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Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40 DS

1998 February 5

Performance cruiserr

The Sun Odyssey 40 DS is a raised-saloon boat designed for two-couple cruising. The designer is Daniel Andrieu and the builder is Jeanneau. The boat is an interesting combination of both performance and comfort features.

Let's leave the aesthetic question aside for a while and concentrate on the more objective elements of this design. The hull has a fast look to it with minimal bow overhang. The stern is broad, as is typical with French designs, but there is enough counter aft to help prevent this design from dragging its transom at low speeds. The displacement is surprisingly low at 15,875 pounds for a D/L of 191.6. Beam is generous but not exaggerated.

The fin keel has a relatively high aspect ratio and a long, low-VCG flattened bulb. Draft is 6 feet, 5 inches. The rudder is a bladelike spade.

The interior in plan form is conventional with a double berth forward, double quarter berth aft and two heads. There is the option of a single quarter berth to starboard just aft of the galley. It's a comfortable-looking layout that, from what I can see in the drawings, does not have a chart table. The small seats with table to port could work well as a nav station.

The conventional interior is encapsulated in an unconventional deck. If you find the large, raised cabinhouse awkward to the eye, hold judgment until you step below and see the benefits of this wrap-around, glass-type house. I'm not crazy about stocky-looking cabinhouses, but I think the light and visibility below will make up for the challenging aesthetics.

There are two cockpits available. You can have the cockpit with the wheel mounted catamaran- and powerboat-style on the aft face of the cabintrunk, or you can go with a pedestal-type wheel in the center of the cockpit. The advantage of the bulkhead-mounted wheel is that this leaves the rest of the cockpit wide open. With the wheel forward, the helmsman also will get some protection from the raised cabinhouse. Given the performance look of this hull, I would prefer to sail this boat from a wheel aft so that I could move from side to side depending upon which tack I was on.

Typical of Jeanneaus, the deck is beautifully tooled and sculpted. There are lots of hatches but few opening ports.

The 40 DS has a standard, two-spreader sloop rig with a slight sweep to the spreaders and forward lowers. The SA/D is 17.29 and that's just fine for a cruising boat. I don't like midboom sheeting and this very short traveler is about as far forward as I would want to see it. I would prefer to see no traveler at all and go with pad eyes for the mainsheet located at the aft corners of the cabinhouse. A good mechanical vang should be able to handle all the down vectors required to get a good mainsail shape.

The 40 DS comes with the option of a 40-horsepower auxiliary engine or a 78-horsepower engine. Go with the bigger engine. No client has ever come back to me and said his engine is too big.