Yachts We Have Reviewed
Yacht Chartered: Sosumi - Jeanneau Sun Odyssey DS
Dates Reviewed: July 14 - July 21, 2009
Charter Company: Horizon Yacht Charters, Jeanneau Sun Odyssey
Charter Location: Horizon Yacht Charters, Nanny Cay, Tortola, BVI
Charter Size: 2 - 4 Adults
Yacht Type: Monohull
Make: Sun Odyssey Deck Saloon
Yacht Size: 42 Foot
Layout: Three Cabin Owners Version
The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey line of yachts has a legendary reputation for on deck space and below deck comfort. Sosumi, a 2009 42 footer, is the next evolution in this wonderful line of yachts, and she turned out to be a worthy successor. Sosumi is one of the most sporty and comfortable Monohulls we have ever sailed. If you ever have the option for one of the Jeanneau lines Sun Odyssey DS yachts, you won't be let down. Our Horizon Yacht Charters version was outfitted with an electric winch for the main, along with a few other nice touches we haven't see on many 42-footers in this size or price range (including other Jeanneau DS's from other charter companies).
Sosumi will dance gently in the wind, but with your command, she'll dig in her shoulders and put the hammer down!
Sosumi, our Chartered 42 foot Jeanneau Sun Odyssey Deck Saloon (Jeanneau 42 SO DS) was as stunning to look at as she was fun to sail. When we laid eyes on her for the first time we noticed the large "eye" saloon windows right away. From the outside, the curving lines of the coach roof meeting the deck carry a bit of sex appeal. Somehow, for both sexes. As we approached we saw the "sugar scoop" transom with folding ladder, built into the steps. All leading us though the cockpit to the wide opening companionway with curved steps.
The cockpit and deck seating area is spacious, with enough room to easily seat 6 without using either of the helm seats. A folding cockpit table, benches long enough to stretch out on and twin helm stations create a comfortable and purposeful on deck environment. Sosumi has a couple of specific items that make her stand out. First, the electric push button winch for the main, the second, the super easy, modern, roller furling mainsail! Down below we found much more space than we expected on a Monohull with an aft helm set up. Light, airy, and tons of headroom from those big windows. Either the bow or stern cabins qualify as "owner's" cabins. They are impressive. Especially the aft "stateroom." Graceful, fun, and easy to sail, Sosumi transforms once at the mooring. The two couples reviewing on this trip slept in near ideal A/C'd comfort, and were rocked gently to sleep.
Fast or relaxed, moored or anchored, Sosumi was in her element.
On this go around we didn't find our deal though the search engines. Rather, we found it on a BVIs charter company website. Specifically, the Horizon Yacht Charters "Specials" page. Horizon had several specials across the price spectrum. We found the deal we liked and the yacht we liked. We had only one problem. The yacht we wanted wasn't part of the deal. Just before we called to book, we were reading thought the deal "limits" and found out we chose a 2009 yacht and the deal ended at 2008s! Now we wanted it more than ever! We sure did want what we couldn't have, but we made the call anyway and asked for Sosumi, the 2009 Jenneau 42 DS. We should not have worried. Horizon was more than happy to extend their special to Sosumi. In the end, we actually paid three hundred dollars LESS than the "Special Deal" price! In short, Horizon Yacht Charters made the decision to charter Sosumi super easy.
Did It Live Up To Expectations?
Yes. She lived up to them well and handled the surprise the winds gods had in store for us on this trip like she expected them. Being that Sosumi is a brand new 2009 yacht with only 400 some hours under her keel, we were excited to see what this brand spanking new boat could do! One of the stand out features that drew us to this yacht in particular was the master cabin. Aft-located cabins tend to be caves. Cabin ceiling encroachment from the cockpit above is the norm on these kinds of yachts. Not on a new 42 foot 2009 Jeanneau SO DS apparently. We've seen smaller cabins on catamarans! A full beam width master cabin, plenty of stowage, and headroom. Where you have to stand, you can. Where you sit, you can sit up. This is not a boat you have to crouch to get around on. Very well thought out, and it showed though the lack of bruises on our foreheads!
