TESTED: JEANNEAU SUN ODYSSEY 490
PIP Hare tests the first Jeanneau sun odyssey 490, the eighth generation of its Hugely Popular cruising range
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