French boatbuilder Jeanneau has developed two lines of cruising sailboats, a deck-saloon series that caters to creature comforts and the “i” series, which has more traditional looks and a focus on performance. The 49i is the latest and largest of the latter and shares many of the traits of its smaller, Philippe Briand-designed siblings.
The 49i comes in a couple of flavors. The standard version I sailed has a 7-foot-1-inch cast-iron keel (a 5-foot-7-inch shoal keel is also available), an in-mast furling main, and a 140-percent genoa. An optional performance package adds another 8 inches to the keel and a couple of feet to the mast height and includes a full-batten main and a slightly larger genoa.
Both share the same injected deck mold (reflected by the “i” in the name), hull, and interior.
Topside, twin wheels allow for easy access over the sugar-scoop stern. Cockpit lockers are generous, and a sturdy table makes it easy to entertain or brace oneself when heeled. Decks are wide, and the forward-sloping cabin top is easy to navigate.
Below, an owner can choose a three-cabin/three-head or a four-cabin/four-head layout. An in-line galley dominates the port side, while a nav station/wine locker and U-shaped dinette are to starboard.
We had no problem pushing the knotmeter on the 49i into the mid-6-knot range in about 10 knots of wind. Under way, the 49i felt solid beneath our feet, and at the dock, it would be easy for everyone in the crew to find a spot to relax, either on deck or below.
LOA 49′ 5″
LWL 42′ 7″
Beam 14′ 8″
Draft (standard) 7′ 0″
Sail Area 991 sq. ft.
Displacement 27,778 lb.
Water 162 gal.
Fuel 63 gal.
Engine 75-hp. Yanmar
Designer Briand Yacht Design