The Jeanneau 49 Performance says “Bring it On”
The 49 classic with the new Performance Package puts a lot of pace in a proven passagemaker
The new Performance 49, which is being introduced this year with a taller rig, slab reefing main, foil furling headsail, a full spinnaker package and deeper high performance keel, should sail higher and faster and generally improve upon the cruising rig's dance steps. (The Performance Package is an option, which adds about $20,000 to the base price.)
DESIGN AND CONSTRUCTION
The foundation of the Jeanneau 49's performance lies in the collaboration between the builder, which is a member of Group Beneteau, and naval architect Philippe Briand. Briand is not well known in the U.S. but is renowned in Europe as an innovator and a designer of elegant and fast boats—racing or cruising. The choice of Briand to design the 49 and other Jeanneaus underscores the company's commitment to building boats that truly sail well.
The 49 has a sleek and powerful sheer, fairly short overhangs, a nearly plumb bow and a long waterline. Jeanneau has had a lot of success with their 54DS (deck saloon) and 49DS models. The 49 was created to offer a boat that was sleek looking, with a low-profile coach roof, trim moldings, a large but low-profile cockpit and an overall streamlined appearance.
Her beam is 14 feet, three inches—similar to the Hunter 49 and Beneteau 49—so there is plenty of interior volume for accommodations and storage. Briand has brought the lines of the hull in at the bow and stern which gives the 49 good balance upwind and the ability to steer straight when power reaching and running.
The large high-aspect spade rudder and new performance keel will add to the boat's windward ability and make it nimble and quick through tacks. They also will give the boat more stability and thus the ability to carry more sail. The rudder is fiberglass with a stainless steel ruder post and a welded stainless steel web inside the rudder's laminate. The rudder hangs on robust self-aligning rudder bearings and is controlled by an adjustable chain-wire-quadrant steering system that connects both wheels to the quadrant.
The new performance rig equips the boat will a taller mast and a longer boom. Flying a standard performance mainsail with a well curved roach and a 150-percent genoa, the boat will carry over 1,300 square feet of working sail—enough to get it going well in the light stuff and ample for pleasing performance when the wind picks up.
Built in France and shipped to the U.S., the 49 does not have a high-tech ultralight hull. The hull is hand-laid fiberglass without a core that is reinforced with Kevlar in the forward sections and around areas of high loading, such as the rudder post. The deck is cored for stiffness, lightness and insulating properties. Such construction techniques have long and proven records and provide their owners with hulls that will last many years and with-stand the rigors of heavy blue-water sailing.
An interior grid forms the forward and lateral stringers on which the bulkheads, tanks and engine are mounted and where the keel bolts are secured. The bulkheads are laminated to the hull and deck, and the deck is fastened to the hull with high strength adhesive and through-bolts.
The 49 Performance was drawn by a master yacht designer who gave the boat sleek, fast lines and the ability to sail well in a wide range of wind and sea conditions. The design was then engineered and constructed by a firm that has built many thousands of cruising boats and has perfected the techniques to create a hull and deck, rudder and keel that are strong, durable and safe. And the 49 will be fast as well.
Several accommodations plans are available for the 49 that can offer either three or four sleeping cabins and three or four heads. The 49 is a big boat with a lot of volume, so even the four cabin arrangement provides ample storage and hanging space for crew sailing aboard.
If the boat is going to be used for offshore events or regattas in the Caribbean, then the four-cabin layout makes sense since it enables eight sleeping berths to be left made up at all times. Both the quarter cabins will be good sea berths. And the upper and lower berths in the split fore cabins will also be good berths at sea even though they are forward of the mast.
The saloon has the chart table to starboard at the foot of the companionway. On all but the four-cabin models, the chart table is huge and more of a floating office than a simple nav station. On the four-cabin version, the nav station is smaller and more compact.
The 49 has an in-line galley along the port side of the saloon that has acres of counter space, a huge fridge, big sinks and a lot of storage. For preparing meals in port, at anchor or in level-sailing conditions, an in-line gal-ley works well. We all tend to congregate in the kitchen anyway, so why not make the whole saloon a floating kitchen with a large comfortable dinette on the starboard side?
The downside to an in-line galley such as this is that it is less convenient for preparing meals and washing up when heeled hard on either tack since the cabin is wide and there are few corners against which to brace yourself so that you can cook using both hands. Also, on the starboard tack, the sinks will not drain efficiently and may even burp seawater into the cabin.
To our minds, only sailors who are planning on spending a lot of time at sea should worry much about an in-line galley. Most of us do not spend a lot of time at sea and even those of us who cruise offshore are cooking evening meals at sea about five percent of the time.
The 49 has tanks for 150 gallons of water and 63 gallons of diesel. For coastal cruising or even offshore runs, this is a good supply. Yet owners who will be venturing really far and wide may want to shift one water tank to diesel and install a watermaker.
A couple with children, those who like to sail with friends and those who will be bringing aboard crew for sailing events will find the 49's interior comfortable and commodious. Finished in teak with a light colored overhead, plenty of opening ports and a traditional teak-and-holly sole, the 49 feels traditional and will make a very pleasant home afloat.
As we have noted, the Jeanneau 49 Performance sails well and will be competitive and fun in distance races, offshore events or even around the buoys. The Briand design is sweet and slips through the water like a thoroughbred. The boat's look is sleek, modern, simple and functional.
Jeanneau already has a range of deck-saloon cruising boats that have proven to be trendsetters and very popular. The 49 seems almost to be a paean to great racer/cruisers of the past—boats that were developed for the old CCA rule or the first few years of the IMS—that were true sea boats that sailed fast and had good manners in heavy weather as well as light winds. It reminds us of durable designs like the Olin Stephens–designed Swans of the 1970s and the Frers-designed Beneteau First series boats of the 1980s.
With the Jeanneau 49 Performance, the company has emphasized sailing qualities but not at the expense of comfort. And they have maintained a high level of production quality while still offering a big capable cruising boat at a very fair value. For those who like to sail and like a boat that really sails well, just trim her carefully, sit to leeward and feel her walk to windward like a pro.
Draft (deep) 7'8”
Ballast (deep) 8,025 lbs.
Displacement (shoal) 27,888 lbs.
Sail Area 1,310 sq. ft
Fuel 63 gals.
Water 185 gals.
Auxiliary (diesel) 75 horsepower
Sail Area/Displ. 22.79
Base Price $318,200
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