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Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490 (2020-)

Brief Summary

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.

Key Features

  • Cockpit ergonomics
  • Convertible coaming
  • Walk-around deck
  • Central galley location
  • Five-cabin layout options


Length Overall 47’3”
14.40 m
Beam 14' 8''
4.47 m
Dry Weight 24,890 lbs.
11,290 kg
Tested Weight 26,380 lbs.
11,966 kg
Draft 7' 4''
2.24 m
Bridge Clearance 65' 3''
22.94 m
Fuel Capacity 60 gal.
227 L
Water Capacity 100 gal.
379 L
Total Weight 26,380 lbs.
11,966 kg


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Engine Options

Std. Power
Opt. Power

Captain's Report

Captain’s Report by Capt. Greg Thornton


The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490 has an LOA of 47’3” (14.40 m), a beam of 14’8” (4.47 m), and a draft of 7’4” (2.24 m).

deck plan

From a top view, the unobstructed walk-around deck is more apparent. The top hatches are slightly recessed into the top deck to minimize tripping.



The Sun Odyssey 490 is the only sailboat in its class to feature “movement about the deck without obstacle”.

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.


Atop the boom, a 60 mm Rutgerson block assists the main sheet.

Design and Construction


The Sun Odyssey 490’s L-shaped keel as well as twin spade rudders which were mounted on Jefa self-aligning wheel bearings, kept her in admirable contact with the water and as a result, our heel to a dry 18-degrees.


Aside from having decades of history with Jeanneau, the choice to collaborate with renown super-yacht designer Philippe Briand was multi-fold – in short, he knows how to design a practical, functional, and appealing sailing vessel.

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. 


Here we have a rough sketch of a 147’ (45 m) sailboat concept courtesy of Philipp Briand.

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. 


The boom is attached to the mast at a 7.6-degree downward angle.


The Sun Odyssey 490’s cast iron keel is an L-shape and therefore less exposed to seaweed and lines.




The predecessor to the Sun Odyssey 490 is the Sun Odyssey 479 and 519, and as much as the differences are slight, those that are, are significant.

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.  


She never exceeded an 18-degree heel throughout testing.

Performance Testing Conditions 


We used our weather instrumentation at the dock to get a sense of what the conditions would be like out on the water.

load and climate

Performance Test Results


Test results are an average of running a reciprocal course and were conducted with full sails up.

Engine – Yanmar Sail Drive 80-hp / 42 kW


And although we never pinned the engine throttle during our testing of the Sun Odyssey 490, Jeanneau tells us that at the max 3200 RPM (3297 RPM to be precise), she’ll be at 9.2 kts. 

Sails: roller furling mainsail 611 Sq. ft. (56.80 sq. m)

          118% furling genoa with UV protection 577 sq. ft. (53.60 sq. m) 


During our test day, we had a breezy fluctuation of between 16 to 18 kts. of wind. We took the readings at an average and used the 18kt wind factor as the ‘high’. To get a sense of 16 kts, slide the polar graph data points down an arch to 16kts.

wind angle



At 180-degrees, we were running wing-on-wing.

Boat Inspection

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.


The Sun Odyssey 490’s cockpit has an asymmetrical layout, favoring the starboard side, and giving a tad more walk-through space on the port side, thus providing a clear passageway from the port helm forward to the companionway.

twin helm

The Sun Odyssey 490’s twin helm locations left us feeling confident and in control. And thanks to the walk around side decks, hull design, and spaced out shroud rigging, there was a clear line-of-sight from bow to stern on either side while seated on either helm lazarette – a great feature while under sail for any navigator.


Mounted on the aft pulpits, we were sheltered beneath the aft canopy which measures 6’9” (2.06 m) off the deck. The forward dodger measures 6’1” (1.85 m).

twin helm stations

The twin helms stations have similar layouts with a Raymarine display and windlass control. However, only the Starboard side helm houses the engine throttle and retractable bow thruster controls.


Just forward of the helm are the Jib and Main Sheet cams as well as an electric Harkin winch and 2-speed controls.

assisted sail trim

Jeanneau also offers the Assisted Sail Trim (AST) as an optional package. This is a technology which, as a result of a partnership between Harken and Jeanneau, provides automated sail trimming.



Front and center is an asymmetrical cockpit table, which favors the starboard side and allows for a spaciously clear shot down the port side and down through the companionway.

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.


A compass sits above the cockpit switches and Raymarine MFD. Note the open space just to the left of the MFD which could accommodate further instrumentation.

life raft storage

There’s storage for a life raft beneath the starboard side’s helm decking.


Beneath the 6’9” (2.06 m) dodger and to either side of the companionway hatch are Harken winches and working cams for the Sun Odyssey 490’s running rigging.

The Gears


Located beneath the companionway is the Sun Odyssey 490’s latest-generation Common Rail 80-hp Yanmar sail drive optional engine. The standard power being a 57-hp Yanmar.

