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An article written by our staff and featured in The Charter Connection

NEW BAREBOATS - spotlighting Sunsail's new Jeanneau's Sun Odyssey 'i' line of monohulls

Sunsail 36i bareboat
Throughout the years, we've seen a lot of different bareboat designs come through the fleets, and while the various operators are now equipping boats with ever more gadgets, (Ed is quick to remind us that his boats at Tortola Yacht Charters back in the '70's were the first to have depth sounders!), the trend in recent years is that the yachts themselves were becoming fairly homogenized. The Cyclades line of boats from Beneteau that were introduced in the middle of the last decade are a good example of how basic designs were getting.

The Cyclades were Beneteau's foray into producing less expensive boats, primarily to meet the realities of charter operators who work on very slim margins. The hardware spec of the boat was quite minimal - the Cyclades line didn't even have travelers! The result was actually not a bad boat for charter, with a wide beam carried far aft giving fairly spacious aft cabins and cockpit, and they do sail fairly well in lighter air. As a fan of sailboats, however, I found the Cyclades particularly uninspiring, (it should be noted that Beneteau seems to have learned quite a bit from building the Cyclades, as their new Oceanis line are lovely boats, and surprisingly affordable).

In direct contrast to these boats, which have dominated many fleets for the past few years, the relatively new Jeanneau Sun Odyssey "i" line of yachts that are making their way into the charter fleets look stunning. Several operators have incorporated a few of these into their fleets here and there, but Sunsail has made the i series the backbone of their monohull fleets. They started with the Sun Odyssey 39i, which is my least favorite of the line for use in charter, and now have added the 32i, 36i, 42i, and 44i.

Interior of Sunsail 36iThe Sun Odyssey 39i is a nice yacht overall, and like all of the Sunsail's Odyssey series, performs well, but its layout isn't well suited to most charter parties. It was originally designed as a 2 or 3 cabin boat with 1 head. A single head on a 39 foot yacht isn't attractive to the majority of North American charter customers, so a 2nd head was shoehorned into the forward cabin. It's not really a proper head, with two oddly shaped doors that only partially block off the head from the forward cabin. For a family, or a couple, it's a perfectly nice boat, but it should really be considered a 1 head layout.

The remainder of the series all have layouts you'd expect to see on a charter boat of the given size. Sunsail has placed their Odyssey models at many of their bases worldwide, with their BVI fleet being the most complete example:

The 32i, (which has now been replaced by Jeanneau with the 33i, I haven't seen any of these appear in charter fleets yet, but expect to soon), is a great entry level boat well suited to a couple. It's weekly rate ranges from $1723 in low season, to $2990 over the holidays.

The 36i is one of my favorite boats in this class, with 2 cabins and 1 quite spacious head with separate shower compartment. Great for a family or a couple, and a good budget option for 2 couples who don't mind sharing a head and shower. The 36i's charter fee ranges from $2048 to $4388. Also available with 3 cabins and 1 head, (sans separate shower compartment).

The 39i, mentioned above, charters for $2243 to $4713 per week from Tortola.

The 42i is really a far better option than the 39i if you're looking for a yacht with 3 cabins and 2 heads. The 42 charters in the BVI for $2925 to $6078 weekly.

For 3 couples or a family with older kids, the 44i with its 3 cabins and 3 heads is a great choice, and charters for $3023 in the summer to $6240 over Christmas and New Year's. The 44i is also available in a 4 cabin configuration at some bases, primarily in the Mediterranean, where 2 cabins with quite narrow double berths replace the one larger forward double berth cabin of the 3 cabin model.

The prices above are just the charter fee, as Sunsail publishes them, for charters in the BVI. Yacht insurance and fuel charges add $381 to $541 per week, depending on the model. Sunsail also offers various discounts, of 15% to 25% throughout the Summer, and certain weeks in the Winter. Repeat guests with Sunsail save an additional 5%.

It should be noted that the Jeanneau design has a narrower entry, resulting in a smaller forward cabin with a berth that tapers notably towards the foot, but this also accounts for part of the Sun Odyssey's better sailing performance. For those looking for a bit more fun while sailing, Sunsail's various Jeanneau Sun Odyssey "i" line are a great choice.

If you'd like to discuss whether one of the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey models or another type of yacht would be best for you, call us at 800-621-7855, email us, or contact us through the Ed Hamilton & Co site and tell us about your plans.

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