When we got her out into the blustery Sir Francis Drake Channel she came to life. Even in 20-30 (and a few days 35-40!) knot winds, she showed us she had plenty more to give. Her furling mainsail instilled powerful confidence. Beyond expectations, we found one powered winch aboard (though she at the time of review was listed as having no powered winches) and we had a bit more "footing" than we expected. We saw this yacht listed as having a 5.5 foot drafting keel on the Horizon Yacht Charters website. When we arrived we noticed the small sign in the helm right away: "7 foot draft."
Definitely not the Shoal option. In the the big wind we loved this little type-o.
This was the theme throughout our experience with Sosumi. Room (and keel) to spare and everything where it should be. Including all the gear (safety and back up) that we would have stocked onboard ourselves.
Having never reviewed or more notably never sailing a boat with an in-mast roller furling main (and doing it in full on 30-40 knot blow) made for a bit of nerves on the first set. Not that the boat had anything to do with it. Gratefully after setting the main it was easy to see there was no need for the "new boat jitters." The roller furling main made easy and quick work of the main sail. Even without the powered winches help, setting the main on Sosumi is a very simple task (and infinitely reef-able). We set the overlapping Genoa with equal ease. We put her on a close reach and rolled out every inch of canvas. Even pointing high, in these winds we saw speeds in the low teens!
Sosumi's sail plan also allowed us a choice for depowering the sails. Ether setting a reef in the main and Genoa or flattening a centered main with a reefed Genoa. Both approaches worked equally well.
Sosumi was a lot of fun. The winds on this review really let us test her limits. And it was only at these outer limits that we could find things we wish we had.
Such as a dodger. We never would have thought we'd actually need a dodger in the BVIs, but if you're beating into the waves and wind like we were (remember 6-8 foot swells, breaking waves, and 30+ knots of wind), the bow washes with water and it sends a big spray and a river of sea water over the cabin top. The result... a very wet and shivering Captain. The simple solution... timed ducking behind the helm.
We realize this is a reach. You will rarely need a dodger down in the BVIs. But it's our job to find this stuff. And we only found this because of the extreme conditions. If this 42-foot Jeanneau can handle this stuff, she will take good care of you.
Every yacht has its hidden gems and opportunities for improvement. Our Horizon Yacht Charters Jeanneau 42 Sun Odyssey DS was gem filled. The opportunities for improvement applied more to the crew than the yacht (like remembering to turn off a knob! See below). Gems like the furling main combined with a coach-top powered winch. Or the uber quiet generator running the ice cold A/C. With charter yachts it's how things work together that makes all the difference in the world. A single item operating correctly is good. But two things working together, further simplifying the operation of the boat, is a thing of beauty. We would charter her again in a heartbeat. What don't we like? Not much in the case of Sosumi. The grill is to0 small, but aren't they all! Here's the lowdown...
Wet Steps and Knobs
At the beginning of our charter, before we left the dock, we noticed that the stern steps were slightly wet. Like water had run over the teak. It appeared to be a bit of bilge water being pumped out (we're talking a very little bit of water). That's what we thought.
We came to find out that the spray off shower in the stern transom steps had a tiny leak in the handle and the water was turned on. A small trickle of water was coming out of the handle and running out on to the stairs.
In all our pre-charter fiddling, it looked like one of our crew may have accidentally left the shower knob on. Easy mistake. But, we only realized this after we checked the bilge and saw it was dry. Not to mention the bilge pump was not running. So, if you ever see a bit of wetness on the back steps, and it really shouldn't be there, check out that spray off shower.
We turned the knob to off. Problem solved. Later in the trip another crew member made this same mistake and left the water on again. This time they emptied ALL of our fresh water. We had one full tank left. By our estimates, the tank drained completely in under four hours. Lucky for us, tank water's cheap!
Spray handles on spray off showers can drip or leak. They can also have their handles depressed when stowed. To be doubly sure we were not going to try to fill the ocean again, we contacted Horizon and asked if they could have someone come out and put a new sprayer handle on. If the mistake was made again, a tight, freshly installed and sealed spray handle would stack the deck in our favor.
Horizon didn't laugh! We would. They were glad to send someone out even though we were on the other end of the island chain. The mechanic was there in 30 min.! That's quick! He was a local from Virgin Gorda. Nice guy. He insisted on checking the sprayer AND the water tanks just to be safe. Fine by us! After he gave the OK on the tanks, he replaced the spray handle, and gave a hand at the dock filling the water tanks.
