The new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 41DS was launched at several of the big European shows recently and the new cruiser’s Australian debut will be the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show later this month. The entry-level model of the Sun Odyssey Deck Saloon range – in a fleet comprising the 44DS, 45DS and 50DS – the new 41 offers cruising sailors space and comfort but at a size a couple can still easily handle.
Jeanneau’s Deck Saloon concept raises the interior to allow those inside views through the company’s signature teardrop side windows which, combined with portlights, gives a very airy feel below decks. It’s all about the owner in the two-cabin layout with the entire stern section devoted to the king-size bed, both cabins having en suite ablutions. On deck it means the cockpit is also raised, about 35cm higher than its cousin the Sun Odyssey 469 that was moored alongside us before my test sail in Cannes.
I tested its predecessor the DS42 in 2010, finding very little to complain about and a lot to like, so the latest model was expected to be similar. However, the new 41DS has rung the changes, starting with the 40½-foot hull which has been transformed from the original Marc Lombard design to Philippe Briand. In fact it is the well proved Sun Odyssey 409 hull that won 2011 European Yacht of the Year in its category, along with its rig, keel and rudder.
The fairly large cockpit is dominated by the substantial wood-clad table that some may say is too big but it’s good for bracing against in a seaway. Deep coamings protect you from the weather and with the optional sprayhood plus bimini will make for a good cruising setup.
A conventional winch layout has two Harken 40s on the cabin top for dealing with all halyards emerging from the guttering either side, while the H46 primaries are farther aft within reach of the binnacles; somewhat too near for a dedicated trimmer maybe but good for me when I easily trimmed and steered during our sail test. Thankfully avoiding the convention followed by some competitors of relegating compasses to obscure places the 41DS’s are prominently displayed, along with the Raymarine ST70 instruments and centralised HybridTouch plotter on the table end. An open transom with stepped bulkheads leads to the swimladder.
Plenty of sidedeck space allows moving forward with ease, where flush hatches and hidden halyards give a clean look. Anchoring is well taken care of with twin rollers leading back to the below-deck Quick 1000W vertical windlass (with handheld remote and manual handle) housed in a deep chain locker. Other good points include a sturdy wooden toerail, oversized cleats including midships, and optional teak deck, which is lovely if you can budget for it.
Our review boat was fitted with the Performance sail plan: a Mylar/taffeta tri-radial 106 per cent furling genoa and similarly constructed 70m² Code-0 on a lightweight furler. The high-aspect ratio rig can also fly a 109m² asymmetric spinnaker off the pulpit and there’s a self-tacking jib available which is a good option for general cruising when shorthanded but underpowered for tropical sailing. As standard the mainsail is an in-mast furling type, confirming the cruising credentials of this boat, and the German mainsheet system allows trimming from both sides. Interestingly the alloy Sparcraft rig is supported by a carbon PBO twin backstay, while the inboard shrouds were conventional wire with tie rods connected into the internal structural grid. A solid boom vang completes a good rig setup allowing plenty of versatility in the sail wardrobe.
Moving below – I’m very pleased to see an adjustable-height washboard on the main hatch rather than the in vogue saloon doors – shows a traditional looking interior, but first looks can be misleading. The views from both the large side windows and rectangular portlights is what the Deck Saloon concept is all about – and there’s 10 opening hatches – providing the 41DS with good natural light, and there are stacks more features too.
For this model the company engaged interior marine design specialist Franck Darnet to add some je ne sais quoi. Along with in-house specialist Olivier Flahault, they have created some smart but functional details. These start with the chaise lounge-style sofa with angled cushions that transforms into a berth, a movable stool at its end – although I’m not sure how this stool would work at sea for the skipper to use at the adjoining navigation station. The latter is a sizeable table with storage but bulkhead space is minimal for plotters and the flatscreen television shares this space as well. Under the table was the optional wine fridge, but this could be a Jeanneau-supplied mini dishwasher or washer-dryer instead. Other good points include sturdy leather-covered grabrails and wooden handrails running fore and aft.
Opposite in the dinette the telescopic table leg converts the area into lounging or sleeping space. Overhead, touch-latch cupboards look chic while white-lacquered ones in the L-shaped galley match the similarly coloured double Corian sink and cover, which transforms it into a large working surface. A twin-burner stove/oven with nearby microwave and 185lt top-opening fridge takes good care of cooking basics. Wood finish is walnut with Alpi elsewhere, all nicely sanded and rounded at the fiddles and door jams. The marine ply flooring is laminated in a type of Formica with wood-grain grooves, which looks to be rugged enough but I would question its non-slip properties when wet. Lighting is sensibly LED throughout giving an effective but atmospheric glow in the evening with similar spotlights at the berths.
