words - Kevin Green
The latest version of the SO42DS is a spacious cruiser with a fast hull, allowing quick passage making and plenty of creature comforts

Jeanneau 42DS

- Elegant overall design
- Three cabin layout enhances an already good boat
- Overall sailability is very good

- Cramped primary winches
- Glass plate in galley is a liability

-- Jeanneau's most popular
The new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey DS 42, launched at several of the big European boat shows recently and the first of this revamped cruiser, has just arrived in Australia. The middleweight performer in a fleet comprising of the SO39DS, S045DS and SO50DS, the new Deck Saloon 42 offers cruising sailors space and comfort but at a size a couple can still comfortably handle. The major change is a refined interior now giving the option of a three-cabin layout.

Australian importer Performance Boating estimates more than 300 of the original design has sold worldwide, and 24 locally, making the 42DS one of the most popular Jeanneaus ever. Race designer Marc Lombard penned the fine lines of the sleek hull and the Italian design flare of Vittorio Garroni created the stylish interior. The result is a boat that really stands out, both at the marina and on the water.

-- Pay for what you need
French builder Jeanneau is well known for its stylish yachts and for your money ($380,000 for the review boat) you are getting a yacht with real flair. From the curved cockpit coamings that gracefully fuse into the teardrop coach roof, cleverly hiding the cavernous deck saloon space below, to the fine entry of the hull with its elongated windows, this is undoubtedly one of the best looking boats around.

Taking a popular design and improving it might sound like a no-brainer but not all builders actually get it right. Other equipment improvements on the new 42DS include additional hull windows in the forward V-berth, larger windows in the saloon and aft cabins and some redesign work on the deck.

Paying only for what you need is another characteristic of Jeanneau so an extensive option list is available. Top of that list is the Performance version of the 42DS that offers a larger sail area (89.5sqm as opposed to the standard 77sqm) and a deeper fin keel of 2.3m. Other useful cruising options include a rope cutter on the propeller shaft and various trim levels and upholstery, to name only a few.

-- Room for a big crew
Down below, the big change is the optional three-cabin layout, a variation of large single aft cabin with the popular king-sized island bed. The two stern cabins are similar and offer comfortable double beds, greatly increasing the accommodation. The owner would probably prefer portside, with the head and navigation station adjoining it. Up front, the V-berth is functional with enough storage space for most couples and has an ensuite bathroom, though some might prefer the optional electric head to the manual one fitted.

The saloon's light-coloured teak-veneered interior feels welcoming yet ultra modern, perhaps reflecting the computer-aided processes that Jeanneau prides itself in using. Lounging on the L-shaped starboard settee is comfortable, with plenty of headroom and, sensibly, the fold-up table wings double up as an additional bed space.

Opposite, the starboard settee leads back to the navigation area with its sliding chart table. This arrangement allows the settee to be a navigation seat or the fixed wooden stool is available; a useful idea. Equipment here includes controls for the Bose music system that comes fitted.

Across the way, the starboard L-shaped galley has a gimballed two-burner stove and oven, next to the rotomoulded top-opening fridge. With the possibility for a big crew, the double sinks are welcome. But I'm not a fan of the glass backing plate; a feature on many Jeanneaus. In a seaway the potential for someone or something crashing into this is not worth the risk.

On the plus side however, strong handrails in the saloon are a good safety feature around various doors. Door surrounds, using Moabi hardwood, finish off things nicely and underfoot, the laminated floorboards feel firm and precisely cut so that lifting them up to reveal the keel bolts is easy. The cast-iron keel is held by hefty bolts and surrounded by a very deep bilge that could easily take a few slabs of beer; their depth is also a good safety feature for keeping excess water at bay. These compartments looked strongly glassed in as well.

-- Plenty of lounging room!
On the review boat, destined for a semi-retired cruising sailor, an electric Harken two-speed winch adorned the cabin top to control the in-mast roller-reefing mainsail. Up forward an uncluttered deck and coachroof, thanks to all lines running under gutters, finished off a clean topside profile. At the bow the deep anchor well and electric windlass with remote ensure that serious cruisers are well catered for.

