Jeanneau 42 CC I have always rather liked the sailing yachts by Jeanneau. We sailed two last fall, the Jeanneau 42 CC with a center cockpit, and the Sun Odyssey 52.2 with an aft cockpit.
All Jeanneau monohulls are now being built in France. The hulls are well constructed of solid fiberglass with an extensive grid of longitudinal stringers and athwartship frames, and the decks are fabricated of fiberglass and Baltek balsa core. Notably, these boats do not utilize interior fiberglass hull and deck liners for structural reinforcement.
There are many opinions on these liners both pro and con, and while some degree of fiberglass liner may be a good thing, too much can have several drawbacks not the least of which is reduced access to the inside hull and deck skins. The Jeanneau people use a minimum of fiberglass liner, choosing alternatively to use wood and other materials to complete what are very nice-looking interiors aboard their boats.
Starting with the Jeanneau 42 CC, like so many center-cockpit boats under 42 feet the aft cabin is wonderful and guest accommodations are somewhat squeezed. This is fine by our criteria because we assume that the primary user will be a couple who may live onboard for extended periods. The owner’s berth is 65 inches wide on centerline, and the cushions are split so that a centerline lee cloth can be fitted when at sea. The companionway ladder is well done with even steps that curve up on the ends for footing when heeled. The galley is located in the passageway to the aft stateroom. It is a good working galley with huge refrigerator capacity, though I would prefer that its front-opening doors be oriented athwartship so that one is never faced with opening the unit and looking uphill at its contents. The large round sinks are noteworthy.
While three sides of the engine are easy to get at, I could not find what I would consider sufficient access to port. The keel is cast iron and the bolts are glassed over on the inside, both of which I consider to be negatives. I like the stainless tie bar chain plates that descend from the deck overhead through the main cabin because they are clean, efficient and strong, and permit a more versatile interior. The main cabin has two very comfortable built-in chairs to port, however, as we view boats for use at sea, I would have preferred to see a settee in this location that could also serve as an added sea berth.
On deck, I like the transom steps and the commodious deck lockers in the hips port and starboard. The cockpit is a little cramped, common aboard the smaller center-cockpit boats. As a compensating benefit, jib sheets and mainsail controls are within easy reach of the helmsman. The windshield may be an effective starting point for a dodger, but it doesn’t really add to the ambience of the cockpit and, in fact, the factory plans to discontinue the windshield on future boats going to the Caribbean.
On to the Jeanneau 52.2. Now this is a big boat. She would appear to be oriented more toward chartering and entertaining than toward serious long-term cruising or living aboard. In fact, for charter she is available in a four-stateroom, four-head layout plus crew’s quarters forward. In the version available without crew’s quarters, I really like what you get in the way of deck access to the large forepeak locker. This big locker will harbor a great deal of clutter away from the living area. The owner’s berth forward is 60 inches wide. The aft guest berths are 62 inches wide. If this were my boat, I would convert one of the aft staterooms to an office or a workshop. Or better yet, I would move the galley from its midship "cook’s back to the guests" location to an aft corner by the main companionway ladder.
Both of these Jeanneau yachts have very nice electrical panels, simple to get behind to inspect or maintain, with circuits numbered and covers over the 110-volt service. On deck, I prefer an aft cockpit when sailing and the one on the 52 is huge. The dual helms are great, and the jib sheet winches can be reached by the helmsman without his blocking winch access from a crewmember at the same time. The cockpit table is big and strong with handrails, strong foot bracing and even a night-light built in. As is the case with the 42, I noted no cabin top handrails forward of the mast.
The issue of center cockpit vs. aft cockpit is quite complicated and may be one of the more important decisions a cruiser can make. There is no question that center cockpits permit excellent aft owners’ cabins. But on smaller boats, because the aft stateroom and head take up a formidable amount of hull length, the rest of the boat, including cockpit, galley, saloon and guest stateroom gets pushed forward and to some degree compromised.
If you’re buying either of these two Jeanneau yachts -- or for that matter almost any other cruising yacht offered today on the production boat market -- I strongly recommend that you take into account Bill Lee’s "three most important speed-producing factors." First, I urge you to opt for a folding or feathering propeller in place of the less expensive fixed propellers that often come as standard equipment. Folding or feathering propellers can increase sailing speeds in the range of one-half to three-quarters of a knot under most sailing conditions and make any boat tack better too. Second, I recommend highly a "classic" conventional-hoist mainsail as opposed to those mainsails that roll up in the mast. Classic mainsails have slides, a headboard, real battens and, hopefully, lazy jacks or a Dutchman system to control the canvas when dropping or reefing. Mainsails that roll up in the mast are at a distinct performance disadvantage relative to the classic mainsail, because the mast is heavier which increases weight aloft, and because the sail is smaller with no headboard, battens or roach. Third, most boats offered today, including Jeanneaus, offer several different draft options. Buy as much draft as you can stand. While sailors have dreams of being anchored in beautiful shallow coves, the reality is that deeper draft gives markedly superior performance out in the real ocean. Deeper draft provides a better aspect ratio for the keel and better lift-to-drag, which are major contributors to speed upwind. Also, a shoal-draft boat must have more ballast to produce the required righting moment; hence, it is heavier and slower all the time. The bottom line is that real draft equals better performance.
Back to our Jeanneau yachts. I consider both the Jeanneau 42 CC at $233,000 and the Jeanneau 52.2 at $399,000 to represent great value. These are essentially sailaway prices with sails, minimum instruments, bottom paint and commissioning. If you want a solid boat, and to the extent that either of these meets your intended needs, they deserve your serious consideration.
Jeanneau 42 Center Cockpit Specifications
LOA: 42’1" (12.8 m.)
LWL: 33’2" (10.1 m.)
Beam: 13’6" (4.1 m.)
Draft (deep): 6’7" (2.0 m.)
Draft (shoal): 5’5" (1.65 m.)
Ballast (deep): 5,742 lbs. (2,605 kgs.)
Ballast (shoal): 6,270 lbs. (2,844 kgs.)
Disp: 18,920 lbs. (8,572 kgs.)
Sail area (100%): 733 sq.ft. (68.1 sq.m.)
Mast above water: 57’6" (17.6 m.)
Ballast/Disp: .30 (deep); .33 (shoal)
Fuel: 60 gal. (227 ltr.)
Water: 120 gal. (454 ltr.)
Holding: 2 x 10 gal. (2 x 37 ltr.)
Auxiliary: Yanmar 63-hp diesel
Cabin headroom: 6’5" (1.96 m.)
Designer: Guy Ribadeau Dumas
Base price: $224,000
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 52.2 Specifications
LOA: 50’6" (15.4 m.)
LWL: 41’8" (12.7 m.)
Beam: 15’11" (4.85 m.)
Draft: 5’11" (1.8 m.)
Ballast: 12,320 lbs. (5,580 kgs.)
Displacement: 33,000 lbs. (14,970 kgs.)
Sail area: 1,122 sq. ft. (104.2 sq.m.)
Mast above water: 68’0" (20.72 m.)
Fuel: 100 gal. (378 ltr.)
Water: 265 gal. (1,003 ltr.)
Holding: 10 gal/head (38 ltr/head)
Auxiliary: Yanmar 88-hp diesel
Cabin headroom: 6’7" (2.0 m.)
Designer: Bruce Farr
Base price: $359,900
128 Howard St.
New London, CT 06320
Phone (860) 444-2072
Fax (860) 442-8789