Review: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349
The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 is the epitome of the modern cruising sailboat, but there’s plenty of unique subtleties once you look closer.
The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey line of sail boats is available from 30 to 50ft, which means the new Jeanneau SO349 has plenty of competition from its own siblings, not to mention a plethora of competitors.
Stepping aboard hull #5 as it sat dockside at Cannes on the French Riviera, my first thoughts were that the Jeanneau 349 was similar to the excellent Jeanneau 409 I had sailed last year, thanks to the same deep cockpit, angular Marc Lombard hull and the swimplatform which looked as large. Just add the optional sprayhood and bimini to create an oceangoing cruiser; ideal for a singlehander or couple to manage at only 33ft.
JEANNEAU SUN ODYSSEY
A notable feature on the Jeanneau 349 sail boat is the simple sail controls and clean decks thanks to the absence of jib cars and mainsheet track. Halyards are controlled from twin Harken 35.2 winches on the coachroof, while sheets run via padeyes right back to the Harken 35.2 winches near both helms. Both the Dyneema mainsheet and jib sheets run out of Spinlock jammers beside the helm where the H35 primary winch can easily control both. As on Jeanneau’s sporty Sun Fast range, instead of a main track a simple Y-bridle triangulated block is used giving strong mainsheet control from a single block, rather than on the SO33i whose three-block system can distort.
The twin helms were fitted with the optional Carbonautica composite wheels which are fast, light and smooth to use. Emergency steering for the twin rudders is directly under-foot, ideal for quick access – which of course is when you need it. The throttle for the optional 29hp Yanmar 29HP is in the traditional knee-high position on the starboard side but inconveniently, the controls and rev counter are ahead of the wheel, under the cockpit bench.
As a basic yacht with price an important factor I commend Jeanneau’s use of a simple shaftdriven Yanmar engine and as the boat is relatively small there’s no bowthruster in the option list, nor of course the joystick 360 Docking which only works with saildrive configurations.
Log, depth and wind information is via B&G’s new Triton T41 display which is large and easily readable, while the B&G autopilot controls sit nearby, beside the binnacle compass. Navigation is also well taken care of with the 7in B&G Triton multifunction plotter on the port helm.
The Perspex saloon-style doors on the main hatch were the only thing not to my liking as I descended into the saloon. Our test yacht was the two-cabin model but a three-cabin is also available and the high-volume hull makes this a realistic proposition.
The saloon layout packs plenty in, even for a modern 33-footer, with longitudinal lounge and dinette benches forward, L-shaped galley starboard with navigation station opposite adjoining the bathroom. The smart use of space on a modern cruiser is amazing.
Looking around the saloon the centre is dominated by the large table with compression post anchoring it strongly (and indicating the rig is fairly far back, in line with the centre of effort on the keel). Natural light and ventilation is adequate with coachroof windows, small portlights and opening skylights. In addition, the double doors on the forecabin give a spacious feel when open and bring in extra light to the saloon; while also being good in race mode for the easy movement of sails.
The navigation station has a sizeable chart table and there’s plenty of bulkhead space for electronics. Above the table the power control board has chunky switches. Lighting throughout, including navigation lights, is LED. The navigation table lifts, which is essential to create a walkway when the two wings of the large dining table are deployed. Usefully, the navigator’s stool is freestanding so it can become another dining chair.
Over in the second cabin to starboard, space has been maximised thanks to a lack of lockers protruding from the cockpit above, improving what would typically be a claustrophobic space on this size of yacht. For ventilation a large hatch opens into the cockpit, covered by a lid that is part of the bench seat, plus there’s a coachroof hatch as well.
Deck space is maximised well on the Jeanneau 349 and the area is uncluttered but functional, flat non-slip surfaces including the coachroof. A sturdy coachroof handrail and wooden toerails guide you safely to the bow, unimpeded thanks to the outboard shrouds.
At the bow is an anchor locker with optional bowsprit for flying a code zero or asymmetrical sail. The locker is rather shallow but there’s a GRP lip for the optional 1000W electric windlass. Our test boat had the offset anchor roller to allow for the bowsprit.
Mooring is adequately done with sizeable cleats including midship ones. Halyards are run in the traditional way via blocks across the coachroof into jammers, unlike the jib sheets which use an eyelet friction ring arrangement instead of a car system, as found on some raceboats including Marc Lombard designs. Apart from the simplicity of this system it also has advantages when sailing off the wind, as it’s easier to open the leech of the headsails and make adjustments underway.
With no backstay to impede it, a big top mainsail can be used on the 349. Our test boat had a Mylar and taffeta Technique Voile sail wardrobe, with the big top main and 110 per cent genoa flying off the Selden two-spreader mast. The big top adds about 10 per cent sail area, so is a good option for the tropics or regattas. Alternatively, for easy sail handling there’s in-mast furling and self-tacking headsail.
Typical of Mediterranean conditions, where there’s either too little or too much, we had the latter for our sail boat test review at Cannes. So with the Triton display showing 23kts true wind we put two reefs in the mainsail to keep the Jeanneau 349 reasonably upright while using all of the genoa.
Sitting out on the teak-clad gunwale proved comfortable and with no backstay to impede and teak underfoot, plus a chock for supporting when at heel, the 349 has a well laid-out helm.
On a beam reach the numbers looked good at 9.1kts boat speed, the motion feeling easy and the helm not unduly heavy as the twin rudders shared the burden with our heeling angle of about 20 degrees. The Lewmar steering system proved smooth and responsive to my hand on the composite wheels.
Winching in the sheets was easily done on my own as the balanced helm allowed me to use both hands to quickly wind in the Technique Voile mainsail and then put the genoa sheet on the drum, as we pointed at 35 degrees with a speed of 7.1kts.
Handling the 349 under sail was also easily achieved as the twin rudders powered the stubby hull quickly through the wind and onto the opposite tack, all done by the helmsman. Similarly, when gybing, the sheets ran easily through the friction rings to set the genoa. The only glitch was the location of the starboard primary winch which is too near the helm but my host for the day, Erik Stromberg, told me this will be moved. The windy conditions prevented us from trying the Code Zero which was fitted to the bowsprit – but again, a good option for light wind or regatta sailing.
Heading back to the busy port of Cannes under engine, the 29hp Yanmar with its three-bladed Flexifold propeller pushed us along at 8kts under full revs (3400rpm) but throttling back to a more economical 2600rpm still gave 7kts.
See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #455, July / August 2014. Why not subscribe today?
• Smart and innovative deck layout
• Spacious interior
• Practical overall design
• Main hatch saloon doors
• Slightly awkward engine access
JEANNEAU SUN ODYSSEY 349 SPECIFICATIONS
PRICE AS TESTED
Premier (power) Pack, Raymarine Pack (SPX 10 autopilot, i70 instruments and e7 plotter), Sony audio pack, Selden mast furling, and upgraded Yanmar 29HP
BALLAST 1580 kg
PEOPLE (NIGHT) 4
FOR MORE INFORMATION
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