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.



When it came to fluid checks and general maintenance, we found the space to be adequate and provided clear access to the necessary components and routine fluids and strainer checks. There are also removable side panels in each of the aft quarters which provide additional access to the engine. 


The 7.5 kW 100V Onan generator is located to the left of the life raft storage compartment, beneath the port side helm decking. We found that fully deploying the swim platform provides the most comfortable access to the genset.

The Decks


Continuing topside, the 1’3” (0.38 m) walk around decks run unobstructed out of the cockpit and from the transom, forward.

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 Bow

ground tackle

The ground tackle consists of a Quick windlass and Lewmar plow anchor and is controlled locally or from the helm.

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


Jeanneau decided on a deck-stepped aluminum cathedral mast with double spreaders and split shrouds.

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 Amenities

Cockpit Seating 

cockpit seating

At the heart of any great sailboat is a roomy cockpit seating area, and the Sun Odyssey 490 has just that.


Both to port and starboard, the coaming converts to lay flat, creating two large sun pads.


filler cushion

With an additional filler cushion, the starboard side coaming runs right up to the cockpit table.


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  

main feature

The main feature here is the 6’8” (2.03 m) x 3’1” (0.94 m) electric swim platform which houses a 3’6” (1.1 m) swim ladder for water entry and egress.

Beneath both helm lazarettes are additional storage space which can be optionally outfitted with an outside galley to starboard and propane locker to port.

Below Deck 


Just beneath the dodger, we access the companionway entry which measures 2’3” (0.69 m) wide. 

step up

Mind the 7” (0.58 cm) step-up when transitioning decks. 


The companionway consists of four steps which each measure 25” (63.5cm) by 8” (0.67cm) and are a gradually descending 35-degrees. It also features a handhold on each side though we found it easy to ascend and descend without holding onto them. 


With a combination of natural lighting, light tones, and having lowered the level of some of the cabinetry, the Sun Odyssey 490 immediately boasts her roominess.

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. 


Off to the portside is the Sun Odyssey 490’s navigation station where all of the boat’s real time data and communications can be accessed.

chart table

A plush navigation bench and soft-closing chart table provide command and just below the instrumentation. 


We found the adjacent seating area to integrate well with the main salon and aside from being comfortable, would make for a good reading area. It’s also in direct eyesight from the starboard helmsperson. 


Just aft is the aft port quarter, where three port holes add natural lighting and ventilation. It’s worth noting that this entire area can be optioned for a workshop area which can also be accessed from the cockpit. 

dc breakers

Additionally, DC breakers are located within the port side cabinetry.


At the base of the companionway and to starboard is the boat’s full day head, complete with a stand-up shower. The push-button LED lighting adds a nice touch.

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. 


The Sun Odyssey 490’s U-shaped galley is strategically located amidships and to no surprise on the boat’s center of gravity.

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.

convection unit

And here’s a nice feature for that ‘once-in-a-while-use’, that won’t take up much counter space - a popup microwave. 


A dishwasher is located beneath the connecting countertop. 


A trash receptacle and beverage glass and silverware storage are hidden within the lower cabinetry.

wine locker

At the base of the companionway, there’s an easily accessible wine locker located beneath the salon deck.

seating area

Adjacent to the galley is the main salon seating area.

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. 

salon windows

The salon windows are outfitted with recessed pulldown opaque blinds.

salon storage

Throughout the salon, there is plenty of storage space such as these cubby’s which run the length of the galley wall area as well as behind the starboard side seating area. 


Moving forward, we enter into the Sun Odyssey 490’s master suite, where the 79” (200.66 cm) by 64” (162.56 cm) bed lays front and center.

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.  

master head

The master head has a unique layout for a boat of this size. The head and sink are located on the port side, while the standup shower is centrally located along the centerline, and adjacent on the starboard side is an additional sink. It’s easy to imagine how this setup comfortably accommodates multiple people preparing for an evening out perhaps. 


An island shelving unit is located abaft the berth and it’s with this design that allowed Jeanneau to fit a full standup shower on the boat’s centerline, thus maximizing headroom and spaciously dividing up the forward accommodations. 


Throughout the master suite, both to port and starboard are storage cabinets with recessed lighting.


There is additional storage contained beneath the center island.

Layout Options

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490 has between two and five cabin layout options to consider when purchasing.


With the hard chine running the length of the Sun Odyssey 490, Jeanneau had the internal space to play with when designing the layout options.

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.


The twin cabin with a port quarter storage locker and a single head layout. 

3 cabin

Shown is the three cabin and two head layout. 

4 cabin

The four cabin and 4 head layout. 

5 cabin

The five cabin and three head layout.

Equipment Options

  • 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)

Engine Options

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.




All in all, we can say with certainty that Jeanneau has produced yet another great sailboat with the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 490.

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.