.99m
• Light mass displacement 8,000 kg • Ballast 2300 kg
• Draft 2.25m • Water tank volume 528 l
• Fuel tank volume 195 l
MAIN PROPULSION: Yanmar 4JH45 • Outlet mechsnical power 33,1 kW (45 hp) • 4 cylinders in line • Swept volume 2,19 l
• Bore&Stroke 88mm x90mm
• Maximal rotational speed 3000/min
EC CERTIFICATION: CAT. A – 6 people / CAT. B – 7 people / CAT. C – 9 people
PRICE: 166.080 €, Excl. VAT, as standard
(Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 410, doing the impossible – Barchemagazine.com – December 2019)