The 42DS's spacious cockpit has wider seating now and the area is a big selling feature for me with gently stepped coamings nicely clad in teak, surrounding a hardwood folding table with lots of drink holder storage and a deep centre locker. A comfortable lounging area at anchorage, with smooth bulkheads separating the two helms and twin Harken primary winches being the only sailing gear intruding into the area.

The review boat came with a two-spreader Selden rig with in-mast furling. The lack of roach for the in-furler required a longer boom, held up by a rigid vang and all lines ran aft under gutters, giving an uncluttered cabin top. Here the mainsheet track sits, unobtrusively away from the cockpit but a German double mainsheet option is available, for the sailor wanting more control of the mainsail. Heavy-duty Spinlock jammers controlled all lines and the entire setup looked well thought out. For serious cruising, I’d add the spray dodger option, though.

-- Effortless power
With the Pittwater afternoon breeze filling in, my host for the day, Lee Condell from Performance Boating, cranked up the 54hp Yanmar shaft drive and we made ready. With the cross breeze threatening to blow us, Lee used the Max Power tunnel bow thruster to keep us straight as we left the berth.

Taking the helm, I throttled up the engine as the Raymarine ST70 instruments and E80 plotter flashed on, which prompted me to pile on more power as the sleek hull surged forward. It felt very fast, with the combination of a fixed three bladed prop, slippery hull and four-cylinder Yanmar pushing us to an impressive 9.1kts SOG at 2800rpm.

As we slowed and rounded into the wind I clicked the autopilot on (which comes as part of Jeanneau's Preference Pack) and went forward to winch the mainsail outhaul, then returned to the helm to sheet in the unfurling genoa from its Facnor roller, as we made sail in the 16 knot southerly breeze. With the powerful 122 per cent genoa set and the leech of the unbattened mainsail tightened, we set off at a good pace and I began to see why the brochure's claim of the 42DS being a 'sailor's boat' rang true.

She tracked as straight as a die and a balanced helm allowed the steerer to sit out comfortably to really get the best out of the boat. The deep keel and its elongated bulb undoubtedly plays a part but the rig felt very balanced and despite the impediment of a bow thruster and a fixed propeller, speed was impressive at 7.4kts over the ground with the 42DS hard on the wind. Tacking proved easy, though the primaries felt a bit cramped in their placement.

Gybing was effortless for the mainsheet crew, with Lee playing the electric Harken to quickly crank in the sail from the coachroof. Standing up well to the gusting southerly showed another plus point of the 42DS, with a neutral feel to the helm most of the time.

The 42DS certainly has that distinctive quality, that je ne sais quoi, but is also a complete boat for the cruising couple or family and with enough speed to ensure that wherever you're voyaging you get there in style and comfort.

Overall rating: 4.0/5.0
Mechanicals/Equipment/Rig, etc: 4.0 /5.0
Packaging and Practicality: 4.0 /5.0
On the water performance: 4.0/5.0
Value for money: 3.5/5.0
X-factor: 4.0/5.0

Comparable boats
Beneteau Oceanis 43 -- a well-established boat offering either three double cabins and three head compartments or three double cabins, one cabin with bunks and two heads.

Bavaria Cruiser 45 -- a new model being released offering three or four cabins, and with twin rudders for maximum control.

Hanse 430 -- a proven performer with slick design and an easy-handling rig with German workmanship and plenty of space for the family cruise.

Specifications - Jeanneau 42DS
Price: $380,000 (review boat)
Overall length: 12.93m
Hull length: 12.59m
Overall beam: 4.13m
Draft deep keel: 2.13m
Draft shoal keel: 1.60m

Displacement: 8925kg
Engine: Yanmar 54hp

Mainsail: 35spm
Genoa: 42.4sqm
Spinnaker: 122sqm

Water capacity: 355L
Fuel capacity: 130L
Holding tank capacity: 85L
Berth: 4+2/6+2
Cabins: 2 or 3

Australian Distributor:
Performance Boating Sales,
Gibson Marina, 1710 Pittwater Road,
Bayview, NSW, 2104.
Tel (02) 9979 9755.


To comment on this article click here Published : Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Prices and specifications supplied are for the market in Australia only and were correct at time of first publication. makes no warranty as to the accuracy of specifications or prices. Please check with manufacturer or local dealer for current pricing and specifications.

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