Jeanneau’s design brief for the SO 49 Performance was “fast cruising with more performance while retaining luxurious comfort offshore.” After a close inspection and robust test sail, I feel Jeanneau hit close to the mark above-decks: This boat is seriously fun to sail, providing stellar performance on all points of trim. Twin wheels, excellent cockpit ergonomics, appropriately sized gear, and a simplified deck layout make the generous, 1,313-square-foot working sail plan fine-tunable yet tamable. The SO 49 P tracks well, stands to its canvas, and displays no penchant for broaching.
Belowdecks is comfortable, functional, and versatile in that removable bulkheads can convert either the forward or aft twin cabins into voluminous staterooms. However, that feature, along with the nav station’s unusual S-shaped seat, may not appeal to all. Because the 49 is built as a high-volume production boat to an attractive price point, it has an iron keel instead of lead, and laminates instead of solid hardwoods. But I also found minor issues that relate more to quality control than cost, such as a wiring service loop too short to allow access to the back of the electrical panel.
In broader terms, the 49 P’s stout deck hardware, an amazing 11 ventilation hatches, good anchoring systems, and ample stowage make this boat suitable for near-offshore cruising. With some modifications, such as handholds going forward and stouter latches on an enormous aft lazarette, one can safely venture farther afield.
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 49 P Specs
LOA: 49′ 1″
LWL: 42′ 3″
Beam: 14′ 8″
Draft: 7′ 0″
Sail Area: 1,027 sq. ft.
Displacement: 27,888 lb.
Water: 185 gal.
Fuel: 63 gal.
Engine: 75-hp. Yanmar
Designer: Phillipe Briand
Jeanneau America, (410) 280-9400, www.jeanneauamerica.com