The concept behind the Sun Odyssey 490 was to deliver a fun, sporty, easier to handle, quality sailing vessel into the 50’ (15.24 m) arena – a pleasure vessel with strong stability that doesn’t over heel and is worthy of her CE certification. And it’s no wonder the 490 won the 2018 Miami Innovation Award and this year’s Boat of the Year Award from Cruising World. Regardless of age, Jeanneau has given owners alike the freedom to experience major conveniences such as walk-around decking, convertible coaming, and a gradually descending companionway, all integrated into their sailing lifestyle at an affordable price. And it’s precisely those features that tell the story of Jeanneau, a story of non-stop innovation and attention to detail.
- Cockpit ergonomics
- Convertible coaming
- Walk-around deck
- Central galley location
- Five-cabin layout options
Captain’s Report by Capt. Greg Thornton
When approached with the question as to the “mission” of the all new Sun Odyssey 490, Jeanneau’s response was simple – to create a pleasure sailing vessel in the 50’ (15.24 m) range, that was performance forward yet luxury-fitted to appeal to mariners young and old, whether for charter, liveaboard or day sailing.
Design and Construction
Specifically, with the mission of the Sun Odyssey 490, Jeanneau sought to design a sailing vessel that would appeal to all, without sacrificing quality. The results we’ve seen have hit the mark.
Whether there’s a child on board, someone with a bad knee or a small dog, the walk around decks make all of the difference when circulating the deck. Go below deck and there’s a full-beam that pretty much runs the length of the internal cabin space, thus giving the two, three, four or five berth options even more space. And when it comes to mealtime, the U-shaped galley is ideally located in the boats center of gravity as to assist in food preparation and enjoyment in the adjacent settee area.
However, it would be silly to not touch upon how performance-oriented Philippe Briand is. Having been involved with the America’s Cup and being a sailor himself, he has that history that attracted Jeanneau in terms of balancing safety, affordability, and aesthetics, topped with performance. With her twin rudders and full-length hull chine, the Sun Odyssey 490 was designed for powerful balance. As a result, her twin spade rudders provide low friction and low helm load – no fighting of the wheel or tiller.
Moving the rigging aft and with the aid of electric winches, she can be single handed. The cathedral mast with two spreaders and split shrouds, not only keep the weight in the sails, but also allows for unhampered circulation when traversing the side decks. And when it comes time to lower and stow the main, the Sun Odyssey 490’s low gooseneck makes the lazy bag easily accessible so there’s no need to climb the mast. And as a byproduct of a low gooseneck, the sail area is increased.
For starters, the two models both have walk-around decking, convertible coaming, and cathedral rigs. And heading down below, the galley layout is roughly the same, the only difference is that Jeanneau has added a chart table and bench seating to port, thus adding to the functional space below deck.
The Hull Difference – So, it’s true that the Sun Odyssey 490 is larger than the 440, but it also has a different hull shape as well. The forward volume in the 490 is increased by a percentage thus allowing for a center shower and split head. Whereas on the 440, there’s just a full head forward. Aside from the internal forward space, and as a consequence of that hull shape difference, the Sun Odyssey 490 reaches harder, is more fun to sail, and is an all-in-all sportier vessel.
Performance Testing Conditions
Performance Test Results
Engine – Yanmar Sail Drive 80-hp / 42 kW
Sails: roller furling mainsail 611 Sq. ft. (56.80 sq. m)
118% furling genoa with UV protection 577 sq. ft. (53.60 sq. m)
We started off our inspection where any mariner would want to be – the helm. The first thing we noticed was how defined and well laid out she was. Twin stainless-steel wheels to either side, the center cockpit table in between, convertible coaming to either side, and clear views all around.
Cockpit lighting controls, swim platform controls, and an MFD by Raymarine are all mounted on the aft side of the table. The engine controls are located on the starboard side of the table and are in clear view for the starboard helmsman or helmswomen.
It’s also interesting to note that on most other Jeanneau sail boats, we find a straight shaft. However, the Sun Odyssey 490 is unique in that she has a sail drive.
While the inboard jib lead tracks, and split rigging provide a clean passage, 2’ (0.60 m) high lifelines outline the deck and are fabricated into the gunwales. Stainless-steel grab rails are located all around the dodger and top deck. There are six 16” (0.38 m) cleats located on either side at the bow, amidships, and on the stern quarters.
The anchor locker is located to starboard. And just abaft is the sail locker which can be ordered as optional crew quarters.
The Mast and Standing Rigging
Not only does this design keep the weight in the sails, but the split shrouds also allow for unhampered circulation when traversing the side decks. And when it comes time to stow the main, the low gooseneck eliminates any climbing of the mast and makes the lazy bag easily accessible. As a result, the sail area is increased.
The cockpit table fully opens to enhance the entertainment space.
The table has two top compartments: the larger housing an electric cooler and the smaller compartment is for additional beverage storage.
The Swim Platform
Beneath both helm lazarettes are additional storage space which can be optionally outfitted with an outside galley to starboard and propane locker to port.
Handholds integrated into the furniture provide safety when moving about, and the round edges add a smooth look. There are four working overhead hatches. And recessed lighting runs throughout the entire salon area.
The starboard aft sleeping quarters are accessed just abaft and through the connecting door. The bed measuring 79” (200.66 cm) by 64” (162.56 cm) – the standard size for all beds on board.
There’s a full sink and a top loading refrigeration unit, which is also accessible from below. A gimbaled stove takes the center stage here. And along with the galley’s open concept and central location to the boat’s center of gravity, we can imagine cooking while underway would not be much of a chore.
We found this large wrap-around C-shaped layout to be as inviting as it was versatile. For added accommodations, the leaflets on the center table fold down and prove useful with the addition of a filler cushion, converting the entire section into a daybed. There’s a 40” (101.6 cm) TV mounted on the forward bulkhead.
Port widows, overhead hatches, and recessed lighting provide an airiness that we quite liked. The berth is accessed via two step-ups located to either side. Turning to port and located on the port side is the master head compartment.
The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490 has between two and five cabin layout options to consider when purchasing.
From the plum bow aft there’s a slight taper until reaching the shroud chain plate locations (which are located in the salon), after which point (roughly one-third aft from the bow) the volume of that location (the 14’8” beam) is pushed out at that point and does a full run aft until reaching the transom. And as a result, the boat is going to be more stable, and a result of that it’s going to be more powerful, and as a consequence of being powerful, she’s going to be super fun to sail regardless of the layout.
- Retractable bow thruster ($14,460)
- Generator 7.5 KVA 115V 60HZ with Cocoon ($23,650)
- Watermaker 115V-12V 60 L /Hr. ($16,670)
- Shoal Draft Iron Iron Keel 5’4” / 1.62m ($1,710)
- Code 0 Sail (x-Grid Mylar-Aramid) with Furler ($8,950)
Standard Engine: Yanmar 57-hp (4JH57CR) Sail Drive
Optional Engine: Yanmar 80-hp (4JH80CR) Sail Drive
Base Price: $379,500
Prices, features, designs and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder’s website for the latest information available on this boat model.
The new Sun Odyssey 490 takes the same innovative walk around decking as her predecessors, convertible coaming, and roomy accommodations, and enhanced them all with her performance. Aside from her dry ride and streamline profile, she has great on-deck entertainment space, a whelp of natural light and accommodation options below deck, and structurally performed at a level that left us craving the sea.
This is a sailing vessel that we can imagine you’ll not only see out on charter due to her versatility, stability, and pricing, but will also be enjoyed and appreciated by dayboat and sailboat enthusiasts alike.