To be honest, I probably would’ve missed it had it not been pointed out to me. But Boat of the Year judge Bill Lee saw it straightaway. “Check that out,” he said, gesturing to the deck-stepped Selden spar on the new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 42 DS. “They’ve got a separate groove to accommodate the luff of the storm trysail.” We looked at one another and nodded approvingly. Very clever. Very cool.
Before I stepped off the boat, I’d find myself saying the same thing again and again.
The 42 DS is Jeanneau’s latest, and smallest, swing at a deck-saloon sailboat–a 49-footer and a 54-footer are previous incarnations–and it’s very safe to say the company has the concept well figured out. Like its siblings, the 42 DS features a sloping raised deck to accommodate the distinctive cat’s-eye windows that are the centerpiece of the boat’s aesthetic profile.
One of the nice things about this 42-footer is that they didn’t try and do too much with it. The 42 DS has a nice double cabin forward, the airy saloon/nav area/galley in the middle, and a totally inviting owner’s cabin aft. That’s it. Oh, yes, there are a couple of heads, one tucked up front in the V-berth cabin and another to starboard, at the foot of the companionway (which can be accessed from the central living space or the owner’s quarters), but both have been integrated into the interior plan so well that they’re in no way intrusive.
From stem to stern, the 42 DS has lots of smart little features. The forward cabin boasts a well-thought-out and roomy hanging locker, with generous storage shelves included. Tanks are stashed under the V-berth. The laminated-wood floor is both handsome and durable. The Scheiber electrical panel graphically displays voltage and fuel and water levels. There’s an abundance of handholds, as there should be in such a beamy boat, and they’re stylish as well. The port and starboard settees will also work as excellent sea berths. In the aft owner’s stateroom, the 77-inch-wide bed (“berth” doesn’t do it justice) is something you won’t see on many 42-foot sailboats. By pulling a couple of pins at its base, the companionway-ladder module can be removed for excellent engine access (though it might be a bit of a challenge stashing the stairs, especially under way). The engine starter can be serviced via a watertight hatch in the central head.
We sailed hull number five of the production run in breezes up to 20 knots, the 42 DS made an effortless 8 knots close-reaching with main and full genoa. In the puffs, the boat was definitely overpowered and required the helmsman to bear away to keep it on its feet, but a few turns on the Profurl headsail furler addressed the matter. Our test boat was equipped with the 5-foot-2-inch shoal keel and a fixed, three-bladed propeller that will be replaced with a folding prop, which makes a lot of sense for a vessel with very good sailing potential. There is space in the aft locker to port for a generator, though the owner has no plans to install one at this time.
Steering the boat from one of the two twin wheels was fun and satisfying. There’s a wealth of Harken hardware employed in the deck layout. Our boat was fitted out with a radar and chart plotter right at the helm station; there were no repeaters down below. To me, if you’re going with one set of instruments, this seemed a bit backward. But to each his own; I did appreciate having the information at hand as we negotiated the thin water off Annapolis.
Of all the larger production builders, I’ve always had a soft spot for Jeanneau. Inspecting the new Sun Odyssey 42 DS did nothing to dissuade my opinion.
Herb McCormick is a Cruising World editor at large.
JEANNEAU SUN ODYSSEY 42 DS
LOA 42′ 5″ (12.93 m.)
LWL 38′ 0″ (11.58 m.)
Beam 13′ 6″ (4.11 m.)
Draft (deep/shoal) 6′ 11″/5′ 2″ (2.11/1.57 m.)
Sail Area (135%) 872 sq. ft. (81.0 sq. m.)
Displacement 18,080 lb. (8,201 kg.)
Water 94 gal. (355 l.)
Fuel 34 gal. (130 l.)
Engine 53-hp. Yanmar
Designer Marc Lombard/Garroni Designers/Jeanneau Design
Base Price $207,021
Jeanneau America (410) 280-9400 www.jeanneauamerica.com