We could have prevented our tank emptying with a bit of attention. These little things matter. Even a shower knob. This short lapse in attention cost us every drop of fresh water aboard and an extra two hours that afternoon. To read more about this please see the Sosumi / Horizon yacht Charters, Charter Company Review.
Gail Conditions Killed the Fuel Gauge
In more than ten years of coming to the BVIs, we've never seen conditions like we did during four days of our seven day review trip. 20 Knots. 30 Knots. 40 Knots! The day we lost the fuel gauge, we had wind speeds averaging in the mid thirties, gusting over forty. A day some might opt to stay in, but being a review trip, we had a schedule to keep (true, very loose, but we still had to go). The weather was great, except for the wind and seas they stirred up.
After five days of sailing Sosumi, she had been though some pretty rough going. On day six, bashing our way to windward heading to the North Sound of Virgin Gorda, the waves finally killed our fuel guage. There was no dramatic wave or anything like that. Just steady work for our 42-foot Jeanneau. Either that or we magically burned though half a tank swinging on a mooring ball at the Baths that afternoon! We checked our engine hours and ran a quick fuel consumption formula (engine hours run by the amount of fuel it burns per hour). Nope, no magic vanishing fuel. We had over half a tank left. We contacted Horizon Yacht Charters and they confirmed our math. We were good to go. We did let Horizon know we planned to top off fuel before we headed on our way, to which they replied... "We'll refund that cost when you get back." Boy was that unexpected. It's this kind of customer service that goes a very long way!
For more about this review trip, please see our Horizon Yacht Charters, Charter Company Review.
As a general rule, most grills on charter boats are round, small, and simple. Maybe 4 burgers will fit if you don't make them too big (and that's squeezing them in). All the grills work, but they are about the size of a small Webber portable grill, maybe even slightly smaller. If you plan on bringing a large crew, you may want to ask for a second grill. When we find one we like, we'll let you know!
The grill aboard Sosumi is the usual round saucer grill. This time the small size of the grill worked out fine for our crew of three. We never had more than 3 burgers.
Headroom, Space, and Comfort
Our 2009 Jeanneau 42 Sun Odyssey DS had a ton of headroom. The high arching saloon windows lift the coach roof so that most all six footers can walk around like a king (or queen, ladies). The saloon is bright and airy feeling. You get a full 360 degree view of the mooring field or anchorage from anywhere in the saloon. If the sunlight gets to be too much, she has a full suite of fabric shades, even for the saloon hatches.
The space theme is carried aft into the master cabin. The crew members that boarded first were the envy of the trip. They got the aft cabin. We couldn't blame them!
With some creative coach roof molding, Jeanneau has created a master cabin that is truly friendly to, well... people! We could walk in without stooping... or crawling for that matter. We could sit without watching out for our heads when we stood back up. And we could sit up in bed (and get in and out), without getting banged up. Two hanging lockers and four plus cabinets allow for plenty of stowage all situated into a well appointed cabin with built in seating and opening "night-tables" starboard and port.
The A/C intake vent is built into the bottom of the cabin bunk frame. No worries. It doesn't make any noise, but you do have to watch the sheets. If the intake is blocked with sheets or a blanket, the A/C can't operate properly and will go into fail-safe mode (shut down). This happened to us once. We quickly found the intake vent, tucked in the sheets, and fired the A/C up after we gave it a well earned break.
Fun And Simple To Sail
The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 42 DS was not a complicated yacht to sail. The controls all led to the cockpit and can be handled by two people easily (even if one is chasing a toddler around). Sosumi is good choice for beginners, relaxed cruisers, and families with a couple of kiddos. This yacht has a well protected cockpit, tight lifelines, and curved companionway steps to help with footing when heeled. Its appeal is wide. She even appealed to our more vain side. To say she's good looking is an understatement. She strikes a slightly different pose at the mooring field that takes her out of the "Me Too" category (you chartered a BLANK, Me Too!). Sosumi's looks also hint at her performance. Put it this way. If we were entering the charter class in any Caribbean Regatta, we'd pick one of these. Especially the deep draft version we had! But then again, we like comfort as much as we like a good run around the cans. Sosumi is a wonderful mix. Sports car tendencies wrapped up in SUV safety, comfort and space.
