Packing a big punch
The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 319 is a new entry-level cruiser that packs all the best of a big cruiser in an affordable package
The new Sun Odyssey 319 sails into the market like a breath of fresh air. These days it seems most new boats fall into the 40- to 50- and even 60-foot range, with price tags to match. This new 30-footer from Jeanneau offers big-boat styling and comfort in an easy-to-sail package with an affordable price.
I had a chance to sail the first SO 319 to hit the States following the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, on an unseasonably warm fall afternoon. Jeanneau America is located in the sailing enclave of Eastport, a neighborhood of sail lofts, marinas, ship chandleries and the Annapolis Maritime Museum. The docks outside of the headquarters on Back Creek were packed with all of the company’s latest models still sporting their boat show signs and flags, and I spotted the SO 319 immediately.
The SO 319 sports a gentle spring in its sheerline and a sleek cabinhouse. Like its larger sisters, a hard-chine hull offers improved stability and more interior space. The hull is solid fiberglass, with a balsa-cored deck and the hull-to-deck joint is bonded and screwed for strength.
The test boat had the optional swing centerboard in a cast-iron ballasted stub keel that draws 2 feet 5 inches up, and 5 feet 6 inches down. The water at the dock was deep enough to leave it down, but the shoal draft with the centerboard up would make tucking into skinny anchorages a breeze. A 6-foot fixed keel is also an option.
The 11-foot, 4-inch beam is carried aft, making room for a large cockpit. The cockpit table folds down on the centerline helm station, opening up the cockpit for sailing. The long teak seats and cockpit floor are rare on an entry level boat, but these kinds of lux touches were evident throughout.
The starboard side lazarette runs the full length of the cockpit and is accessed by two hatches. It is voluminous, with room for docklines, fenders, water toys and even sails. The propane locker is to port and there are lockers in the cockpit floor with access to the steering system. There is clever storage space at every turn, a welcome addition on a smaller boat where space is at a premium.
The open transom makes boarding a tender easy and a long stainless folding swim ladder is to starboard. (A fold-down closed transom is an option.) It’s an easy walk to the bow, with wide side decks, inboard jib tracks and the shrouds outboard. The stainless anchor roller extends the Delta anchor far enough forward to keep it from dinging the plumb stem.
In the why-didn’t-someone-think-of-it-before category is Jeanneau’s ingenious solution to the question of where to store the companionway washboard. A compartment is located in a slot underneath the coachroof, and you simply lay the board on top of the hatch and slide both forward into the slot.