A Cruising Boat for the Next Generation

I had a feeling that the Marc Lombard-designed Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 379 would be fun to sail even before I took one out in 20-25 knots of breeze. That’s because I’d sailed the first of the similarly re-designed Sun Odysseys—the 409—last year, and it wasn’t hard to imagine the folks at Jeannueau serving up all the performance and comfort of the 409 in a slightly smaller, 37-foot package. But nothing I’d experienced on the 409 could have prepared me for the sheer joy of sailing the 379 in a stiff wind. And my positive sailing experience was even more remarkable because the model we tested was equipped with the shoal draft wing keel that only draws 4' 11".

How is a “joyful” upwind sailing experience in over 20 knots of breeze on a shoal draft boat possible you ask? Simple. The 379 I was testing was equipped with twin rudders (along with twin wheels) and a well-designed keel. We also tucked in the first reef and took in a couple turns on the headsail. The wind was whipping, and boat has a pretty steep heel in the puffs, but the helm was always light and refreshingly balanced thanks to the leeward rudder that’s always deep and perfectly positioned to provide positive control. There was no fighting to keep the boat from rounding up and there was just the perfect amount of weather helm. I’m sure the boat’s hard chine aft also contributed to its superior control at bigger heel angles in the puffs. I’m also pretty sure that the deeper-keel, single-rudder option will probably produce slightly better tacking angles, and be slightly quicker due to less wetted surface, but I’m sold on the magic of twin rudders.

All other sailing performance metrics seem a bit mundane in light of the 379’s stellar upwind performance. We accelerated up to 7.5 knots and then hovered close to that speed on all points of sail. Visibility was excellent from the dual helm stations. The cockpit table provided excellent brace points for the crew and well-positioned, moulded-in wedges behind each wheel provide excellent footing for the helmsman, even at steep heel angles.

Singlehanders and Wednesday night racers will like the German mainsheet system that makes it easy to trim the main from either side of the cockpit, and the jib sheets that lead back through stoppers to winches adjacent the helm stations. But, as with all boats set up with the main sheet and a jib sheet often needing the same winch (or for one sheet to be locked off in a stopper – not ideal if you need to ease quickly in an emergency), tacking and gybing can require some planning. Shifting sheets on the winches when we needed to do a controlled gybe in the 20-knot breeze was doable, but it would have been easier if the mainsheet had simply been routed to a cabin top winch.

Otherwise, the deck lay out worked beautifully. I liked the wide cockpit, comfortable seats, and the large retractable swim platform. When it’s open, the swim platform significantly increases the cockpit deck space making it super easy to board the boat from the stern while providing a wonderful sense of security in the cockpit when it’s closed. It also has a clever purchase system hidden under the port helm seat.

Good-sized lockers under the cockpit and helm seats will swallow fenders, dock lines, and other gear. The chart plotter rotates to be easily visible from either helm station and the other instrument read outs are right where you want them by the helms. I also appreciated the double bow roller, windlass, and deep anchor locker. But most boats deliver those essentials. In my opinion, what distinguishes the 379 (along with its excellent sailing performance) is the fact that the chines, the hull ports, the narrow, tinted windows in the coach roof, the wide stern, plumb bow, and even the synthetic, maintenance-free, teak toe rail (that I honestly thought was real) all work in harmony to produce a truly attractive boat with clean modern lines.

The boat’s clean, modern aesthetic is logically carried down into the accommodation plan. The main salon features a large settee, a good-sized head, and an L-shaped galley at the foot of the companionway stairs. The light-coloured varnished woodwork and white headliner help the space feel warm and open, while a single opening hatch and two small opening ports provide ventilation. The long, straight settee seats can double as functional sea berths and the aft-facing chart table is big enough to handle a chart kit. Well-placed hand holds in the headliner and along the coachroof provide security when you need to move around while under way. The galley has plenty of counter space and copious stowage and the single head has all the essentials, including a separate shower stall.

If it was easy to forget we were on a 37-footer in the main salon, it becomes more apparent in the sleeping cabins. The forward cabin has a V-shaped berth and limited standing room that forward cabins on most sub-40 footers usually have. That said, it’s a perfectly comfortable cabin for two. There’s good lighting, plenty of stowage, and decent ventilation thanks to an opening hatch. The guest cabins aft have larger rectangular berths but more limited ventilation.

We had so much fun sailing, I almost forgot to record the engine data. But I can report that the standard 29 HP Yanmar performed well. We were able to get up to 6.5 knots of boat speed powering into the stiff breeze at full throttle (3,500 RPM); speed was about 5.5 knots at 2,700 RPM. Engine noise was obviously noticeable in the main salon, but not absurdly so. It was a bit tricky backing into the slip in the stiff cross breeze, but the boat behaved beautifully in close quarters.

Lots of boats call themselves good looking and rewarding to sail. And lots of boats are designed to be comfortable at sea and in port. And still more boats try to do all these things in less than 40 feet of LOA. But after my test in over 20 knots of breeze, I can honestly say that the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 379 comes closer to accomplishing all these goals than most. It was a blast to sail. It was easy to sail. It was comfortable to sail. Its accommodations plan was spacious and stylish. And to my mind, Jeanneau is helping define what a modern cruising boat should be. What more could you want?

By Bill Springer

To see if this boat is available, go to www.boatcan.com to check listings!

