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Jeanneau Yachts 55

2024 March 1

Jeanneau keeps pushing the boat design envelope with its breakthrough open-air deck saloon cruiser

The 55 features two main living areas down below. The owner’s suite opens up to the saloon and galley, above.


On deck

The cockpit has three zones. Aft is what I would call the fun zone, with convertible tables that telescope up and down with a push of a button. They can be settees, dining tables, coffee tables or one large lounge pad or a mix. There’s good access to the drop-down transom and swim platform. The swim ladder tucks into a locker when not in use. There’s room in the garage area for water toys, a life raft and extra gear, but it’s not large enough for the dinghy. Nifty davits extend up from the hull when needed to hoist a tender.

The large U-shaped galley has acres of counter, storage and refrigerator-freezer space, and there’s plenty of places to brace while cooking underway in a seaway. 
Bucking the trend of pushing the helms all the way aft, the 55’s twin steering stations are forward of the lounge area, creating a zone for the business side of sailing. All sail control lines are lead aft to electric Harken Rewind winches and navigation instruments are repeated at both helms. Convenient canvas bins outboard of the cockpit keep sheets and lines tidy.

Forward of the helms, underneath the open-air deck saloon hard top are the companionways to the port and starboard guests cabins, each with an en suite head and shower. The lift-up gull-wing doors are easy to operate, and the cabins have standing room with a double berth tucked beneath the cockpit. Just forward and to starboard is a settee with a table that can drop down to create even more lounge space, or a great place to sleep on deck. A small chart table and forward facing seat is to port. This was a popular spot to tuck into while under way and makes a great place for keeping watch with terrific views through the wraparound windshield and the chartplotter and autopilot controls at hand.

The walkaround side decks bring you from the helm stations to the foredeck. There is a giant sun pad if you need even more space for lounging. The test boat was set up with the optional electric roller-furling unit on the genoa, a self-tacking roller-furling jib on an inner forestay and a tack point on the bowsprit for the code 0. There’s a large chain locker with windlass controls and a skipper’s cabin.

Under sail

We powered out of the South Annapolis Yacht Center in time to catch the Spa Creek Drawbridge opening. The bow thrusters and 110-horsepower Yanmar provided plenty of control. The boat is really set up to be sailed shorthanded, and with a push of a few buttons the in-mast furling main and big headsail deployed, and we quickly headed out. 

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