Truly a yacht with broad use and appeal.
Furling Main - We've Been Converted... Sosumi
We've already established this thing is fun and easy to sail. Central to both of these great things is the in mast furling mainsail. This is an optional item. The more traditional full baton main is standard. If your considering chartering a Jeanneau and want the in mast furling main, be sure to ask if the yacht is so outfitted before booking. Sosumi's furling mainsail cut our sail setting, trimming, and reefing effort to the minimum. Rather than raising the sail with the halyard, all we had to do was pull it out with the outhaul. Just like a roller furling jib, unclip the furling line, and start unwinding it. It was about that simple. And to add to the goodness, we didn't have to head the wind to winder up (the furling version of dropping sail). A little off the wind kept the sail tight and actually helped us roll it up smoothly. In the wind we experienced, easy furling and unfurling was very much appreciated. The fact that it's infinitely reef-able further simplified sail trim. Couple all this easy of use with the powered winch that runs it all, and you'll understand why we like this set up so much. Cruising is supposed to be relaxing and fun. Sail handling does take some effort, but not on Sosumi! Like we said. We're hooked... Sosumi!
Deep Draft Keel
We really were surprised to see a 7' marking in the helm. It clearly read "7' draft." When we researched this Jeanneau on the Horizon Yacht Charters website, her keel depth was listed just under 6 feet. We didn't plan on any gunkholing but in light of the strong winds a bit of extra keel sounded good to us. Once into the open and feeling the full force of the wind, gusting over 35 knots, (full gail) we felt our Jenneau "extend her legs." No, nothing was actually extending, but she held her groove and turned that wind into some serious upwind power and speed. As we tamed things down, reefing the main, we saw a more civilized side of her. Holding strong with little leeway, keeping us on course (and keeping us pretty darn dry) while the seas tried to convince her otherwise. We found out later that the keel info online was a type-o and it has since been corrected. But, we were glad for those extra 12 inches of keel or so we didn't expect. Based on our experience with Horizon Yacht Charters, we'd bet dimes to dollars that if we truly wanted a sub-six foot keel and planned to gunkhole a bit (shallow water), they would have taken care of us. Why are we so confident? Just experience their customer service and you'll see why. Kudos to the keel gods and the lucky type-o!
We have gone on far too long about the striking good looks of this beauty. When you approach you're glad she's yours (at least for the week). Enough said.
Check out our Charter Photo Gallery for more images of Sosumi.
Not every charter boat comes with an "Iron Jenny" (or is it Genny, we can never tell). But if it has A/C, you can bet it has a generator. The owners of Sosumi picked just the right size little power maker and found about the best place to plant it. This thing is truly non-intrusive. The location of the generator aboard Sosumi is part of the reason. The other seems to be that the owners didn't install one that can power a small town. Instead it is just the right size for the job. Small, but not under powered. It charged our batteries in about 2 hours each evening, while we recharged 3 laptops and 3 iPhones all while running ice cold A/C throughout the yacht. Very simple to operate and only burned 1 liter of fuel per hour (compared to three quarters of a gallon if we had to charge off the engine).
Generators are not a requirement for any charter trip. Generators are only NEEDED if the yacht is set up with A/C intended to work on anchor or mooring. Some yachts without A/C DO have generators for power and charging batteries. Likewise, some yachts are outfitted with dock-side AC (no generator, A/C functions only when plugged into shore power). These last two are more the exception, rather than the rule. In general, if a charter yacht has a generator, it probably has A/C too. It is one of those items we asked for clarification on before we booked! Check out the charter yacht spec sheet for Kw info.
Does Charter Advisors prefer a generator aboard? No. We'd be just as likely to charter a yacht without a generator.
