Captain Jeff Lewis Reviews the Jeanneau 490

As a professional yacht delivery captain and sailor for nearly 50 years, I am often asked by new sailors, “What is the best sailboat on the market?”. This, of course, is a question everyone wants to know. My usual reply is, “The best boat on the market is the boat you will realistically use that you feel comfortable sailing.”

In order to select the best boat for you, is to truly and honestly assess what you will really use the boat for the majority of your time. So many people think they need a big boat that’s built for long range blue water sailing when they’ve yet to sail outside the local waters. To seek such a boat would probably quickly disappoint you.

I have owned boats of all types, power, sail, paddle… In all honesty, the majority of my time on my boats was always spent doing local trips, weekenders, and overnights to local destinations. I spent many nights at anchor or at a marina enjoying time with family and friends. Less than 10% of my time was spent doing a long distance overnight or multi-day trip in blue water (on my boats at least!).

I was asked to do an honest assessment of the Jeanneau 490 Sun Odyssey I recently delivered over 1200 track miles from Ft. Lauderdale to St. Thomas. I spent 90% in blue water and 10% nearshore. During those 8 days I spent offshore, we sailed on all points of sail, in various conditions from near gale force winds and 8-10′ seas and flat calm conditions.

Our first day was spent crossing the Gulfstream toward the Bahamas in 20kt Southeast winds. It was a lumpy close hauled ride, to say the least. We discovered that it is best to beef up the interior cabinet latches in this type of pounding. We managed to shore up the cabinet and drawer latches quickly. One thing I can say, I have sailed many Jeanneaus over many rough seas, through gales and can tell you without a doubt the hull and rigging on these yachts can take a pounding!

Later in our journey, we had an unfavorable wind shift causing us to close haul and tack to windward. I was impressed with how close to the wind we were able to sail and make good speed even in sloppy conditions offshore. We beat close hauled for nearly two days. I was convinced we would lose more than a day during this time, but surprisingly we made good progress to windward until we got more favorable winds as we dipped into the trades.

Our sail into the islands was fast on a close reach at over 8-10kts. in 6-8′ seas and 15-18kts. of wind. We arrived on schedule in the islands. One of our traditions upon reaching the Caribbean is to stop for a “swim call” for all hands. We anchored at Christmas Cove near Great St. James Island. This is where the 490 was in her true element! We dropped the massive swim platform and opened up the cockpit to a very comfortable open and breezy, shaded space for having our celebratory libations and a much-deserved swim in the clear, warm waters of the Caribbean!

The walk around, open continuous side decks from the cockpit at the helm to foredeck gave us plenty of room to walk without obstruction or awkward climb over the seat backs to the foredeck. We decided to see how the sunbeds worked in the cockpit and opened up the seats which turned the cockpit into a nice sunning/napping area. We brought up whatever was left of our provisions from the galley and had a great meal alfresco while
watching the other cruisers swim, play and sail about.

Overall, this is what the Jeanneau 490 was designed to provide! She’s tough offshore, some tweaking of the interior cabinets before a crossing, and she’s solid and tough as nails. A fun, spacious enjoyable cruising layout made for maximum accommodation for both fast, solid sailing performance offshore, then, relaxing in the harbor on the hook or in a marina.

Our time aboard had finally come to an end and we brought her to her new charter base at Virgin Islands Yacht Charters at Compass Pointe Marina. I have no doubt there are some happy charter customers that have taken her around the islands and lived quite comfortably during their explorations! We sure have come a long way since Sir Francis Drake plied those waters!

Choosing Downwind and Light Air Headsails

Concerning downwind and light air sail choices, there are many factors at play and special considerations for cruising catamarans:

  1. How will you be using your boat?
  2. How many additional sails will you have in your inventory to cover the downwind gamut of situations from close reaching to broader reaching and variable wind conditions?
  3. Which choice will you make in reference to sail handling equipment, furlers, snuffers, and deck hardware?

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Meet Atlantic Cruising Yachts’ Intern: Baptiste Bardout

Baptiste Bardout is a new face on the docks of Atlantic Cruising Yachts and comes to us from his home country of France. Baptiste was working as the head of sales for a construction company when he decided to make a change, leave behind his steady job, and follow his passions – sailing and the sea. He was inspired by his fond childhood memories of sailing, scuba diving, and fishing with his family. He grew to love the “sound and energy” of the sea.

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When you’re sailing offshore–Are you interested in price or cost?

