Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469

Author:
Updated:
Original:

Experience shows in this big performance cruiser

HR5-1310-NB-jea

Following in the footsteps of the Sun Odyssey 509, the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469 incorporates much of what the veteran French boatbuilder has learned in developing the latest iteration of this venerable performance-cruiser line, which now boasts seven models. The result is a solid performer that is both attractive and comfortable—all at a competitive price point.

Construction 

Designed by the Philippe Briand office, the SO469 is a “big” boat for its size, with a wealth of interior volume and deck space enclosed within its 14ft 9in beam. The hull is all fiberglass, hand-laid in a two-part mold, and the injection-molded deck is attached with a combination of adhesives, bolts and screws on an inward-turning flange: all good stuff. I’ve long been a fan of the “Prisma Process” Jeanneau uses to create its molded decks. On the one hand, it allows the company to carefully regulate the amount of resin in the mix in the interest of minimizing weight. On the other, it creates a finished surface on the deckhead that doesn’t have to be hidden from view using liners or other gimmicks. 

The keel is an iron fin with a bulb, the double-spreader mast is aluminum, and there is a glassed-in structural grid inside the hull to absorb the loads generated when the boat is under sail. Overall, build quality and trim is attractive and well executed, especially for a mass-produced boat. It really is impressive how high-volume builders like Jeanneau continue to up their game with every passing year. 

On Deck 

No big surprises here, just a smart practical layout that works well, looks good, and serves as further testament to the fact that Jeanneau knows how boats are used out on the water. 

Case in point: the SO469’s single backstay. Although split backstays are all the rage these days (presumably because they provide an obstructed passageway to the now obligatory drop-down swim platform) I much prefer a single backstay, because it means you don’t have a wire getting in the way when you’re trying to snuggle into a corner during a long stint at the helm.

I’m also a fan of the boat’s wide unobstructed sidedecks, which run well aft outboard of the cockpit coaming, making it easy to scurry toward the stern cleat in tricky docking situations. Beefy toerails provide extra security, and no gymnastics are needed to get around the inboard shroud bases when making your way forward. Twin helm stations provide comfortable seating well outboard for playing the shifts to windward, and there are well-placed foot cleats for use sitting inboard or steering downwind. 

While the cockpit is not as massive as the cockpits on some other European boats, the benches are plenty big enough to accommodate a crowd, and the sturdy centerline table provides a good place to brace your feet. There’s also a wealth of space aboard the SO 469’s drop-down swim platform, which is huge. This is a true sailboat, not just a party platform. I like it.

If I have a complaint with the Sun Odyssey 469, it’s with the recessed handholds on top of the cabintrunk. When things get snotty, I like nice big handholds to grab onto when going forward. Granted, with today’s rigs there’s less and less reason to do so. But what if something goes wrong? 

As is the case with the rest of the Sun Odyssey line, the 469 is a good-looking boat, with its nearly plumb bow, aggressively sculpted cabintrunk, cleverly integrated hull windows and cove stripe, and chines aft. The boat’s extended double anchor roller also serves as a tack point for an A-sail. 

Accommodations 

Jeanneau has long-since mastered the art of producing comfortable, functional interiors, and its proven manufacturing processes ensure the various parts and pieces are both well made and precisely assembled.

The look is typical Euro-modern, and the saloon cabins are flooded with light, thanks to the large saloon ports, multiple overhead hatches and the previously mentioned hull windows. Various iterations are available, including a four-cabin, four-head layout with an inline galley, which will surely be the go-to floorplan for charter outfits. 

Nice touches include track lighting along the cabin sole and a nav table that slides down to create an uninterrupted settee and sea berth along the starboard side of the saloon.