Full A/C - On The Mooring Or Dockside
If there is one thing that is hard to grasp for some new to chartering (and old too), is that yachts don't necessarily come with full A/C standard. Cars have been coming with A/C standard for decades. So wouldn't a yacht? We have to admit that we've wondered about too. Those who have been sailing a while already know the answer. Sailing is about paring down. Getting closer to nature. Living simply but in luxury. A/C is an extra system that is not entirely needed. Especially in the lovely trade-winds of the BVIs. A/C is nice from time to time, but for the Charter Advisors crew, it's really not needed. But, we sure will use it if the yacht comes with it (ok, maybe not a need, but some of the crew does WANT it)! Sosumi had a two zone A/C system; One for the saloon and forward cabin and another for the oversized aft cabin. With any A/C unit in the tropics, we had to make sure all hatches, ports, and the companionway door was closed to keep from over working the A/C. After allowing the generator to warm up for the prerequisite 10 min. we flipped on the breaker for one of the A/C zones. After about 5 more min. you can flip the next. The idea is to not overload the generator by not setting the load all at once (turning on both breakers for both zones at the same time). After about 15 min., it's blowing cold as ice.
As we mentioned earlier, the air intake for the A/C is built into the foot of the aft cabin bunk. Be careful your sheets don't hang over the end of the bed. If they do, the intake won't be taking in much of anything, and the A/C will overload and shut down.
Surprise Powered Winch
Like the keel, we were surprised that Sosumi had a powered winch for the mainsail. We frankly didn't expect it with a roller furling main. They are famous for ease of setting. And it was. We only used our powered up friend to unfurl the main once or twice. Everything was so easy and the working and loads light enough, that a simple Harken manual winch handle worked just fine. It can be hard to find a powered winch on this size and in this price range. This added to the happy surprises. If there is a moral here it is that often you will be surprised for the better when you finally get on board. Could be a powered winch, a more preferable keel, a microwave that's not "suppose to be there," whatever. There's almost always some happy surprise.
More pleasant surprises! Our dinghy was the envy of the mooring field! At least we would have been if we were on a standard size dingy and saw ours pass by. If we would have bothered to read the details about the dinghy on the Horizon website, we would have known to expect an 12 footer (10 foot is common) with a 15-horse outboard. Our little tender had space to spare and it was plenty peppy.
The gas tank and outboard had a length of cable loosely woven though both. The net effect was a dinghy we could completely lock up with a single pad lock, securing the dinghy, outboard, and gas can completely (at the dock or at the yacht). On day one we noticed that she was a bit soft on air. We grabbed the supplied pump and had it firm in four or five pumps. She was good to go from then on. We figure the cool air that morning had something to do with it. Regardless, We loved the smooth ride the extra size afforded and the extra elbowroom. Because we had a larger dinghy, we generally moored farther out than most, for no other reason than we could cover more ground, more easily. This small detail let us stay outside crowds and zip from Saba Rock to Laverick Bay, without starting the yacht! The distance a larger dinghy can cover has more to do with the comfort of the trip than a dinghy's ability to make the trip. We got some extra peace and quiet on the mooring and when we wanted to cover some distance, we didn't feel like we were trying to speed down a gravel driveway in a go-cart.
A particularly thoughtful touch was the extra emphasis on dinghy safety. Horizon Yacht Charters provided detachable nav lights (complete with white pole light for the stern) for our evening runs to shore and dinner. Sure beats a single flashlight! Very much appreciated, and well done Horizon Yacht Charters!
Dinghy Safety Tip: West Marine sells detachable navigation lights online and in their stores. If a charter company we're chartering with does not provide them, we bring our own.
Sosumi keeps it simple and applies the technology lightly, but where it counts. There was one thing in particular that really stood out. When we boarded and began the inspection, one of the first places we look is under the cockpit seats. We want to see the level of thoughtfulness that went into prepping the yacht. You know, see what they keep handy. When the port side cockpit seat was opened we saw the technology that matters most, yet is not "standard" equipment. A full set of brand new, bright orange PFDs. We know what your thinking. Everyone carries these on board. True. You have to. But these were brand new and had emergency strobes and whistles attached to each one. This might sound way too basic. But to us, it shows, Horizon Yacht Charters has their heart and head in the right place. Safety first.
Down below, Sosumi has a Standard Horizon Chart Plotter in the nav station with GPS and all the usual plotting features. It uses a small built in screen and stick for cursor navigation and plotting, along with a CD player with iPod/iPhone jack (with remote), and VHF.
The VHF Radio is right next to the chart plotter and the breaker switches for the onboard systems. It's all there in one place for easy access.
