Boat Review: Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 439

The Sun Odyssey 439 is a thoroughly modern family cruiser, incorporating several of the latest design trends.

by Alvah Simon, Cruising World

Building on the success of the Sun Odyssey 409, Jeanneau has completely revamped their Sun Odyssey line of cruisers. As with most major manufacturers, their entire range seems to ratchet up in size with every retooling. Their new Sun Odyssey 439 and 44DS, which would have once represented the upper end of their offerings, are now nestled well in the middle of the pack, size-wise.

Although they share the exact same Philippe Briand designed hull, the 439 and 44 DS are on completely different missions. Once a potential customer has settled on basic size and price point, Jeanneau hopes to keep them in the family by offering either the elevated and commodious interior of the 44 DS or the more traditional deck layout and better sailing performance of the Sun Odyssey 439.

Jeanneau has added a gene to their DNA with the inclusion of a hard chine throughout their new range. Although actually an old idea, I find this “new look” attractive, and, in theory, these chines should add to the form stability, lateral resistance, and hull rigidity. I say in theory because the chine is placed relatively high on the hull and would not come into its own unless on a heavy heel.

The Sun Odyssey 439 is a thoroughly modern family cruiser, incorporating several of the latest design trends. I am a convert to the concept of twin helms. Two helms add redundancy to the steering system, permit the helmsperson a clear view of the sail trim on both tacks, and a choice of sides to steer from when maneuvering in tight conditions. They open up the aft entrance into the cockpit, which allows for the imminently practical drop-down transom/boarding platform. They free space for a walk-around cockpit table, which holds the navigation screen, stowage space, and cup holders, and folds out large enough to become the main entertaining center. Add to that the clear separation the binnacles create between the work and leisure areas and I rest my case.

One of the core concepts of the 439 is to bring all sailing functions back to the cockpit, and the most immediate of them, the sheets, directly to the helm stations. The primary winch placement lies readily at hand for the helmsperson, qualifying this as a short-handed cruiser. All this running rigging running aft from the mast is hidden under sea hoods, leaving the deck clean looking and clear of obstructions.

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