You cant help but be impressed with the way Jeanneau puts together a 40-footer. Design considerations are balanced so that aesthetics, performance and amenity enjoy equal emphasis. Construction is optimized for solidity and strength. Appointments are sensitively addressed. Finish work is expert and clean. A typical late-model Jeanneau draws on years of careful and studied product development, and it shows in what these boats look like and how they sail. Certainly it shows in the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 45.1, a graceful cruiser with a modern disposition.
The 45.1 sports a tall, high-aspect masthead rig built by Sparcraft and held up with continuous wire stays and hefty fore and aft lowers. The section is deck stepped, a proven Jeanneau staple, supported by a sturdy compression post below and bolstered with bulkhead and cabin top structural reinforcement. Chain plates are secured with stainless rod to the transverse component of the hull grid. Standard are an in-mast furling main and a recessed jib furler at the stemhead.
Jeanneau hull construction features solid glass with Kevlar reinforcement hand laid in isophthalic polyester resin. Longitudinal stringers fully bonded-in provide hull rigidity, and substantial transverse members also bonded-in serve as floors to carry keel and rig loads and to render the underbody as unified and sound as a rock. The deck is cored with end-grain balsa. This tapers to solid glass outboard where the deck flange is mated to the inturned hull flange at the hull-deck joint. Hull and deck are affixed with an adhesive-sealant, then the joint itself is finished with an aluminum sheer extrusion that incorporates a toe rail and rub rail; this element is fastened mechanically with thru-bolts. The keel is made of cast iron and bolted externally through the vessels built-up flooring with no less than ten galvanized steel fasteners threaded into steel keel inserts.
On deck the 45.1 is clean and functional. Nearly 15 feet of beam brought well aft provide plenty of real estate for open-air lounging and allow the side decks to remain wide and easily negotiated; the inboard location of the chain plates abets the clear path forward. Heavy-duty double bow rollers lead ground tackle fair to a horizontal windlass recessed below deck level in the top portion of the anchor locker. As noted, the jib furler is similarly recessed, which adds up to a remarkably clean-looking foredeck. Just aft of the anchor locker is an enormous watertight deck locker for running rigging, dock lines, fenders and the like; it is accessed through a large hatch and is equipped with its own ladder.
The cabin top is so low-profile as to appear nearly flush, penetrated by more than 20 opening ports and hatches. This certainly promotes ventilation below, but keeping track of whats open and whats closed is apt to be a frustrating exercise when it comes time to dog the boat down — especially if you have to do so in a hurry. Certainly those for whom any hole in a boat is a potential weak link might question the efficacy of this arrangement.
Sail-handling cordage is led aft to the cockpit through organizers and jammers on the cabin top. A social and focal point of the boat, the cockpit falls into that category called Really Big, with large lockers beneath the seats, room in comfort for at least eight, a double-leaf folding table amidships and helm stations port and starboard. The backstay is split and the after coaming hinges, allowing unobstructed access to a scooped-out transom all the way aft. Primary winches are located forward near the cabin bulkhead and the main traveler is fixed across the cabin top forward of the companionway, all of which results in an open, unencumbered space.
A low-step bridge deck followed by a lip at the cabin bulkhead gains you the main hatch and companionway below. Angled treads lead you into the saloon. Here a first-class nav station tucked in on the starboard side is opposed by a head installed to port. Two matching cabins, one port and one starboard, reside aft of this beneath the cockpit area in the hips, each with its own hanging locker and storage system. Common areas in the saloon include an oval-shaped settee on the starboard side with storage beneath, and a longitudinal galley area strung along outboard to port. Finally, all the way forward you can choose between an owners double stateroom or two partitioned cabins. A second head is located on the starboard side in this area.
It is worth noting that the execution below and the materials used are top notch. There is plenty of sugary varnished teak, offset by a light-colored, rot-proof headliner and attractive solid-color velvet upholstery. Details such as custom bins, trays and drawers for storage of glassware and utensils point to a thorough interior design approach.
The 451 is powered by a 60-horsepower Yanmar 4JH2TE diesel, easily accessed all the way around by lifting the companionway element and opening engine bay panels in the after cabin(s). It is equipped with a powerful 70-amp alternator that tops off the battery bank secured nearby beneath the port berth aft. The fuel tank with its own shut-off is located beneath the starboard berth aft. A water tank resides forward beneath the owners berth; the freshwater control panel is installed cleverly at the end of the main settee in the saloon. The electrical distribution panel is located conventionally at the nav station. Wiring is neatly bundled and carefully labeled.
Under sail, the boat is solid, quick and responsive. We had the opportunity to go for a ride off southeast Florida last March following the passage of a cold front that left in its wake some gusty northerlies and lumpy seas. Ballast and sail area are nicely balanced, and control from the helm is excellent. The 451 is wide enough to make having port and starboard steering stations a sensible feature, giving you terrific visibility from well outboard on the high side or the low. The hull is weatherly and the ride steady through chop, which allows you to put the boat in the groove and click off the miles handily upwind or on a reach.
Jeanneau has jumped through a lot of hoops here. If you are partial to a sailboat with sophisticated performance, elegant accommodations, a clean look and a reasonable price tag, the Sun Odyssey 451 deserves a look.
LOA: 46’5″ (14.15 m.)
LWL: 38’5″ (11.71 m.)
Beam: 14’8″ (4.48 m.)
Draft (deep): 6’7″ (2.0 m.)
Draft (shoal): 5’3″ (1.6 m.)
Ballast (deep): 7,110 lbs. (3,225 kgs.)
Ballast (shoal): 8,102 lbs. (3,675 kgs.)
Disp (deep) 20,570 lbs. (9,300 kgs.)
Disp (shoal) 21,208 lbs. (9,640 kgs.)
Sail area: 790 sq.ft. (73.4 sq.m.)
Mast above water: 58’3″ (17.8 m.)
Ballast/Disp: .35 (deep), .38 (shoal)
Disp/Length: 162 (deep), 167 (shoal)
SA/Disp: 16.8 (deep), 16.5 (shoal)
Fuel tankage: 54 gal. (205 ltr.)
Water tankage: 158 gal. (600 ltr.)
Auxiliary: Yanmar 4JH2TE 60-hp diesel
Cabin headroom: 6’5″ (1.97 m.)
Designer: Jeanneau Design
Base price: $248,900
128 Howard St.
New London, CT 06320
Phone: (860) 444-2072