Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40DS Review: Panoramic View

Jeanneau 40 DS PDF Brochure (Click to Download)

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40DS introduced in 1998 is an excellent example of the deck salon idea that has revolutionized yacht design. Despite traditionalist tastes, it is pretty clear that most future sailboats will feature – if not full out deck salons – at least large portholes along their trunk cabins. The panoramic view below and well protected helm above out weigh any preconceived stylistic standards. Like the evolution from long CCA overhands to sharply raked bows, the sensibility of these yachts is lending them to become the dominant style of sailboat seen off our shores.

Chantiers Jeanneau was originally founded as a powerboat manufacturer in 1957 by Henri Jeanneau and made their grand entry into the sailboat market in 1970 with the Sangria of which they produced 2,000 hulls. Their sprawling 145 acre yard in Les Herbiers, France is reportedly the largest production facility in the world with 1,425,700 square feet of building space and employing 1,900 people. It was at Les Herbiers where they started production of the 40DS by Daniel Andrieu in 1998 and produced her until 2004 along with a 40-foot flush decked version with twin helm stations. The 40DS was meant as a couple’s performance cruising vessel with offshore rated quality. When the company entered bankruptcy in 2005, Madame Beneteau jumped on the opportunity to purchase their assets, cut costs by sharing technology with her other brands, and steered Jeanneau back into prominence. Jeanneau’s rebirth is connected to their skill in producing handsome, functional, and performance oriented DS designs. Today in 2011 they feature 39, 42, 45, and 50 foot versions.

Jeanneau 40DS

First Impressions
The heightened awareness of her panoramic windows is due to the short length for this deck salon. There are few modern pilots at the 40-foot mark. She has a fast looking raked bow upfront, a modest sheer, and a one step swim platform aft. Her beam of 12′ 11″ is a generous but not exaggerated 3.1 to length ratio. Daniel Andrieu penned two portholes in her topsides along with a thin cove stripe. Above she features a 57-foot clearance, slightly swept, double spreader spar. Underneath is either a high aspect fin keel of 6′ 6″ or a shoal version of conservatively 5′ 6″ (manufacturer specifications reflect unloaded 4′ 11″ draft) paired with a spade rudder.

Jeanneau 40DS Salon

Construction and What To Look For
With the merging into Group Beneteau, Jeanneau has tried to keep true to their high quality principles while maximizing collective cost savings. The equipment you will find on the Jeanneau 40DS is often the same as on comparable Beneteaus and Wauquiez, but the craftsmanship is particularly higher thought of than on Beneteaus. The layup is composed of layers of solid fiberglass cloth glassed together with polyester resin on inner layers and blister resistant vinylester resin for the outer layers. Then plywood structural members are glassed in to create a stiffening structure. Once cured hull pans, for instance for the engine mount, are tabbed to the hull. Finally, fully outfitted modules for the different sections of the interior, like the heads and galley, are tabbed in. Last of all the deck is secured to the hull which optionally can have teak nonskid.

On Deck
Forward she has a large chainlocker that houses the vertical windlass inside. The French sloping cabintrunk quickly rises to accommodate the large salon windows. The cockpit has two arrangements: one in which the helm is offset starboardside with the wheel mounted along the companionway and another where the wheel is centerline mounted on a pedestal. I prefer the offset position where the captain is dryly tucked underneath the bimini out of foul weather. This maximizes the visibility through the pilot windows. Depending on the interior layout, there may be outstanding storage room in the cockpit. The two stateroom versions have a deep starboardside locker through the hatch in the starboard benching. Three stateroom versions use that area for a single berth.

Jeanneau 40DS Layouts

Down Below
Both the two and three stateroom interior layouts feature two heads and a master stateroom forward. The veneer is superb covering the cabinetry and warmly featured as an overhead liner. The combination of the warm joinery and airy salon windows showcase the highpoint of this design. Once one experiences the openness and brightly light interior of a deck salon, it is hard to crawl back into the cave like interiors of yester years. She features abundant storage through out underneath, above, and behind every settee. Headroom is exceptional at 6′ 5″ in the salon and rising to near 7′ in heads and aft. Two stateroom versions have a deep pantry aft of the starboard galley. My only criticism is that Daniel Andrieu should have found a way to include a separate stall shower. Otherwise the interior is perfectly arranged and finished.

Jeanneau 40DS Line Drawing

Engine and Underway
The only engine I have noted is a 56 HP Yanmar though R. Perry has a design review that mentions 40 and 70 HP Yanmars as standard. Access is excellent from the front through the easy to hing down companionway steps, the side, and aft. Most of the Jeanneau 40DS’ seem to be located on the Great Lakes possible due to an aggressive Jeanneau dealer in that area. I can see why one would be an excellent vessel out there, but unfortunately that means many seem to have little tankage. Fuel tankage can be as low as 35 gallons which is hardly two days of motoring. Adding an additional fuel tank would be my first upgrade if you are looking to set sail for the Caribbean. Without a doubt there is plenty of storage to accommodate your tankage needs. With her sails up you will never more appreciate the comfortable, dry helm and fantastic visibility through her deck saloon windows.

Look no further than the Jeanneau 40 DS for a panoramic view from down below, spectacular storage, and classic wood detailing. Production shut down in 2003, so you will have to look to the brokerage market. There are relatively few available in the USA, and most are on the Great Lakes – an adventurous starting point to make the Great Loop. Prices range around $150,000 and resale value will hold high as these vessels are increasingly in demand. Deck salons are the cutting edge in modern naval architecture and a solid investment towards an enjoyable cruising experience.


2 Replies to “Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 40DS Review: Panoramic View”

  1. can a person get safety covers for all the glass above deck? I have seen waves smash windows before and they would seem a must if going off shore?

  2. Rick:

    I don’t know, but safety covers are a really good idea. I have never heard of any problems on the 40DS as the glass is pretty thick, but you can never be too careful. I have heard the horror stories and experienced the fear before as well.


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