THE NEW Jeanneau SunFast 3300 very much addresses the growing interest in double handed and solo racing, and indeed fast cruising. It has a modern semi-scow bowed hull by America’s Cup winning designer Guillaume Verdier, who was also one half of the VPLP-Verdier partnership which won the last two Vendée Globe races, who worked in concert with long time Jeanneau collaborator Daniel Andrieu to develop this fun, rewarding go anywhere boat which is fast, stable and powerful, but easily handled, writes Yachting Life racing editor Andi Robertson.
Verdier and Andrieu have integrated concaves into the forward and aft centreline sections of the boat, an initiative which develops reduced pressure areas such as Verdier and team created for Emirates Team New Zealand on the AC72 hulls in San Francisco.

When the boat heels this fools the hull into behaving like it has a longer effective waterline than it does.

These curved hollows on the centre line enable an improved distribution of dynamic pressure, while limiting drag on the hull and minimising the surface below the waterline for greater performance.

The structure and shape of the keel, carefully studied on this new SunFast, also enables a reduction in drag and an optimised centre of gravity
‘The bow section is quite wide and pronounced which creates a high pressure area early in the hull wave pushing the bow out of the water a bit,’ says Verdier. The key has been developing the volume and effective waterlines so that as the lift is induced in the bow, so the stern sections do not dig in and drag.
It is a competitive space in the market, effectively up against the new J/99 which is more of an allrounder, the JPK 1030, the Marc Lombard Ofcet, the new Dehler about to come on the market.

Up until July in France the Sun Fast 3300 has raced against the JPK 1030 but a particular offshore test was the Rolex Fastnet which saw JPK himself, Jean Pierre Kelbert racing with Figaro ace Alex Loison, while there were the first two SunFast 3300s racing with Nigel Colley’s boat number 3 Fastrak XII being raced by Hannah Diamond and Henry Bomby as well as boat 1 Sapristi which was being sailed by Jeanneau’s Luce Molinier and Alexandre Ozon.
JPK as a line of boats are a significant success but the problem is the lead time from order to delivery. They build a certain number of boats per year and that is capacity. They have no desire to outgrow demand and want to run a tight ship, whereas Jeanneau of course are part of the largest boatbuilding group in the world and will be able to deliver new boats next year, even with more than 20 already ordered.
As the first UK media to sail the new boat, we were lucky to get the chance to enjoy an outing with boats 1 and 3, courtesy of Nigel Colley and SeaVentures, just ten days before they set off for the Fastnet, with the new boat just set up for Diamond and Bomby who sailed it as part of a photo and video shoot, promoting the Olympic Offshore class which I think the SunFast 3300 is probably the most likely option just now, given the price, performance, suitability and the fact the Jeanneau and the Groupe Beneteau are of a size to be able to supply a fleet of 20 boats when the time comes. Certainly Diamond and Bomby plan to go on campaigning Fastrak XII as they aim towards Olympic selection.
There are many features of the 3300 which are in common with the IMOCA and, more particularly the modern Class 40 boats and with a set up not too dissimilar to the new Figaro Beneteau 3. The rig is set further back in the boat, the deep high aspect twin rudders are tiller steered, although the narrowed coachroof reduces weight and keeps the CoG low as well as facilitating a slimmer sheeting angle while the forward facing and upwards slanted coachroof windows allow better all round vision as well as deflecting water away from the cockpit.
The keel is a decidedly standard moderately deep IRC friendly fin. Although it has in no way been enslaved to IRC in the design and configuration, the new boats are racing off 1.028 and 1.029 both taking a couple of points for the longer bowsprits fitted before the Fastnet. And Colley says he is content they can race off those numbers.
We had the most perfect day on the SunFast 3300 and could not fault it in any way. More and more experienced sailors are moving away from expensive, crewed racing to double handed.

One trend is for the good, experienced relatively well off owner improving with a young pro or semi-pro sailor who looks after the boat.

One of the first SunFast 3300s is going to a German owner who has sold his TP52, fed up with the cost and looking for 13 to 15 crew while paying costs. He is having one of these new 32ft 9in rocketships which he will race on the two handed circuit from the UK.
The abiding takeways from a shorts, T-shirts and 15kts sea breeze afternoon on the Solent are the fun and ease of sailing on all points of sail and an excellent all round performance.
In the cockpit there is still plenty of space to race fully crewed, but you can utilise 2×200 litres ballast tanks that is equivalent to two or three crew on the rail, if that is your preference.
I liked the ergonomics of the cockpit for sure. The full width traveller is behind the tiller and was easy controlled under load in the helm’s normal position. There is a decent fine tune on the main although to be fair we scarcely used it, the loads on the sheet were fine with the coarse trim, but perhaps on a long hard beat you would play it more on that.

With the aft facing spreaders the runners are for sail power and tuning and not required to keep the rig up.
Our boats both had the Axxon carbon mast and boom. Even as a relative novice to the art and science of short handed sailing it was not long before I was at ease.
There is a good little coaming extending from the coachroof which adds some protection to the cockpit space, at the aft edge of this is the main instruments control and display as well as the main primary winch.
We found the boat easy to settle upwind. The jib clews are sheeted to floating eyes from a lateral track with a powerful inhauler and I found them easy to set. It seemed like the boat did not like to be sailed at too slim an angle, but there was plenty of lift off the foil and a nice groove.

By all accounts this is quite a tweaky boat with plenty going on to allow you to sail different modes. It appears most productive to sail, slightly eased with the main twisted off a bit, though we did not seem to be able to keep pace reaching alongside Hannah and Henry, but our sails were less than perfect given that test sails out of Lorient in every kind of weather seemed to have taken a toll on them.
Upwind I could manage mid 6.5, 6.7kts in 12-14kts AWS and I am sure with time could have got better.
Off Cowes we put in a sequence of short tacks up against the pros and it was amazing how easy the boat was to handle two up, and probably with some practice solo would be easier. Good timing on the headsail meant it only needed a couple of final turns.
But the best fun was under kite, we stuck up the A5 as it was easiest and found it great fun and easy to press high with plenty of control and stability. Acceleration was excellent and the boat was super responsive. We surged to 10-13kts in the puffs all the time able to place the boat exactly where we wanted it in the little choppy Solent waves.
Overall I adored the new SunFast 3300, it would be the boat of choice to go and do everything available to it; two handed inshore racing, long offshores solo and even going adventure solo sailing for fun. And the key to the Jeanneau SunFast 3300s surefire success is the whole package, it is fast, modern, sexy and a lot of fun at an excellent price point.
Talking off which, Angus Scott of Jeanneau’s northern dealer, Largs based Euroyachts, confirms a price tag for the SunFast 3300 of €180,000 ex VAT, commissioned Clyde and ‘ready to go’.