The Jeanneau 64 is a big boat, no two ways about it. From the floating docks in Annapolis as we gathered to go out for a sail trial, the deck was shoulder high and climbing aboard required a mounting block and a heave ho. From the dock, we had a look at her lines, the shape of her stern and bow and the symmetry of the low profile cabin to the sheer and everything about the design looked right.
Designed by Philippe Briand and styled by Andrew Winch, the new 64 has a long and valuable pedigree. Briand, who designs most Jeanneaus these days, has been one of France’s leading yacht designers for 30 years and is known for both his technical wizardry and the simple beauty of his boats. Admittedly, the new 64, like a lot of modern boats, will seem angular and futuristic to the more traditional sailors in the cruising fleet. But, if you can embrace the new styles, this boat is one of the best examples, from a purely aesthetic point of view.
Andrew Winch styles mega yachts —power and sail—and has a knack for making cabins, saloons, galleys and the on-deck living spaces bright, welcoming and infused with style. His collaboration on a yacht is always a sign that the builder is serious about creating both elegance and fine living in their new boat. As we first explored the 64 everything seemed in the right place, correctly proportioned and well thought out. Of course, this is easier to do in 64 feet than it is in smaller boats, but still it was obvious the hand of a master had been at work here.
We had a small crowd onboard for the morning sail but we all fit on the boat easily. In the cockpit, the sailing area is separate from the lounging settees, so it is perfectly possible to be a passenger riding in style while others do what little work is required to sail the boat.
Using the thrusters, we walked the boat away from the dock and then motored out Spa Creek into the Chesapeake Bay. The boat is big enough so that you have to maneuver deliberately and anticipate where you need to be in traffic before you get into a pinch.
The wind was blowing at eight to 10 knots from the east so we rolled out the mainsail from the mast and then rolled out the genoa and pointed the bow toward open water. We trimmed for close hauled sailing—using the electric winches—and felt the big boat accelerate nicely and fall into a comfortable upwind groove. The one thing we had not expected was to have the boat feel quick and fast underneath us. Sure, it is a modern lightweight cruiser but it displaces 68,000 pounds so it should feel solid if not stolid under foot. That was not the case. The boat cut through the water with alacrity and we found that we were able to hold her at 28 to 30 degrees apparent wind while we were making 6.5 knots in the eight-knot breeze. The feel on the helm was positive and light.
Once we were clear of the land, we cracked off to a broad reach. The wind was building slightly to 10 to 12 knots and at a broad angle, the 64 really leaped forward. Again, we were pleasantly surprised at the boat’s sailing characteristics.
As we were working the boat through sail trims, tacks and jibes, it became apparent that the design team and the Jeanneau engineers had spent a lot of time getting the layout of the cockpit to be just right. When you needed to find a sheet, control line or lanyard to make a tweak, the line was always right where it should have been. The sail handling logic of the cockpit was impeccable.
The owner of the 64 that we sailed had a professional captain onboard who was running the boat. It was destined to be in the Caribbean for the winter so the skipper was getting all of the systems sorted out for the offshore passage. The boat was working at 100 percent and seemed ready to go. From our point of view, this would be an excellent boat for Caribbean and world cruising. And fast, too.
The 64 has been conceived to be an indoor-outdoor living plan with a huge cockpit and sumptuous but uncluttered accommodations below decks.
The cockpit will be the most lived-in space on the boat, particularly if you are cruising in the tropics or spending time aboard during the summer. Aft there is a huge fold-down platform that will be great for swimming, showering and lounging on warm afternoons. Inside the transom, there is a dinghy garage that will house a proper RIB and outboard.
The aft end of the cockpit is the sailing center with twin wheels, four winches and all sheets and lines led through line stoppers. Most lines run aft under the deck to give the boat and the cockpit an uncluttered look. The main sheet is mounted on the cockpit arch so it is always out of the way of those in the cockpit.
In the starboard helm seat, you will find a stainless steel grill that pops up and is ready for barbequing. Just forward of the helms there is a small fridge for cool drinks and the supplies you will need for grilling.
The main cockpit is a lounge with large bench seats on both sides and a table for six to dine down the middle. The benches can be expanded to form large sunning beds. A cockpit dodger can be folded up and down to either provide protection from wind and rain, or folded down to open the space to direct sunlight and cooling breezes.
Down below, the companion steps lead to the large galley to port and the saloon where these is a dinette for eight to starboard and either a large sofa or a navigation center to port. The boat has a 59-foot waterline and almost 18 feet of beam, and it has a chine aft that expands interior volume even more. The interior is huge and Winch and Jeanneau have been very restrained in an effort to make the boat open, light and elegant.
The interior can have several accommodation plans to suit a family’s unique needs. The master cabin can either be aft under the cockpit with a centerline double berth and large en suite head or it can be forward where the double berth is off center to starboard and the cabin is fitted with a desk/dressing table and a huge head in the forepeak. With the aft cabin arrangement, the twin guest cabins are forward of the saloon. In the forward cabin plan, the guest cabins become quarter cabins under the cockpit.
To starboard of the companionway there is a cabin that can be set up with upper and lower berths or arranged as an office with a desk, communications and computers built in. If you were to have a captain aboard, you might designate this the captain’s cabin. Or, you could opt instead to have the captain live in a smaller cabin in the forepeak just aft of the chain locker. This last option would occupy what otherwise would be a large sail and storage locker that would be useful on a boat of this size.
The choice of light colored veneers and trim and soft colors for fabrics on the boat we sailed in Annapolis made the interior spaces warm and inviting. With large windows and numerous overhead hatches, plenty of sunlight filled the saloon and cabins and ventilation was superb.
The engine room is under the cockpit and accessible through large doors. The space is large enough to house the main engine, a genset, air conditioning and watermaker without making routine maintenance and repairs difficult.
The standard 64 carries 218 gallons of diesel and 265 gallons of water. The 180 horsepower main engine will burn roughly two gallons an hour at cruising speed so you can figure that the boat has a safe cruising range under power of 600 miles. With four people aboard and no watermaker, the boat carries enough water to last a careful crew at least two weeks. A watermaker would make the 64 self-sufficient for a long time.
The 64 is a proper yacht in the classic sense in that she is designed for elegant living while exploring the world’s best cruising grounds. While it may be a bit large for a couple on their own, the boat would work very well for a family with teenagers or active young friends who like to sail. And although the 64 is a yacht in the true sense of the word, she is still a lot of fun to sail. (images provided courtesy Jeanneau/Gilles Martin-Raget)
LOD 64’ 1”
Draft (shoal) 7’2”
Displ. 68,343 lbs.
Sail area 1,829 sq, ft.
Fuel 218 gals.
Water 265 gals.
Engine 180 hp.
105 Eastern Ave. Ste 202