With the introduction of the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380 to our shores, there are now five Sun Odyssey models available from Jeanneau dealers across Australia.

Performance Boating Sales Director Lee Condell is especially pleased about the arrival of Sun Odyssey 380 as it also coincides with the 20th anniversary of the Sydney dealer’s relationship with Jeanneau. “The 380 is the last of the latest generation of Jeanneau’s rollout,” says Condell. “So, it combines the best qualities and feedback from all the previous models: the 349, 410, 440 and the 490.”

Yacht designer Marc Lombard was once again engaged by the French boat building company and he has incorporated the best of the previous designs for Jeanneau into this smaller package. While concentrating on combining ease of sailing with performance, a quality build allows weight saving measures without compromising strength and integrity.

The now ubiquitous hard chine runs the full length of the hull, providing hull volume without the need for a deep canoe body. This is countered with a standard two-metre L-bulb keel. Maximum beam appears to be well aft, almost in line with the companionway steps, but is carried all the way to the transom, making a large cockpit space for a 38-foot yacht.

The topsides are high sided and sheer, thanks to the chine. The reverse bow angle allows the designer to put more volume in the interior without worrying about the bow burying in an oncoming sea.

Lombard has the looks of the Sun Odyssey range down pat with lovely side sheer lines that angle down from bow to stern. This is achievable due to the sloping side deck first introduced in the SO410.

Multiple benefits arise from this simple design adjustment; first of all is the safety aspect of being able to walk around from the cockpit to the foredeck without clambering dangerously over the coamings. This safety is enhanced as the lifelines and topsides are at waist height for increased safety. The entire toe rail is also a moulded raised bulwark.

Added to this is the ability to now place windows in the coamings for increased light in the cabin below. Plus the openness of the back of the cockpit lets the designer put the twin steering wheels well aft and out to the sides, more room in the already large cockpit as well as the ability of the skipper to sit against the pushpit and face forward for better vision.

Another bonus of the walk-around decks is when the owners are in port, they can set up the wrap-around clears to protect the cockpit in harsh conditions but they still allow the access to the foredeck via the sloping side deck.

Built for performance

In the push for performance the hull and deck construction takes a lot of lessons from the racing builds. The deck is enhanced with many racing yacht innovations added on deck and down below. The balsa-cored deck is vinylester resin-infused, popping out of the moulds light and strong with finished surfaces not requiring coverings. The hull on the other hand is hand laid solid fibreglass, again not compromising on strength and safety.

On deck can be seen many racing yacht additions: from the Y-bridle mainsheet system negating the need for a toe-stubbing traveller; to the high tensile rope barberhauling system that is both light and easy to use.

The integrated bowsprit holds and hides the anchor as well as providing the tack point for the headsail set on a sporty Facnor FlatDeck roller furler; plus attachment points further forward for a Code Zero and asymmetrical spinnaker.

Due to the reverse incline of the bow the anchor locker is not right forward but a bit aft for better buoyancy, providing a deeper chain hold, the windlass and controller; with space for fenders, sails etc.

Underwater, Jeanneau has included a bow thruster in the forward sections. All the halyards, reef lines, tack lines and barberhauler run back to the companionway with two Harken winches to work them.

The running lines run under the coamings and appear at the two winches just in front of the steering station. With the sloping side deck it is easy for the skipper to work the winches solo. Jammers lie just in front.

With the twin wheels well aft and outboard the cockpit has volumes of space. Lazarettes at the transom provide access to the life raft, barbecue gas bottle and the high tensile rope steering system. The cockpit seating has both a wet and dry lazarette either side.

Taking her for a test

Our test yacht was the two-cabin version so the starboard lazarette takes up that entire cabin space. But it is on the water where this design really shines. You get a good indication when heading out from the marina, the 130-litre fuel tank will give you over 30 hours of cruising at just under 8 knots on 2200 revolutions per minute. Push it to a wide-open throttle and you will sit over nine knots. A slippery hull shape indeed.

We set sails in a soft 10 knots of breeze and immediately scored well over six knots at just over 30° apparent wind. Crack the sheets to the preferred cruising angle of 60° and the speed leapt another knot and more to see us riding the chine ‘rail’ over eight knots.

Set the Code Zero or spinnaker and you will easily rake up the miles on a pleasant, stable ride. The steering system is high tensile rope, making it light at the transom yet also very direct in feel and response. There is no stretch or ‘give’ with this system and being connected to twin rudders gives extra depth when heeled for good grip. Getting back into the marina is a breeze with the bow thruster.

Well designed interiors

Down below both Lombard and the interior design team have worked for that same quality build but with lightness where possible. Where weight is needed it is mostly down low and close to the centreline.

The owners of our test yacht had selected the twin cabin/twin heads option. It is a good choice. The port side aft cabin is a full king size rectangular bed (2 metres x 1.82m) that fills across the full width under the cockpit for an amazing sight. As an added bonus the headroom in this cabin is an inch under two metres. There is a hanging locker with drawers. It has three opening portholes for good cross ventilation, courtesy of the aforementioned sloping side deck.

The day head is to starboard off the companionway and, because this does not have a berth cabin aft, the head is a separate cabin to the shower cabin. Both rooms have over two metres of headroom. I could stand in the shower cabin and put my hands on my hips without touching the sides.

Behind the shower wall is access to the aft starboard lazarette. The shower has a hanging locker which can be moved into the room to take advantage of better wet weather gear drying, especially if the engine is running.

The other head is in the main cabin in the forepeak. This berth is a full-size rectangular Queen (2m x 1.36m). Cleverly positioned along the starboard hull wall to make the head on the port side as big as some hotel room bathrooms. Again, headroom here is a crack under two metres.

Another neat design trick has been employed here. With the mast step well aft in the saloon, Lombard has offset the forward bulkhead that separates the saloon with the forepeak cabin. The port side frame is offset aft providing that space found in the forward head. The starboard side frame is offset forward, this allows the starboard bench seat to have a 20-centimetre recess that makes for a perfect secure watch standby bed.

At the aft end of this lounge is the navigation station. All instrumentation and electronics are here and access to the wiring is easy.

The saloon will seat four comfortably and it can be converted to a double bed if needed. Under the lateral saloon seat is a pull-out drawer of over one metre in length, it has peg holes throughout to make this a secure storage for whatever you need close at hand.

Due to the shallow canoe body design the bilges are not deep and all the through holes and pumps are at hand. Naturally there is a built in ‘wine cave’ under one of the floorboards. The L-shaped galley has a gimballed two-burner stove and oven; and top access refrigeration that is deep enough for the longest cruise journey.

Throughout the main cabin there is plenty of storage space, but the overall feel is of a roomy, light-filled space with plenty of portholes and hatches for viewing and ventilation.

Once again Jeanneau and designer Lombard have found a good compromise between form and function with the Sun Odyssey 380. Built to last but also for speed and ease of handling, this yacht will provide its owners with easy miles and comfortable cruising for many years.

By Phil Ross

Visit jeanneauaustralia.com

For boating news, features and interviews, subscribe to Nautilus Marine Magazine here.