JEANNEAU’S Sun Odyssey range has been one of the most popular and successful of any global brand. The model range accounts for a massive 17,000 boats sold over the last 28 years. But the time had come for a complete rethink, not just about the small details, the clever innovations that can contribute to a successful sale and a happy end user, but a complete re-defining clean sheet of paper, writes Yachting Life boat test editor Andi Robertson.
As Jeanneau’s Antoine Chancelier points out to me, the evolution of the motor car has moved at the speed of light compared to cruising yacht design, especially in terms of speed and performance. Yes, we have had chines adopted, yes we have twin rudders, but the 40ft yacht still goes at the same basic speed, give or take a few tenths of a knot. And the inside is still the same series of boxes, squeezed to fit the hull and deck constraints.
So the starting point of that re-definition is that the new generation of Sun Odyssey has to be significantly quicker, but still easy to sail. The majority of 40 footer owners are over 50 and under 65 and so they want speed, but they also want easy miles and controllable, fast sailing.
The Sun Odyssey 410 is from the studio of Marc Lombard. His successes in Mini and Class 40 circles are too numerous to note as well as being the designer of the Figaro 1 and 2, but most recently he has created the new Lift 40 Class such as Carac for Yoanne Richomme and Louis Duc.

It features a flying bow, reverse sheer and a long, slightly reverse chine.

He also designed Pata Negra, the 2016 IRC 46 racer which won the recent Round Britain and Ireland Race. (Full story starts p48, this issue).
‘We pushed him and he pushed us hard in terms of saving weight and the architectural shape and structure, and we are happy with the outcome. The interest at the Autumn shows has been enormous, way beyond our expectations.’  Antoine Chancelier told me when I went to La Rochelle to test the SO410.
While Lombard produced this remarkably slippy, cutting edge hull shape with the flying bow – which reduces weight, wetted surface and gives a more sea kindly entry – and the long, full length chine coupled to near vertical sides, the interior and the whole look and feel, carry the hallmarks of designer Jean Marc Piaton, who has no previous experience with yachts, but puts together entire brand and design packages for all different types of products and properties.
Just as his company did with the SO440 and 490 the re-think sees the return of a full sized, nicely appointed chart table, forward facing to port of the companionway. This recognises the fact that the owner may work on his boat, and many will, but most will spend an average of an hour a day there, dealing with emails and so on. So it is not even seen as a concession, it is now a modern day essential.

And the flattened U-shaped galley moves to the centre of the boat where whoever is working there is in the middle of whatever is going on, be that cooking a dinner or just making a snack or cup of tea.

Then on the centre line is a signature chaise longue. This little settee is great because it is secure when heeled to port and mostly to starboard too. It has a gently angled back rest and it is by the galley, so – swap the roles as your rampant sexism or PC sensibilities see fit – but she can be relaxing on the chaise longue while he cooks or vice versa, but they are close. And bear in mind this boat is for a ‘sailing mature’ couple. That is those who have had boats and know what they want and what works for them.

They may have another couple as guests, or have children or grandchildren for a weekend or a week each year, but this is a couple’s boat for extended, comfortable cruising. This chaise longue slides flat and extends to make a settee berth. And the saloon table opens to meet this as well, so that there is comfortably dinner seating for six.
The other immediately apparent features are that everything in the interior tends to work parallel to the main meridian; the centreline, so the main big cupboards and drawers slide fore and aft for example.

There has been a massive re-think on ergonomics too, not just the inclined side decks which are nothing short of fantastic, but around the interior of the boat. There are no overhead hand rails, the grab points are all to hand at waist level and the boat is laid out so that it is so much easier to move around. There is no massive square meterage of unused open space to fall about inside or on deck.

