Boats

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32

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Remember the days when anchorages were filled with cruising boats in the 20-to-30-foot range and 40-footers were considered big? The Philippe Briand–designed Sun Odyssey 32 may be considered entry-level compared to the multitude of new 40-foot cruising boats—it’s the smallest cruising boat Jeanneau sells here in the States—but I found during a test sail on Chesapeake Bay that it’s a thoroughly modern coastal cruiser with more than entry-level appeal.

The Sun Odyssey 32 has a nearly plumb bow, moderate freeboard, and a low-slung coachroof that fit together coherently and provide a sleek and sporty look. The stern is relatively wide (the 10-foot, 9-inch beam is carried well aft) without appearing fat. And the deck layout (all lines lead back to the cockpit through blocks on the coachroof) is clean and well organized. The side decks are wide, and teak grabrails run along a portion of the coachroof, but there’s not much to hold onto once you’re forward of the mast. The anchor locker is deep enough to stow several fenders as well as the ground tackle. There is a single bow roller, and a recessed electric windlass is standard.

The cockpit layout also works well. Steering was easy from both standing and sitting positions, and visibility was excellent. There’s room for two crew (four if they scrunch) plus the helmsman in the cockpit. Cockpit coamings are angled outboard, seats are comfortable, and brace points are right where you need them.

The accommodations plan nails the proportions and makes a strong case for the idea that bigger is not necessarily better. The saloon has just over 6-foot headroom, two Upholstered settees that double as seaberths, multiple stowage cabinets, and several opening ports and hatches that provide excellent light and ventilation. The aft-facing nav station is fine for coastal-cruising work, and varnished teak veneer on the bulkheads and furniture gives the interior a classic finish. The galley is bigger than you would expect, with considerable counter and stowage space.

The cabins are functional rather than spacious. The aft cabin has a hanging locker and a comfortable berth, but feels somewhat cocoonlike underneath the cockpit. The forward cabin has limited stowage and a smaller berth but more headroom and excellent ventilation.

Under sail in 10 knots of breeze on flat water, the 32’s easily driven hull was nimble and responsive. Our test boat was fitted with the standard 4-foot, 11-inch keel; a thin-water-friendly swing keel is available as an option. Upwind we tacked through 85 degrees and logged 5.5 knots of boatspeed; we did similar speeds reaching. The helm was smooth, and the boat tracked beautifully on all points of sail. It’s an easy boat for a couple to handle, but singlehanding may require some effort as the mainsheet leads to the cabintop and the primaries aren’t right next to the helm. Under power the boat was capable of reaching 6.5 knots, and slow-speed maneuvering was excellent.

This boat will appeal to anyone—not just entry-level cruisers—looking for a stylish, fast, and fun-to-sail coastal cruiser with comfortable accommodations and a price tag that won’t break the bank.

Specifications

Price:

$90,575 (base, FOB Annapolis, MD) includes main and 135% genoa, deck-stepped aluminum mast, radio/CD player, pressure water and water heater, 13-gallon refrigerator, 2-burner propane stove, electric windlass.

Builder:

Jeanneau America, Annapolis, MD; tel. 410-280-9400, www.jeanneauamerica.com

LOA

31'5"

LWL

27'11"

Beam

10'9"

Draft (fixed keel)

4'11"

Draft (swing keel up/down)

2'3"/5'6"

Displ.

10,103 lbs

Ballast

3,020 lbs

Sail area (100% foretriangle)

536 sq ft

Power

18-hp Yanmar

Fuel/water/waste

19/45/12 gal

Displ.-length ratio

210

Sail area-displ. ratio

18.3

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