A client recently finished a passage on a Saona 47. Mostly it was a great experience–especially since he was coming from extensive offshore, monohull sailing experiences. Like all passages, his was not problem free, but the issues, were primarily not the fault of the boat, but inadequate commissioning and commissioning planning, and a lack of proper training and familiarization in advance.

What’s the difference?

These, issues handled properly, regarding commissioning, are exactly why ACY is so often praised for it’s perfection of the process. A manufacturer cannot make the boat perfect for every owner and every scenario–but your dealer can–if he cares and has the experience.

We offer prudent consultation and bring more resources to the table than available anywhere else. We are the number one dealer in the world. We bring our extensive expertise, experience and resources to  to your project–standard!

Manufactures build for a worldwide market. We plan your boat just for you!

You can cut corners on commissioning and get a lower price, but, in the end, as this owner found out, it cost him far more in the long run!

A customers description of the good, bad and ugly, and some answers…

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Exclusive — Fountaine Pajot Unveils Two New Models! ACY’s President Weighs In on FP’s Continuing Evolution

I just returned from the Fountaine Pajot mid-year dealer meeting at ‘Boot Dusseldorf,’ Europe’s largest boat show. My good friends at Fountaine Pajot have certainly been busy, expanding production capacity to meet ever-increasing worldwide demand, continually designing and introducing innovative new models, all the while rolling out a steady flow of quality hulls for our existing clients. The hard work of this talented team is certainly not going unnoticed in the international yachting world.

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Comparing Monohulls By The Numbers

When considering boat comparisons, is it important to think about the numbers, especially when considering monohulls, where this is a time-honored practice. Recently, I was talking to a customer, new to sailing. He was trying to get a handle on comparing the different boats he had seen and asked me for some thoughts.

I explained that the landscape has definitely changed and that there were many new design criteria being employed so that it makes it difficult to use the same old formulas in any meaningful way. Some of this is discussed in this article.

Here’s a good article from Cruising World explaining some of the difficulties of comparing today’s modern designs to those of a few years ago.

There are so many links out there for comparisons, but most all are now outdated by the new generation of modern, efficient, single-handed cruisers like the Jeanneau 440 and 490.

This attempt to compare attributes in monohulls is complicated even further as modern designs depart still further from the previous designs. It’s like comparing your Dad’s 53 Chevy to a self-driving, modern Mercedes! How do you begin to compare features that just didn’t exist in the past?

For years, things didn’t change much, but now, all of a sudden, like in the automotive industry, they have!

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It’s “About Time” to Pursue the Dream!

A story from our customer, Barry Slifstein, who re-evaluated his priorities and got back into boating after his father passed. Barry is a knowledgeable and experienced boater who just finished delivering his new Jeanneau 54 from Annapolis to the Virgin Islands.

This story is about two exceptional boats and an exceptional man, Barry Slifstein. He chartered “Not Afraid” and named his new boat “About Time,” and what a wonderful story he has! Read about his experience in his own words:

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What Makes a Power Catamaran a Motor Yacht?

Motor Yacht vs. Powered Yacht? It’s all about the planing speeds.

It starts with the design intent. If you want to have a true, planing motor yacht, like the Fountaine Pajot 37 and 44, it must be designed with a planing hull and matching appropriate engine installation.

In the case of the  Fountaine Pajot 44 Motor Yacht, which is a huge volume boat, it makes sense to go with IPS drives which are 50% more efficient than a conventional power train. That translates to longer range and higher speeds for a given engine and set of conditions. Now, let’s get a little technical.

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Extraordinary Innovation from Jeanneau

A new look at comfortable cruising

Jeanneau has been a leading innovator in designing leading edge cruising boats for over 60 years. With the new Sun Odyssey series, kicking off with the 410, 440 and 490, Jeanneau raises the bar. This is a total redesign from the keel up!

So, what’s different in this picture? Notice the back end of the deck is at the cockpit floor level? We call it “Walk around decks” You’ll say, “Why doesn’t everyone do this?” Eventually they will, but, you have to design this feature in from the ground up–and this is just the first of many phenomenal differences…

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Watermakers: Yes? No? Maybe?

At the recent Fountaine Pajot dealer meeting we had a great opportunity to meet with the developer/inventor/CEO of the watermaker chosen by Fountaine Pajot. Here’s the information right from the horses’ mouth. Also included, our discussion of the pros and cons of installing a watermaker on a boat set up as a business — now, vs. pre-plumbing and pre-wiring for one to be installed later.

Watermakers can make your life easier on board, not only providing safe, pure drinking water, but also plenty of water for bathing, dishwashing, clothes washers and even for electric freshwater heads. The longer you’re aboard at a time, and the further afield you cruise, the more important they become.

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