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 large coachroof windows and two fixed windows in the hull flood the cabin with light. But what really makes the interior feel open is the 6-foot 4-inch headroom running throughout, dropping just an inch in the forward cabin.
The 319 is simply laid out, but has everything you need for cruising. Finished in beechwood, it has solid wood joinerwork and the overall fit and finish is impressive. Two cabins, one forward with a very large V-berth and an aft double, have hanging lockers and storage shelves. The saloon has two full-length settees that would make excellent sea berths. The fold-down table sits over the centerboard trunk and can comfortably seat six.
Use of a saildrive allowed Jeanneau to move the engine aft for better weight placement, and engine access is underneath the lifting companionway steps. The head is to starboard and the L-shaped galley to port. Both are small, but adequate for the size of the boat. There is plenty of storage in the galley, but counter space is limited, and it features a two-burner stove and oven and a top-loading refrigerator. The aft-facing nav desk shares a seat with the aft end of the starboard settee.
The 319 handled crisply under power and the 21-horsepower sail drive had plenty of punch to make heading out a quick trip. It was easy to read the instrument panel at the helm and the primary winches were close at hand to tend the jib. The cooling apparent wind was a relief in the sticky heat, but unfortunately that was the most wind we’d see all day.
Getting under sail was an easy process. All halyards are led aft to a bank of clutches at the aft end of the cabinhouse, and the SO 319 comes with high-quality Harken winches and hardware. The 247-square-foot mainsail set easily, and was sheeted to a single winch to starboard of the companionway. A double-ended German mainsheet arrangement that leads back to the primaries in the cockpit would make singlehanding easier.
Jeanneau offers this boat with different trim levels and packages, a concept similar to the automobile industry. The test boat was set up with the basic sail package, including a self-tacking 240-square-foot jib. The light air not withstanding, I would opt for the performance package that includes the larger main and adjustable backstay. Opting for the bowsprit would also allow you to fly asymmetrical sails such as a code zero and gennaker.
We set off across Chesapeake Bay and the SO 319 felt surprisingly lively given the light conditions, but it made me long for the larger offwind sails and more breeze to really see what this boat could do.
The Sun Odyssey 319 is a smartly designed entry-level cruiser, with all the bells and whistles of a bigger boat but at a size and price that make it perfect for a family or couple looking for a brand-new boat.
LOA 32’1”; LWL 29’9”; Beam 11’4”; Displ. 11,244 lb.; Ballast standard keel 3,638 lb., swing keel 3,638; Draft standard 6’, swing keel up 2’5” down 5’6”; Sail area 487; Fuel 26 gal.; Water 40 gal.; Auxiliary 21-hp sail drive
Base boat price: $122,500
105 Eastern Ave. Ste. 203
Annapolis, Maryland 21403