Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 469
Entering the competitive arena of large cruisers, Jeanneau's Sun Odyssey 469
The Sun Odyssey 469 is the latest large cruiser from the French Jeanneau boatyard following on from last year's 509. The 469 emulates the functionality of the 509, a boat that was my pick of the Jeanneau boats last year.
Good features shared include a drop-down chart table, solid joinery and a seamanlike layout of furniture that gives people plenty of places to grab on to while at sea. The large production cruiser market is a very competitive arena, especially with the much-improved Vision series from Bavaria, but Jeanneau has definitely stuck to what it does best with the 469 by producing a solid cruising yacht with few blemishes.
There is plenty of flexibility in the saloon, with everything from movable stools to the ability to change the starboard navigation station into a relaxed lounge area, since you probably don't need as much chartwork when in port and entertaining friends. Chartwork or more exactly bulkhead space for electronic plotters isn't available here – unless you convert a locker or perhaps run a VGA cable to the nearby flat screen television from the cockpit Raymarine MFD.
Behind the navstation, the L-shaped galley has rounded fiddles and corners so people don’t get bruised at sea. Laminated Alpi teak is used throughout with solid trim. The galley has a three-burner gimballed stove/oven, double deep sinks and white composite worktop for food preparation while perishables have large 175l top/front opening refrigeration. Only the flimsy plastic locker catches let down what is otherwise a well-made area. White Good options include aircon, dishwasher and washing machine, which can run off the Onan 6KW generator, which can be housed in the cockpit locker. Across from the galley, the dinette can seat people all around it, while the solid wood table transforms to a smaller version easily. Yet another plus are the many handrails throughout which lead you safely forward to the owner's suite.
Accommodation comprises a three-cabin layout with owner’s suite forward or a charter-friendly four-cabin layout, all with ensuites. This is impressive for this size of yacht (in the four cabin, a longitudinal galley allows space for the fourth bathroom). The owner berth has an island bed surrounded by shelves and cupboard space, and it is the best I've seen recently. Claustrophobia shouldn't be an issue thanks to double opening hatches and elongated portlights, while the three LED spotlights are ideal as well. Hatch space is minimal in the otherwise well designed ensuite with perspex door separating the shower from the electric head.
For guests, the symmetrical aft cabins should suffice for headroom, despite the deep cockpit bulkhead, to allow sitting up while reading. There's side engine access here to the Yanmar 54-horsepower saildrive motor, while front access simply involves lifting the companionway steps on their gas struts. Most key service points are within reach and the starting battery was nearby as well. Power output is from the 80-amp alternator and there are twin 40-amp battery chargers for the two 110-amp house batteries.
The deck layout is fairly conventional with deep cockpit, twin wheels and inboard shrouds for the deck-stepped rig. The large sprayhood and bimini are very welcome. The cockpit is the same length as the larger 509, but slightly narrower so is a cosy fit for the large folding table, which is strongly fixed with a stainless frame and includes a cool box. Another sturdy set of stainless frames surround the moulded binnacles, where the twin composite wheels enjoy plenty of binnacle space to house the Raymarine 9-inch Hybrid Touch plotter, i70 autopilot and thruster controls; and still essential, a good sized compass. Looking aft, there is a wide swim platform and a ladder.
On deck the optional teak felt sure underfoot and the uncluttered decks forward are ideal for sun bathing as well as being a good platform to hoist the Code Zero. Teak handrails integrated on the low profile coach roof provide security moving around, and the flush hatches should ensure clear movement of sheets and lines across the foredeck. Up here, cruising needs are well met with double bow roller, strongly supported by a stainless pulpit bobstay for flying big headsails from its end while the substantial Quick windlass/capstan should mean few dramas for anchoring in your favourite hideaway.
Sail controls are also sensibly laid out, as on most of these newer Sun Odysseys, with the primary Harken 50s within reach of the helms while a second brace of H46s manage the seven-bank Spinlock SPX jammers on the coach roof with the halyards emerging from guttering. An electric H46 was fitted to our boat; a worthwhile option for both sheeting and halyard work. A continuous mainsheet (German) is used and slides on a Harken coachroof track, while running rigging was low stretch Dyneema, with it also used for shrouds if the performance package is taken.
The cutter rig on the review boat had an outer Selden furler for the Code Zero while the inner foresail unwound from a Facnor drum giving plenty of headsail power for light conditions. Buyers can opt for a self-tacking jib. The mainsail used conventional slab reefing for the Tri-Radial Technique Voile sails – made of supple mylar/taffeta, they are a performance upgrade worth having especially if you have the occasional regatta in mind.
The tall alloy Z-Spars rig is supported by inboard shrouds, single adjustable backstay and a solid boom vang. Jeanneau continue sharp pricing by offering only what you want to pay for, so many items can be optioned to ensure the basic price stays that way. A good option is the in-mast reefing for short-handed sailing, along with a self-tacking jib; while 360 Docking is another useful item for tight marina manoeuvres.
The Philippe Briand hull continues the distinct chine like its flagship of the Sun Odyssey range, the 509. The solid GRP hull has an injection-moulded deck, with large tie rods from the inboard shrouds going into the hull grid. Outside, the waterline is maximised yet there’s enough rake on the stem and stern to give the 469 an elegant rather than abrupt profile. Her wide stern is tucked in with that hard chine while a fairly standard cast iron fin or shoal draught version keeps everything upright and single spade rudder is used.
Going out for a spin
Motoring past the old stone pier at Cannes with my oil skinned back to the cold rain that the Mistral blew along the Riviera, I cranked the four cylinder Yanmar up to its maximum revs (3,500rpm) reaching 9.3 knots with hardly any vibration on the Carbonautica steering wheel. Turning head-to-wind, my host Herve Piveteau easily hoisted the mainsail on the electric Harken winches and silence reigned as I cut the engine. Turning towards Antibes, I reached on the deck to unlock the larger jammer, allowing the genoa to roll out quickly in the 14 knot breeze, then trimmed it from the leeward binnacle before climbing to windward to perch on the gunwale.
With feet nicely slotted on the teak foot-chock, off we sped with horizontal telltales easily viewed from the steering position. I watched the numbers rise until the Raymarine Hybrid Touch plotter reached 7.1 knots SOG on the beat at 55 degrees, which was good given the lumpy seas. A few tacks to dodge the big white-boats gave me little to complain about as the long spade rudder responded well (despite the slackish quadrant connecting cables).
I unrolled the Code Zero and cracked the sheets to 75 degrees to improve our numbers, hitting 9.6 knots before preparing to gybe as we approached the rocky Lerin Islands, where the Cistercian monks have lived for centuries. But malice was not our minds so we gybed away, a two person job with Herve grabbing the clew of the lightweight Code Zero and walking it around the forestay while I sheeted it by the helm; and the Raymarine autopilot steered us north towards the emerging bright lights of Cannes.
My thoughts? Well, the SO469 does the job of a being convincing cruising yacht with a level of refinement both in practical terms and style that should win plenty of sailors hearts and minds.
In Hong Kong: www.chinapacificmarine.com
In Singapore: www.premiumnautical.com
In Thailand: www.leeemarine.com
Technical Specifications – Sun Odyssey 469
LOA: 14.05 metres
Beam: 4.49 metres
Displacement: 10,809 kliogrammes
Ballast: 3,095 kilogrammes
Draft standard/shallow: 2.24 metres/1.65 metres
Engine: Yanmar 54 Horsepower
Berths: 6/8 + 2
Fuel: 240 litres
Water: 615 litres
Sail area: 96 square metres
Designers: Philippe Briand and Jeanneau Design