From the drawing board of Marc Lombard, the Jeanneau 379 is a perfect balance of the ingredients that have made the Sun Odyssey range such a success, and it's easy to see why the design won Boat of the Year awards in two key categories, Best Mid-Sized Cruiser and Best Domestic Built Boat. This stylish family-sized cruiser features a fold-down transom for ease of access, twin helms, large cockpit, spacious two stateroom interior with lots of storage and a performance oriented hull with hard chine giving it both speed and stability.
This particular example is the only one currently for sale on the west coast; she shows bristol and is lying in a prime Sausalito Yacht Harbor slip right on the boardwalk. There's a long wait to get ANY slip in the marina here so this is a material benefit if you're able to take advantage...
Triangle shaped double in forepeak forward stateroom, step aft to salon with straight settee port side, double dropleaf table centerline and U shpaed settee starboard.
Continue aft to head port side, centerline compaionway and L shaped galley starboard with master stateroom far aft, master has king berth set partially under cockpit.
Note bright and airy interior furnished largely in beautiful cream colored leather, interior shows almost as new. 6'4 headroom.
Stainless steel double sinks with hot/cold pressure water, deep icebox with 12V refrigeration, Eno two burner propane stove with oven, Danby built in microwave oven.
110V AC / 12V DC. Thirty amy shore power service, three batteries in two bank, smart battery charger.
All B&G electronics including chartplotter with radar overlay, autopilot, three multi function displays, two Plastimo magnetic compasses, Icom VHF radio. Fusion stereo contol head with speakers throughout, large Samsung flat screen TV mounted on salon bulkhead.
Selden deck stepped aluminum mast with compression post, double swept back spreaders and 1x19 stainless steel wire rigin, in-mast furling main, Selden aluminum boom with rigid boom vang and Harken mainsheet with traveller, all lines lead aft. Self tacking jib on Facnor LS165 rollerfurler, four Harken self tailing winches..
FRP hull, fin keel, spade rudder. Stainless steel bow pulpit, stainless steel lifelines (with amidship boarding gates), stainless steel stern pulpit. Dual anchor rollers with oversized plow anchor with chain and line rode, Quick manual windlass.
The latest fashion trend in the marine industry is the hard chine. Although touted as ultra-modern, this idea is not new at all, but rather an old one revived. Traditionally, hard chines were found on steel and plywood vessels because those materials, unlike fiberglass, are difficult to shape into compound curves. But it has been inadvertently discovered that hard chines possess additional advantages. The angular shape of the chines running the length of the hull acts as longitudinal stiffeners. The flat under-surface of the chine enhances form stability and the sharpness of the chine’s submerged edge increases the lateral resistance of the hull. Perhaps of more importance to the modern, volume-driven designer is that the chine adds a few inches to the interior right where it’s most needed, at berth level aft.
I must confess that I’ve owned two hard chine boats and have never found them to be as aesthetically displeasing as many. In fact, I find the signature look of the new Jeanneau 379 quite attractive. But aesthetics aside, designer Marc Lombard has created a performance cruiser that’s impressive on many levels.
The moment I stepped onboard, I sensed that this was a boat designed by a real sailor for real sailors. First, Lombard addresses several safety issues. For example, I found numerous pad-eyes strategically placed to hook safety tethers onto, as well as jackline hardware already installed. The non-skid is aggressive, the pushpit, pulpit, and stanchions are robust. There are numerous handholds in the cockpit and leading well forward. The dodger is small and very strong. The shrouds and tracks are installed well inboard, leaving the flow forward unobstructed. The numerous lines running aft to the cockpit are covered with a sea-hood, leaving the decks clean and clear of obstructions.
A designated life raft well, with stout fasteners already in place, makes the deployment of a raft viable in the roughest of weather. The hatch board is indestructible and when not in use stows nicely in its own shelf.
There is unobstructed access to the sheeting functions from either of the twin helms. I cannot overstate how important this is to the safe conduct of any sailing vessel.
The twin helms create redundancy in the steering system. Next, they give the helmsperson a clear view of the sails on either tack, and they can choose which side to steer from in close-quarter docking. From the clever drop-down transom moving forward, the flow thought the cockpit is unobstructed. A large cockpit table doubles as the navigation console visible to both helms.
The cockpit has enormous stowage lockers, but I would like to see the holes housing the drop-down transom lines fitted with better gaskets and/or the lockers made self-draining.
The flush foredeck has substantial twin rollers, a recessed windlass, and a large rode locker.
I applaud Marc Lombard for his deceptively simple yet sophisticated deck layout. But layout alone does not make a performance cruiser. Speed and stability enter the equation, and the 379 delivers both in spades.
It’s offered in a deep-draft version, a shoal wing keel, and a shoal swing keel with twin rudders. A shoal draft version of any hull typically looses eight to 10 percent of its windward performance. But through complex computer design, the swing keel 379 has been tank tested to give up only three percent of peak performance, a meager price to pay for the versatility of three-foot seven-inch draft.
This is the version we tested out on the Chesapeake, and I was an immediate convert to the twin rudder concept. First, as with the twin helms, a certain redundancy is built in. Then, even on a heavy heel the lee rudder remains vertical, and therefore maintains its lateral resistance and positive steering grip.
The sail plan is generous with 754 square feet of main and a 132-percent headsail. With a 35-percent ballast ration and a deep CG, the 379 stands up well to its canvas.
While perhaps not absolutely as convenient as in-mast furling, the lazy jack/stack-pack system allows the mainsail to carry substantial roach and full battens. Without question this amps up the sailing performance, for in a breeze of only 10 to 12 knots, we held a solid 7.5 knots hard on the wind. I found the boat to be well balanced, pleasantly responsive, easy to tack, and it tracked like a train.
