Import Boat of the Year/Best Pocket Cruiser
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349
A Compact Cruiser For Quick Getaways
Given that fact, it would clearly take an exceptional boat to cruise into the winner’s circle. But that’s exactly what the judges discovered when they boarded Jeanneau’s Sun Odyssey 349. After a thorough inspection, they named it not only the year’s top Pocket Cruiser, but also 2015’s Import Boat of the Year. With over 100 already built and sold, the marketplace has already spoken. There’s just tons to like about this “little big boat.”
First off was the cost. The base price for the 349 is $125K, though the model we tested – tricked out for racing with a square-topped mainsail and other competitive goodies, along with reverse-cycle air conditioning, a microwave and other liveaboard features – topped off closer to $165K. But that’s one of the attributes to the boat; even in a 34-footer, there’s room to both customize the yacht and cut costs on items you don’t find essential. It’s also versatile, as the owner of our test model – a dedicated Chesapeake racer who also wants to take his young family on fun Bay adventures – noticeably typified.
“It’s the lowest priced boat in this class and represents exceptionally good value,” said Sherman. “It could be a terrific entry-level cruiser for a young couple or someone just starting out, but it could also be a fine option for someone scaling back from a larger yacht who still wants to go cruising in a good sailboat.”
“It’s a Marc Lombard design,” said Murphy, “and you can see in the whole Jeanneau range that they are really paying attention to how the boats sail. I think we see that more clearly in the Jeanneau line that we do with other builders with offerings in this size range.”
The roller-furler headsail is anchored to a fiberglass sprit that also houses the bow roller and an attachment point for off-the-wind sails that can hoisted or stored on a continuous-line furler. Twin rudders give the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 lots of maneuverability, even in the big puffs on a breezy day. A simple, traditional layout includes a centerline drop-leaf table and settees that can double as sea berths. The compact galley includes a fridge, good counter space and a stove with oven. The storage Open storage space flanks the v-berth. An aft cabin contains a double berth and generously sized hanging locker. The roller-furler headsail is anchored to a fiberglass sprit that also houses the bow roller and an attachment point for off-the-wind sails that can hoisted or stored on a continuous-line furler. Twin rudders give the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 349 lots of maneuverability, even in the big puffs on a breezy day.
“The cockpit worked for me,” said Mark Schrader, “and so did the twin wheels and twin rudders. It’s typical Jeanneau grid construction, which they have dialed in very well. I do think they’re giving themselves short shrift when they say it’s an ‘entry level’ boat. I’m not an entry-level sailor and I really like it.”
Sherman summed up the judge’s collective opinion concisely: “It’s come in at such an exceptional price for what you get that it’s really the best value in the entire contest.” The formula, then, is simple: Marry value with quality and the result is a winner.