Above deck, the primary auto helm controls are located in starboard helm position along with gauges for wind (speed / direction), depth, and Speed (with VMG - Velocity Made Good). The port helm is outfitted with the basic auto helm controls (no master on/off controls) and a copy of the starboard gauges. The only thing this Jeanneau left us wishing for was a chart plotter at the helm. But that's more of a luxury option. Navigation in the BVIs doesn't even require it, maybe it's a guy thing.
We also count the powered winch in the technological fun along with one more item you might not expect. A hand mic for the VHF in the helm. Why? Some chartered yachts do not come with these. Why? Because the owner doesn't leave it aboard.
We've reviewed yachts with the full array of technological goodies and auto everything. When we compare sailing Sosumi, with fewer complex systems to yachts like this, the sailing experience is identical. There isn't one piece of technology we felt was missing. In fact, we found ourselves sailing with the chart plotter off after the second day. Sosumi encourages "zen sailing," if that makes sense.
As we mentioned in the charter review we had a slight problem with our knob. We wont re-hash all that again. The two fresh water tanks Sosumi is outfitted with are located under the forward and aft cabin bunks. Filler caps are located amidships on the port side and one at the stern. Tank size is average for a yacht of her size. Check out the Charter Spec Sheet Section for specific sizes. We estimated our water would last about a week with a little conservation. We would have made it if we could have managed to turn the shower knob off! For our group of three the tank size was ideal for a weeks charter. When we refilled our conservation went out the window. At $19 a refill (bone dry to full), we could afford to indulge!
A moderate diesel engine and a 38 gallon tank equals lots of range and an easy on the pocket book refill. In total we spent less than 80 dollars topping Sosumi off. This trip we spent a bit more time on motor than we normally would with the seas and wind. We actually thought we might have to refill before the end of the trip. We were again, happily surprised. When we ran our fuel consumption formula the day the fuel gauge was killed, we learned how economical our chartered Jeanneau really was. It was slightly puzzling how little fuel it seemed we used. When we contacted Horizon Yacht Charters to let them know about the fuel gauge we asked them to check our math just to be doubly sure. Sosumi was pushing though some weather for four days or so and making some miles. By the end of the trip, we still had plenty to spare.
Sosumi, our chartered Jeanneau SO 42 DS had the tricks where it counted. One of those tricks stood out over the overs. We're talking A/C here. And we're not even huge on having A/C aboard. It took little time to cool the entire yacht down. We appreciated this added luxury most during one extended squall sitting on a mooring. For the next couple of hours we played below in total comfort. We can't say the same for the others moored up around us. They looked a bit sweaty when they came up.
We have to mention the beds. Don't quote me on this, but it seemed like the mattresses were memory foam. They felt firm at first, but you sort of settle in to them. What we're getting at is that the beds are really comfy. Especially the aft master suite. A queen size bed with no funny tapering ends or corners. Just a good honest big square bed!
Jeanneau knows a thing or two about making a fun cruising sailboat. And after sailing this 42-foot Sun Odyssey Deck Saloon it was also clear that they built plenty of speed and comfort into that stability. The wide transom and the twin helm stations make for a safe and exhilarating ride when we had all her canvas wound out. When we wanted to calm the tone a bit, a quick line adjustment and things leveled out nicely for a civil and relaxing sail. In short, you can race this thing up and down the Sir Frances Drake Channel grinning like a madman or do the gentleman sailor thing. Either way, this yacht will give you the type of "fun" you're looking for. In spades!
We would recommend Sosumi and Horizon Yacht Charters to our readers. We were given an exceptional price (nope, they didn't know they were being reviewed) for an outstanding, brand new yacht. Sosumi, our Jeanneau bareboat was in perfect shape and fully and carefully inventoried. It has all the features you actually need without going overboard (excuse the intended pun). We are looking forward to seeing what other surprises the yachts of Horizon Yacht Charters have in store for future reviews.
Nanny Cay is such a wonderful location we also recommend a sleep aboard night the night prior to your charter. It's safe and pretty, with every service you need. It's all there. Might as well start as early as you can!
- Charter Review: The Moorings 5800 Ocean Suite by Captain Kev
- Charter Review: VOYAGE Charters, VOYAGE 520 Silver Lining by Capt. Kev
Address: Charter Advisors
381 Casa Linda Plaza #367
Dallas, TX 75218
Toll Free: 800.GOCHRTR (4624787)