The DS in the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 39 DS stands for deck saloon. In this case that’s a bit of a stretch; the house is higher than on the boat’s racier sister, the 39i, but seating isn’t at deck level. Semantic nitpicking aside, this is a good entry onto the cruising-boat scene. Designed by Marc Lombard/Garroni Designers, the moderate-displacement hull, with an iron-bulbed fin keel and balanced spade rudder, make this boat fun to sail. Even on our light-air test day, we close-reached at nearly the wind speed, and the boat was light on the helm and easy to guide with a flick of the wheel. Under power, we got 7.3 knots at the 2,500-rpm fast cruise and 6.3 knots at a more economical 2,100 rpm.
The Sun Odyssey 39 DS carries its beam almost all the way to the transom. In the nearly triangular-shaped cockpit, seats are angled in, pointing to the companionway. This allows the house to extend back and taper into the coamings, so standing headroom is carried well aft in the interior. Aft of the twin wheels, a couple of steps take you down to a teak-decked swim platform. Comfortable cupped seats allow the helmsman to sit at either wheel with lots of knee room or slide over to see the telltales from the weather side. A centerline cockpit table has room on the aft end for a chart-plotter screen. Harken primary winches are just forward of the helms, making adjusting the jib a breeze without having to disturb the crew, who have plenty of room to stretch out on the long cockpit seats. However, the trimmer will have to get up to adjust the main because the sheet leads to the cabin top.
A raised, molded-in splash rail over the house just forward of the companionway makes mounting the dodger easy and will help keep water from running in on those long beats home. What water does make it past the dodger will be directed away from the cockpit seats by the generous camber on the deckhouse. Halyards, control lines, and the mainsheet are led from the mast under the deck and traveler and then through stoppers to winches on either side of the companionway, where there’s plenty of room to turn a winch handle.
Jeanneau has made walking forward along the wide side decks easier by splitting the upper and lower shrouds, moving the lowers inboard, next to the house, while attaching the uppers to chainplates on the topsides. A deck-stepped Selden rig with discontinuous rigging and an in-mast roller-furling main is standard and provides plenty of power.
The boat comes with a double stainless-steel anchor sprit and an electric chain-and-rope windlass mounted in a large chain locker.
Cupped steps make going below on the steep companionway easier when the boat’s heeled. The Sun Odyssey 39 DS features what real-estate types like to call an “open layout.” The feel is one of airiness thanks to the large deckhouse windows, skylights on either side of the mast support, and ports in the hull that afford diners a good view of the outside world. Teak bulkheads and lockers finished with five coats of satin varnish make the interior attractive, as does the faux teak-and-holly sole. An opening port in the galley and an opening hatch on the centerline should provide good flow-through ventilation. No bulkhead separates the L-shaped galley to starboard from the rest of the saloon, ensuring that the chef will remain a part of belowdecks conversations. A clear splashguard forward of the double sink will stop overenthusiastic dishwashing from affecting those still lazing at the table.
The forward-facing chart table to port has an unobstructed view through the saloon. The electric panel is mounted outboard, and there’s room for a chart plotter and other instruments. Aft of the nav station is the lone head on the boat. Because Jeanneau sensibly didn’t try to cram in a second, the one it did install is large and has a good-size shower area. Aft of the WC is a door leading into a storage area, also accessible through the port cockpit seat. This area is big enough to be another cabin and is well set up with shelves.
On the starboard side, aft of the galley, is the owner’s cabin, with a huge athwartships berth and a large hanging locker. A hull port, an opening port in the house, and an opening hatch provide more than adequate ventilation and light.
In the saloon, there’s room for five or six around the table. The radii in the corners of the settees are good-looking but aren’t so pronounced that they preclude use as a sea berth or a place to nap.
The forward cabin is roomy, with plenty of storage. The berth is wider than most V-berths, with an unusual amount of toe room. Ventilation and light come from a large centerline hatch.
There’s only so much room on a 39-footer, so access to machinery is a bit cramped. The 40-horsepower Yanmar is located behind companionway steps that tilt forward from the bottom. The sides of the engine are accessed through smallish hatches in the aft cabin and the head, and the transmission and back of the engine are accessed through a hatch by the aft berth.
Two couples will be happy cruising on the Sun Odyssey 39 DS. The boat’s performance will please racers, while the amenities throughout will ensure everyone aboard understands that they’re cruising.
Sun Odyssey 39DS Specs
LOA: 38′ 10″ (11.81 m.)
LWL: 35’1″ (10.69 m.)
Beam: 12′ 8″ (3.84 m.)
Draft (deep): 6′ 6″ (1.98 m.)
Sail Area: 667 sq. ft. (62 sq. m.)
Displacement (deep): 15,984 lb. (7,250 kg.)
Water: 94 gal. (356 l.)
Fuel: 34 gal. (129 l.)
Engine: 40-hp. Yanmar
Designer: Marc Lombard/ Garroni Designers
Jeanneau America, (410) 280-9400, www.jeanneauamerica.com
Andrew Burton is a Cruising World associate editor.