And the fabrics and materials used inside are softer and lighter. The bulkheads are covered in a fabric which creates a much gentler feel. Step down the three step companionway and there is a little plinth with a deep fiddle around it. Always when you step into the boat the first thing you do is put down your phone and your keys. This is the first point of stowage for them.
On the point of stowage and space, the near to flat sides mean the interior volume is 15% greater than on the preceding Sun Odyssey 419. That in turn means there is more useful storage than ever before, in every cabin and in the saloon.
But in the quest to keep weight low and so maximise performance, most of the stowage is at waist height or below. That in turn also opens up the space to the hull sides. Factor in the big hull side windows and overhead hatches and windows and the 410 is astonishingly light and airy. In particular women and young sailors have been particularly taken by the new Sun Odyssey.
The hull shape is actually not extreme in terms of dimensions, it is almost the same as the 419 with the beam carried a little further back. The long hull chine gives both stability, sea keeping and tracking on the heel, but the reverse angle also adds a little lift, maximising the effective waterline length on the heel.

There is a performance rig which is 60cm taller and sets 10% more sail area. Note that the low boom height significantly reverses the horrible trend to unreachable and unworkable high booms, while it also maximises sail power. That is one of the steps up in performance. In simple terms more speed needs more sail area and a more powerful hull. There is significantly better form stability than previous models for starters, but keeping all the weight low as well as reducing the overall weight has contributed.
The deck and cockpit layout is superb too. The inclined sidedecks are fantastic, one of those ‘why did we not do this before’ ideas. Besides the simple aspects of improved security at one of the most vulnerable points of the boat – stepping into and out of the cockpit – it allows a better, higher coaming which means better protection.

Spray and waves are directed back and down, yes, into the back end of the fast draining cockpit, but it’s your feet getting wet, not you or more specifically, your undercarriage!

And when you are steering in the aft corner you can be fully braced at the wheel, able to reach the mainsail controls – the headsail and mainsail on opposite or the same primaries. On that note, buying this boat, if I could find the budget I would have powered primaries as well as halyard winches. Ergonomics are great here, but there is nothing easier than pushing a button sitting beside the winch.
The companionway, look closely, is offset. This means there is a more open, accessible passage past the table and the three stairs, rather than equally compromised access either side of the table. Smart thinking. The bathing platform is big and higher than usual but there is an excellent, angled boarding ladder which I think works better and for sure makes it easier to get out of the water when you have been in for a dip.

The same type of smart thinking is applied on the stemhead where the anchor roller is set on the very centre of the bow, which means the pull is always direct on the centreline of the boat and not offset. A tidy, robust fitting incorporates the short sprit from which the Code Zero or cruising chutes are flown. And the anchor sits neatly under it, protected but accessible.

Inside the boat I love the feeling of space and simplicity, the lack of clutter and the clean straight lines. The ability to see out while standing or sitting in the middle of the boat is fundamental and it is immediately appreciated.
The owners forecabin on the boat I tested had the offset full sized rectangular bed and a decent, fully enclosed, private en suite. No sharing. And a big wardrobe for madame, or sir. The much boxier, rectilinear shape makes it feel like a proper room. And up at the top of the bed there are four big slide out drawers as well as two more under the aft edge of the bed. You can have the traditional island, centreline double as standard.

We had something of the order of 7-11 knots of afternoon sea breeze. More would have been better, 12-15 ideally, but we did not get it. And for sure the Sun Odyssey 410 exceeds even the loftiest expectations. It is light on the helm, but with great feel. The rudders use Jefe’s excellent self aligning bearings so the loads remain light and even as the boat powers up. There is excellent all round vision as well as comfort and security for the helm.
The twin rudders give an even, distinct feel and the boat responds positively on all points of sail. And it is obviously fast, not in a hurried, stressful way, but just nicely powered up and smoothly sailing along. It will pace your average 50 footer without effort.
It tracked beautifully on the reach, retaining an urgency and direction because there is plenty of sail power even for light airs. The Code Zero is the ‘go to’ sail, easy to push you along just that little bit quicker. Not a word of a lie I swear I embarrassed myself asking Antoine if he had had the engine on during the photo shoot? What more can I say?