The owner’s cabin dominates the layout of this boat encompassing the entire aft section behind the main hatch. It features an enlarged double berth (1.97 x 1.9 x 1.2m) – a major selling point of this design, according to NSW distributor Lee Condell of Performance Boating. He adds the boat’s predecessor, the 42DS, had been a major seller in the Australian region. The opening portlight in the transom greatly helps to lighten this otherwise dark bed space, while tasteful lamps lend to the comfy ambience. Infills on either side create yet more lounging room and headroom in the walkway is 6ft-plus. More ticks include twin wardrobes and other drawers providing plenty of storage for prolonged cruising.
There’s access from here as well to the engine filters which, combined with the front under-ladder access, ensures the 40hp Yanmar’s service points are reached. Mains power controls are beside the berth under the cushion side infills. Batteries are twin 110amp/h, serviced by a 60amp/h charger, and there’s room for 4kW Onan generator to run white goods at sea including the optional air-con. The en suite is also sizeable with voluminous sink with integrated work top. A plexiglass door separates the moulded head from the tall shower area, while lacquered cabinetry is easily cleaned and there’s the obligatory opening hatch.
The forward berth has a simple but effective flip-up headboard allowing you to rest with feet forward; the safest way to sleep when underway. You step down to both fore and aft berths from the raised saloon, which can be a hazard if forgotten when striding around. The fore hatch is a curved window that was developed by Jeanneau in conjunction with Lewmar, allowing occupants to have some degree of forward viewing. Ablutions are also similar in standard to the owner’s.
The hard-chined Philippe Briand hull is handlaid in solid laminates with an injection moulded deck. Interestingly the lining, traditionally glassed-in afterwards, is now incorporated in the hull mould which should increase rigidity. The raised saloon allows deep bilges, a good safety feature in case of flooding but also an ideal spot that’s tall enough to house upright wine bottles which benefit from the stable temperature found here. The keel is a conventional cast iron fin, in deep or shoal versions, with deep spade rudder. Overall construction and finishing is of a good standard throughout.
ON THE WATER
Motoring out of the harbour I cranked the 40hp Yanmar up to full revs (3200rpm) and watched as our SOG climbed to 8.1kts on the Raymarine HybridTouch, with the three-bladed Flexofold prop causing little vibration or turbulence on the twin stainless steel Lewmar steering wheels.
Setting sail went without a hitch. I climbed on the coachroof to unzip the sailbag from its lazy jacks then threw a few turns around the electric Harken 40 to hoist the main. Similarly, the big Code Zero unfurled easily once the twin furling lines had been released from their sturdy jammers at the cockpit. As on all recent Jeanneaus the sail plan and running rigging are robust and effective.
Seated comfortably on the teak gunwale I settled in to make the best of the fickle 5.1-knot breeze and was impressed as the 41DS slid along to reach 4.2kts hard on the wind at 40 degrees. As we slid between the islands off Cannes, glancing to see if actor Hugh Grant was at home in his mansion, the pressure increased to a more usable 8.7kts which sped us along at 6.7kts. Most cruisers would be expending diesel in these conditions so the Code Zero is a worthwhile option, and when tacking this relatively lightweight sail slid easily through the slot between it and the genoa.
The Lewmar cable linkage gave enough feel and response to make steering enjoyable and the teak cockpit sole was surefooted when moving between the helms, the low side being the best position for seeing the telltales on the Code Zero. Turning our bow away from the Antibes peninsula I threw in a few gybes, easily taking in some of the German mainsheet while the 41DS turned speedily as I spun the wheel, with only a few extra tugs on the Code Zero sheet to pull it around as well.
On a forty-footer it’s arguable how essential Jeanneau’s 360 Docking is but it definitely reduces the stress of berthing in a busy Med’ marina when the Mistral is blowing, as I found out. The result of a collaboration with ZF Marine and Yanmar, 360 Docking is available across a wide range of Jeanneaus and the uptake rate has been strong with about 70 per cent of new owners choosing it, according to my host for the day Erik Stromberg, director of product development. Taking 1.6 seconds to swivel the prop into the desired direction, the joystick is moved at 90-degree angles then twisted to increase the revs – a very intuitive system. It’s particularly useful for holding station. Just add a touch of bowthruster going sideways and no dramas should ensue.
The 41DS is very much a sailor’s boat and doesn’t let clever aesthetics cloud the fact that everything should work effectively and be robust.
› Dedicated owner’s design
› Versatile sail plan
› Quality throughout
› Rather dim owner’s suite
› Cabin flooring potentially slippery
[TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS… ]
A quality cruising boat with sturdy deck fittings, a fast hull, sheltered cockpit and comfortable accommodation all goes to make the Sun Odyssey 41 Deck Saloon a capable cruiser.
SPECIFICATIONS: JEANNEAU SUN ODYSSEY 41 DECK SALOON
LENGTH 12.34m (overall);11.98m (hull); 11m (waterline)
DRAFT 2.1m (standard); 1.55m (shoal)
WEIGHT 7650kg (light ship)
PEOPLE (NIGHT) 4/6+2
RATED HP 40
TOTAL AREA 66m² (standard)
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Originally published in Trade-a-Boat #439, May 2013.