The motoring was equally impressive. The Yanmar 29-horsepower diesel pushed the boat with power to spare. The boat turned in nearly its own length and backed with precision. The Lewmar helms and engine controls are as smooth as silk.
The interior might be described as Nordic modern with a blend of light woods mixed with white vinyl panels. While hitting an impressive price point, the fit and finish does not feel cheap or chintzy. To the contrary, the overall feeling is one of a bright and comfortable living space.
I find the two-cabin/single head option to be the most efficient use of space on a 37 footer. This offers sufficient berths with privacy and a spacious main saloon, while still incorporating a cavernous stowage space behind the head/shower compartment.
The L-shaped galley to starboard includes double SS sinks, ample counter space, a twin burner stainless-steel stove/oven, utilitarian stowage lockers, a large pullout garbage bin, and very clever soft-return hardware on the drawers.
The main saloon has a large drop-leaf table set to starboard, and a single settee to port with a navigation station at its aft end.
While wanting to appear hard hitting and discerning, I am hard pressed to find any criticisms of this boat. It’s the rare boat I test that I would personally want to own and operate. But for me the 379 hits its marks perfectly regarding safety, size, style, speed, accommodation and equipment. Add to that Jeanneau’s commendable 2-year “bumper to bumper” warranty and a five-year osmosis guarantee and you have a hard-chined, hard-driving, hard bargain to beat.
Cruising World, February 27, 2013, Alvah Simon
The Sun Odyssey 379’s hull is built of solid handlaid fiberglass strengthened with a fiberglass grid. ISO gelcoat and an additional barrier coat are included to combat osmotic blistering. The deck is cored with balsa and is injection-molded using Jeannueau’s Prisma Process to create a structure that is stiff and light with a smooth finish.
On Deck I liked the wide cockpit, comfortable seats and the large retractable swim platform. When open, the swim platform significantly increases the cockpit space and makes it super-easy to board the boat from the stern. When closed, it also provides a wonderful sense of security in the cockpit. There’s a clever purchase system hidden under the port helm seat that makes it easy to raise or lower the platform.
There are nice big lockers under the cockpit and helm seats to swallow up fenders, dock lines and other gear, while the chartplotter can be easily viewed from either of the twin helm stations. I also appreciated the double bow roller, windlass and deep anchor locker forward.
What really distinguishes the SO 379, though, is the way the boat’s hull chines, hull ports, narrow tinted coachroof windows, wide stern, plumb bow and even the maintenance-free synthetic teak toerail (that I honestly thought was real) all work in harmony to produce a uniquely modern and attractive boat.
The boat’s clean lines are also evident in its accommodation plan. The saloon features a large settee, a good-sized head and an L-shaped galley at the foot of the companionway. Light-colored varnished woodwork and a white headliner lend a warm, open feeling to the space, while a single opening hatch and two small opening ports provide ventilation.
The long, straight settee seats make functional sea berths, and the aft-facing chart table is big enough to handle a chart book. Well-placed handholds in the headliner and along the coachroof provide good security when you need to move around while underway. The galley has plenty of counter space and copious stowage, while the single head has all the essentials, including a separate shower stall.
Although it was easy to forget we were on a 37-footer in the spacious saloon, it was more apparent in the sleeping cabins. The forward cabin, for example, has a V-berth and limited standing room, which is typical on most sub-40-footers, although it is still a perfectly comfortable cabin for two. There’s also good lighting, plenty of stowage and decent ventilation thanks to an opening hatch. The guest cabins aft have larger rectangular berths, but more limited ventilation.
How is the joyful sailing experience I described earlier possible on a shoal-draft boat in over 20 knots of breeze? Simple—twin rudders. Even after reefing the main and taking up a couple of turns on the headsail, the boat heeled pretty dramatically in the puffs. But the helm was always light and refreshingly balanced as we accelerated to over 7 knots, thanks to the fact the leeward rudder was always properly submerged to provide positive control. I suspect the boat’s hard chine aft, which adds form stability and aids in tracking, also played a role, especially in some of the bigger puffs. I expect the optional 6ft 4in deep keel and single-rudder configuration produces slightly better tacking angles and will also be quicker in light air, due to its lower wetted surface area, but I’m sold on the twin-rudder version.
Visibility was excellent from the dual helm stations, and the cockpit table provided excellent brace points for the crew. Molded-in foot cleats behind each wheel provide excellent footing for the helmsman, even at steep heel angles.
Singlehanders and Wednesday-night racers will like the German mainsheet system, which makes it easy to trim the main from either side of the cockpit. The jibsheets are also led back through clutches to winches adjacent the helm stations. As with all boats on which the mainsheet and jibsheets share winches, tacking and gybing can require some planning. Shifting sheets on the winches when we needed to do a controlled gybe in the 20-knot breeze was doable, but it would have been easier if the mainsheet had been routed to a separate cabintop winch.
We had so much fun sailing, I almost forgot to record the engine data. I can report, however, that the standard 29hp Yanmar performed well. We were able to get up to 6.5 knots powering into the stiff breeze at full throttle (3,500 rpm) and hit about 5.5 knots at 2,700 rpm. Engine noise was obviously noticeable in the saloon, but not absurdly so. As you'd expect, it was a bit tricky backing into a slip in a stiff crosswind, but otherwise the boat behaved well in close quarters.
Plenty of boats call themselves good-looking and rewarding to sail. Many boats are also designed to be comfortable at sea and in port. But after testing the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 379 in a healthy sailing breeze, I can honestly say it comes closer to achieving these goals than most. It was a blast to sail. It was easy to sail. It was comfortable to sail, and its accommodations are both spacious and stylish.
Sail Magazine, June 12, 2012, Bill Springer