Jeanneau Yachts has been in operation for over 50 years, and they’ve been building models in their popular Sun Odyssey line for over two decades. Like all production boatbuilders, and especially the older, long-established ones, they refresh yachts in various size ranges at fairly regular intervals in time to reflect changes in taste and technology, and to keep attracting new buyers. Over the years, Jeanneau has built at least seven or eight iterations of their 40-foot offering, so it’s only fair to ask, how different can each successive version be?
The answer, stated emphatically with their new Sun Odyssey 410, is that an evolved, inspired design can be incredibly unique and atypical of everything that preceded it.
The 410 is the third in a trio of new models — the 440 and the 490 are the others — in what the company is calling its Walk-Around series, with easy access from the cockpit to the coach roof via a sloping, outboard side deck that bridges the two. It’s an ingenious arrangement that we’ve fully endorsed, naming the 490 our 2019 Import Boat of the Year and the 410 the year’s Best Midsize Cruiser Over 38 Feet. However, the 410 is the first to be designed by Marc Lombard, with assistance from Jean-Marc Platon (the other pair is from the board of Philippe Briand).
Lombard was clearly obliged to incorporate the side-deck arrangement, but otherwise was free to put his own stamp on the yacht.
Aesthetically, and also from a performance perspective, the most obvious departure from its sister-ships is the 410’s wave-piercing bow that rakes aft from the waterline ever so subtly and even clears the drink by a few inches at its leading edge. The idea is to reduce drag, and coupled with a hard chine that runs nearly the length of the yacht, to promote stability and speed. Lombard wants you to sail fast but not at the cost of excessive heeling. Yes, sailing is meant to be quick and spirited, but it’s not supposed to terrify your family or friends. We can relate.
The 410, which has a base price of $275,000, boasts a no-nonsense profile. The integrated bowsprit looks sporty and is also functional, housing the ground tackle and serving as the tack point for a code-zero furler or an asymmetric kite. The gooseneck for the boom, part of the high-aspect rig, is lower than you’d expect in the style of the shorthanded Open 60 race boats where Lombard made his name. Three hull windows to each side break up the relatively tall expanse of the hull’s topsides and even the proportions with the low-slung coach roof — as well as providing cool visuals from down below. A boarding station and swim platform is integrated into the drop-down transom when in the lowered position. While there’s nothing traditional about its mien, I find it quite interesting and fetching.
Down below, there’s been a concerted effort to keep the weight low and centered, with regards to tankage, manifolds, storage and so forth; they’re not kidding about the stability thing. You can order a boat with two or three cabins, or opt for a large technical room aft to port like the layout on our test boat, which I felt was a strong feature. The generous galley to port is just aft of a central daybed that is basically the signature element of the saloon, and another one I liked. Counting the long settee opposite, it’s nice that there’s room for a couple to have their own comfy space to stretch out with a good book when the hook’s down.
We tested the boat on a windy Chesapeake Bay afternoon, with northerly winds gusting into the low 20s, and the retractable bow thruster was very useful leaving the tight slip. A performance package with taller rig, better sails, a folding prop and so on is available, but we sailed the standard package and it was just fine. Upwind, with a reefed main and a couple turns on the furling jib, we managed just under 7 knots hard on the breeze and just over that number when we cracked off on a reach. There are twin wheels and dual rudders, and the steering could not have been sweeter. You just wanted to drive and drive some more.
So, yes, thumbs-up on the 410. For Jeanneau, this Sun Odyssey suggests there is something new under their sun.
Herb McCormick is CW’s executive editor.