 

 

Destinations

  • Prev
Following the harsh impact of Hurricanes Irma and Maria, The British Virgin Islands is making an ...
For the adventurous boater Bunsby Marine Provincial Park is a special place, situated due south of ...
We’re gliding through green-blue waters, colours so vivid and bright they hurt your eyes. We’re set ...
The Halifax waterfront has been attracting more and more large yachts in recent years. However, a ...
Ah Canadian simplicity at its finest; small town, big marina. Little Hilton Beach (population ...
Vancouver-based Big Blue Yacht Charters Worldwide owner Emma Murdoch explains that luxury crewed ...
In the 1920s, a small cove in Canoe Bay was used as a shipping point and safe-haven for rum runners ...
Here’s an update from Caroline Swann with some news for the adventurous types who may be heading to ...
The New Glasgow marina is located about six miles up the East River of Pictou in the heart of the ...
The British Virgins took a huge hit last fall from Irma. Boats were stranded on the shore by the ...

Mediterranean Shakedown: A Summer Cruise in Spain

Mediterranean ShakedownBy Sheryl and Paul Shard

This summer my husband, Paul, and I bought our fourth offshore cruising boat, a new Southerly 480 built by Discovery Yachts in the UK. It’s a unique boat with a retractable variable-draft swing keel giving you the option of sailing with a deep draft of 3.1 metres when the keel is down or just less than a metre with the keel fully retracted. Southerly Yachts are great for bluewater sailing and also for gunkholing in shallow creeks and inland waterways. You can even dry them out at low tide so they are is the perfect boat for the type of exploring we like to do. Our new boat, Distant Shores III, is the third Southerly Yacht that we’ve owned over 29 years of international cruising to destinations in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Middle East, UK, Scandinavia and South America. This boat we plan to sail to the South Pacific.

Read more about the Shards' cruise in Spain...

 

Lifestyle

  • Prev
This issue, to kick off 2019, we have an unofficial Photo of the week and this, the unofficial ...
Readers give us a bit of feedback on the 60th anniversary of the Shark 24
We are home for Christmas this year. Soon we will be heading back to Adamant 1 for another winter ...
This past October we drove to Telegraph Cove with friends and spent a day of wonder cruising the ...
We have kept our subscription to Canadian Yacht Onboard as we have traveled the South Pacific over ...
Stuart Walker a legend in competitive sailing passed away on November 12, 2018 in Annapolis. Stuart ...
“In Grenada, we had about 80 cruiser kids visit our boat...by dinghy of course! Sometimes you ...
Austin Edwards told students and parents at the Saanich School’s “Parents as Informed Partners” ...
As the sole arbiter of the Photo of the Week I, your editor, get to make the choice. This week, ...
Michele Stevens pointed us to this interesting project which recently came to fruition in Cape ...

Beneteau Antares 27

Beneteau Antares 27By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

You have to love it when something exceeds your expectations on so many levels; the new Antares 27 from Beneteau looks to me like that sort of all-around overachiever.

This is a brand new express cruiser design. With twin Mercury 200 V6 outboards, it delivers impressive performance, a reassuring and comfortable ride, and a level of versatility that will enable this boat to be your vacation partner for all sorts of adventures.

Read more about the Antares 27...

 

 

 

 

Hanse 388

Hanse 388By Katherine Stone

The Hanse group produced their second most popular boat of all time with the Hanse 385. The trick was to build on that winning formula when they upgraded to the Hanse 388, which they have done in spades. The German build quality is first rate and true to the Hanse tradition. Leaving the hull the same with a steep stern and straight stem for an optimal long water line, they went with a slightly stiffer, heavier displacement, new deck, interior layout and window line. Hanse’s highly experienced yacht construction team, judel/vrolijk & co., have combined ease of sailing, comfort and performance into the newly designed Hanse 388.

Read More about the Hanse 388...

 

 

 

DIY & How to

  • Prev
Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is ...
When a boat is in the water, the bilge will often collect water that enters the boat from weather, ...
Recently I suggested doing an off-season (winter) project with a potential client, and my ...
A recent conversation with a fellow contractor got me thinking: With all of the information out ...
As the cold approaches, shrink-wrapping is a hot topic, and I’ve heard more than a few debates at ...
Nothing stops a vacation faster than a problem with the fresh water system – be it leaks, smells, ...
Pyrotechnic distress flares have been around for decades, while electronic strobe distress flares ...
Most of us don’t give a second thought to our sacrificial anodes – those curious knobs of raw metal ...
In this time of boat show afterglow, many boaters are counting the days until launch. 

Ask Andrew: Electrical Installations – Part 1: Electrical Connections - basics and how-to’s

Electrical InstallationsBy Andrew McDonald

Winter is a great time to look at some of the hidden spaces on your boat – to take stock of what is aboard, areas of improvement and ways to upgrade.

One of the most common jobs that I’m asked to look at are electrical installations and upgrades. Surprisingly, the majority of these types of jobs are to ‘clean up’ the wiring of years past – when electrical standards were more fluid, and jury-rigged upgrades have been added and adapted over multiple owners and contractors.

Read More about Electrical Installations Basics...

 

  

Marine Products

  • Prev
While the basics of boat hull design hasn’t changed that much over the years, the same cannot be ...
Yamaha targets the Canadian big-water market with its high-torque 425 horsepower V8 XTO outboard, ...
Looking for a great Christmas gift for the Offshore sailor on your list? This being a Marblehead to ...
Sail shape is long gone. They have stained, feels thin and you see broken threads everywhere. Your ...
Stripping the antifouling paint from the bottom of a boat is physically demanding and is one of the ...
The 2019 Ultimate Sailing Calendar highlights the drama and excitement of blue-water sailing, as ...
Weather nerds and boaters of all stripes will be absorbed by Bruce Kemp’s account of the monstrous ...
Canada Rope promises that its new Night Saver Rope will illuminate at night and act as a reference ...
Take a look as a 68-foot yacht docks itself in between two Volvo Ocean 65 sailing yachts at the ...
Industry Firsts Include Direct Injection and Integrated Electric Steering System