PIP Hare tests the first Jean­neau sun odyssey 490, the eighth gen­er­a­tion of its Hugely Pop­u­lar cruis­ing range

Yachting World - - Front Page -

The bat­tle flags flut­ter from the forestays of the an­gu­lar, squat, pow­er­ful-look­ing off­shore thor­ough­breds dot­ted around the har­bour at Les Sables d’olonnes, western France. Sit­ting among this gath­er­ing of off­shore greatness, in the home of the Vendée Globe race, is the first of the eighth gen­er­a­tion Sun Odyssey range, the SO490, and on first im­pres­sions there is lit­tle doubt that th­ese rac­ing hull shapes have in­flu­enced this lat­est 49-footer (43ft LWL) from French yard Jean­neau.

The new Sun Odyssey range, which also in­cludes the sim­i­lar shaped 41ft SO440, does not em­brace change in a half-hearted way. Philippe Briand, Jean­neau’s long favoured de­signer, has taken a bold new ap­proach, cre­at­ing a boat that de­mands to be no­ticed. Viewed bow on, full-length chines are vis­i­ble, hard and an­gu­lar, some 40cm above the wa­ter­line, with near ver­ti­cal top­sides above. The top­sides meet the deck via a broad cham­fer, the bow sec­tion is vis­i­bly wide cre­at­ing a chunky look, with the 4.5m max­i­mum beam car­ried all the way aft to the tran­som.

From the side, this ‘dar­ing to be dif­fer­ent’ ap­proach stands out fur­ther. As your eye moves aft, the cham­fered edges subtly blend to a to­erail. Then, abaft the mast, there is a rad­i­cal change from pre­vi­ous deck lay­outs. The new SO490 has a to­tally orig­i­nal ‘walk-around deck’ con­cept that per­mits a sailor to exit the cock­pit and walk to the fore­deck with­out step­ping up onto lock­ers or over coam­ings. This is achieved by slop­ing the side decks from mid­ships down to the tran­som, which is at the same level as the cock­pit sole.

When Briand de­signed the deck lay­out for

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