Best Boats 2018: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440

Best Monohull Cruising Boat 40 to 50ft
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There was a bit of drama at the unveiling of the new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 440 at the recent Annapolis Boat Show. While Jeanneau America president Nick Harvey stood by, yards of nylon sailcloth covering the cockpit were magically sucked down into the companionway at his command, revealing a completely rethought concept of outdoor living on a sailboat. Corny? Maybe. But in this particular case, entirely appropriate.

Most noticeable as you first step aboard is the way designer Philippe Briand turned cockpit design on its ear by having the side decks slope gently down from the bow to where they wrap smoothly around the twin helm stations. Leaving either wheel, you can therefore simply walk up the ascending slope of either side deck without ever having to step up onto a settee and then out over the coaming. Once you’ve seen the Sun Odyssey 440 you’ll never look at a monohull cockpit quite the same way again.

Another head-smackingly brilliant feature aboard the Sun Odyssey 440 can be found in the backrests of the settee benches, which can be extended outward to form a large sunbed that covers nearly half the width of the boat, creating a massive sun pad. Similarly, the designers have placed the boat’s large winged table off center, thereby creating a straight-line passageway between the companionway and the swim platform, making it that much easier to move about.

Forward, there’s a fixed GRP sprit that has an attachment point for a Code 0 to keep the anchor away from the plumb bow, while twin rudders and an L-shaped keel make the 440 both maneuverable and a good performer upwind. The side decks are also refreshingly clear, thanks to the fact that the lower shrouds are inboard and the cap shrouds outboard, leaving them free of obstructions.

Belowdecks, the galley is amidships, which creates room for a large head in the master cabin and a classic, forward-facing nav station aft. The nav desk also has numerous stowage cubbies and a large desktop for plenty of workspace; stowage areas have been moved inboard toward the centerline to help keep weight inboard as well; and many of the lockers include a soft inner liner to keep things quiet underway. Finally, all the beds, including the master berth in the forward stateroom, are rectangular, just like at home, so off-the-shelf linens fit, which means more affordable bedding in the long run. The cumulative result of all these details and this kind of forward thinking is a boat that truly sets a new standard in terms of livability afloat. jeanneauamerica.com

December 2017

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