There’s plenty of room and storage in the forecabin

There’s plenty of room and storage in the forecabin

Under Sail 

A northeast breeze had been blowing in the mid- to high-teens for hours by the time we emerged from Miami’s Government Cut on to the open Atlantic—perfect weather for a good boat test. Chatting earlier with Jeanneau America’s Erik Stromberg, I’d wondered aloud how the boat would fare in these conditions under a full press of sail with its single rudder. Among other things, the boat carries a good deal of beam aft, and at 46ft 1in feet LOA, it’s big enough to benefit from having dual rudders when sailing on its ear. However, hardening up beyond Red No. 6, though, the boat dug in and powered into the swells on a close reach as if it were the most natural thing in the world, hitting 7.5-plus knots in the puffs: nice numbers given the in-mast furling main and the standard 106 percent headsail. The boat also held its way, easily tacking through the chop, and maintained a light, sensitive helm sailing at a 40-degree apparent wind angle. Overall motion in the lumpy seas was surprisingly easy and comfortable. 

Heading back downwind, the boat was equally easy to handle, even in the sharp stuff we encountered at the mouth of the channel where the breeze met the outgoing tide. At one point, a series of especially steep rollers tried to grab hold of our stern quarter, but I was able to shrug them off with some moderate helm. “Big rudder,” said Stromberg with a satisfied smile.

Nice work, Jeanneau.

Under Power 

That nice big rudder and the boat’s 54hp Yanmar saildrive also made the SO469 reassuringly easy to maneuver under power. It was hard to gauge exact boat speeds because of the winds and currents that day, but we logged a good 7.5 knots at 2,000 rpm and 9.2 knots at 2,500 rpm, and had no problem bucking the tide and chop at the mouth of the cut. Jeanneau’s 360 docking system is an option, but hardly a necessity aboard the SO469.

Our Take

Pros:

Good motion through the swells

Practical, comfortable cockpit and deck layout

Solid construction throughout

Cons:

Handholds on cabintrunk a bit small

HR5-jeanneau-2

Related

SF3300-Jean-Marie_LIOT

Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Fast 3300

Though best known for its cruising boats, Jeanneau has long kept a hand in competitive racing with its Sun Fast line. The newest of these French-built speedsters is the Sun Fast 3300, which takes the place of the long-lived 3200. Design & Construction A collaboration between ...read more

03-200123_PM_MIAMI_31326_3065

U.S. Team Strikes Miami Gold

If there was ever a time for the U.S. Sailing Team, which has been experiencing a serious medal drought of late, to start peaking it would be now, with the Tokyo 2020 Olympics set to begin in July. Luckily, it appears the team, which has won only three Olympic medals since 2004, ...read more

shutterstock_1466239997

Charter: the Greek Isles

If there’s one charter destination that’s impossible to tire of, it’s Greece. This Mediterranean jewel is simply so large, so varied and so special it’s impossible to relegate it to just a single checkbox on a list. This past year a group of friends and I chartered from Navigare ...read more

IDECsport_180919_106-2048

IDEC Tri Breaks Tea Route Record

Francis Joyon and his crew aboard the maxi-tri IDEC Sport have set a new record for the “tea route” from Hong Kong to London of just 31 days, 23 hours, 36 minutes. In doing so they bested the previous record set by Italian skipper, Giovanni Soldini aboard the trimaran Maserati ...read more

DawnRileyforSAILmagazine

An Interview with Sailor Dawn Riley

The 2019 sailing documentary Maiden received rave reviews as a human-interest story that featured excellent racing footage and the heartfelt recollections of an all-female team led by then 25-year-old Briton Tracy Edwards. During the 1989-90 Whitbread Round the World race, ...read more

IMG_9978

Charter: More for Your Money

Though summer may not be when you typically think of escaping to a tropical island, it could, in fact, be the perfect time for a charter holiday. Despite popular perception, the Caribbean isn’t hot as Hades during summer. In fact, the highs vary by only about 8 degrees F ...read more

Riley-and-Elayna,-Sailing-La-Vagabonde

Sailing in the YouTube Era

At the risk of both dating myself and being accused of gross hyperbole, I will say this: it was a bit like 1964 when the Beatles first landed in New York. What I’m referring to is last fall’s U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis. Playing the role of the Beatles were not one, but two ...read more

Bill-Hatfield-copy-1024x665

Cruising: Solo Circumnavigators

There seems to be no age limit for solo-circumnavigators. Not so long ago we had Californian Jeff Hartjoy set a record for the oldest American to sail around the globe solo, nonstop and unassisted, at the age of 70. A few months ago, 77-year-old Briton Jeanne Socrates became the ...read more