Let the sun shine
Graham Smith traveled to Lymington to try out the new Sun Odyssey 45DS on the Solent in surprisingly pleasant December weather
You don’t stay at the top of your business for very long if you stand still and in the sailing world, Jeanneau is one of those well-established names that has remained a market leader because it has constantly sought to be innovative and progressive.
Its newest offering in the Sun Odyssey range is the 45DS – DS stands rather appropriately for Deck Saloon – from the design studio of Philippe Briand, creating what is arguably the most attractive of the four DS models now available (the others are the 54, 42 and 39).
The images created in brochures or on websites sometimes don’t match a boat ‘in the flesh’ but that certainly doesn’t apply to the 45DS. Walking on to the marina at Lymington, the blue-hulled model facing me had that real ‘wow’ factor.
Jeanneau is noted for its distinctive style and the 45 offers a modern, fluid design with an elegant profile. Powerful hull lines are married to a sweeping coach-roof in which an unusual-shaped side window is the outstanding feature. It could have dominated the overall design but instead it works well in giving a cruising boat a racy feel, without going OTT.
‘Deck Saloon’ is an apt description for the 45 (and the other DS models) as the cockpit is so big it is effectively an outdoor saloon that could easily accommodate eight to ten grown adults in comfort, quite apart from two more behind the twin wheels. Taking up around a third of the deck space, the cockpit is as big as the one on the larger 54DS, so the word ‘expansive’ springs to mind.
The cluttered tangle of sheets, warps and halyards so prevalent in a racing cockpit is totally avoided, with jib sheets led well aft to large Harken winches in front of each wheel. That also makes it easy to trim when short-handed and an added feature is the genoa car adjustment line led back to a block next to the winches.
Halyards are led under a deck coving to the forward edge of the cockpit (under the sprayhood) to again provide that uncluttered feel, while the gentle sweep of the coachroof means there are no sharp edges to trip over. There’s also a neat storage space below the helmsman’s feet for a liferaft accessed via the transom.
Cruising in comfort and style has clearly been the watchword of the interior design and the cabin just oozes space and natural light through the two large wrap-around windows, two large rooflights and two oversized portholes. The two-tone laminate floors add to the overall brightness and downlighters under the side decks give a warm feeling at night.
Every conceivable space has been used as storage, including the saloon table stand, so those with a tidy disposition will find the 45 ideal. Lockers cleverly camouflaged behind what appears to be fine teak panelling run the full length of the boat (into bow and stern cabins too), with the grain going horizontally, and white headlining on the side panels and roof.
Our test boat was the three-cabin model which allows six to sleep in great comfort, but there is a two-cabin option, with the aft unit becoming a positively huge master cabin. There are two shower en-suites, with the forward one featuring fold-away glass panels to avoid wetting the rest of the ‘head’. The forward master cabin has nice little touches like a small built-in seat, a vanity unit, hanging locker, and a moveable blind on the forward hatch for privacy.
The chart table top opens up and slides neatly to allow a laptop to be connected up and there’s scope for an LCD screen to be fitted there and angled in such a way as to be viewed from at least half a dozen people on the saloon seating.
A large L-shaped galley offers a double sink, ‘fridge and freezer unit, hob and oven, as well as extensive storage space for provisions and utensils, with a vent over the hob neatly disguised as a porthole.