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Jeanneau 60 boat test

Jeanneau 60French manufacturer Jeanneau is back with an all new 60ft cruiser that offers a beguiling blend of comfort and performance as Sam Jefferson, editor of Sailing Today with Yachts & Yachting, discovers

Jeanneau 60

 

Cast your mind back to 2014 if you dare. Yes, I know it seems like a halcyon time when it wasn’t illegal to go abroad for example but there it is.

It was in this year that Jeanneau launched their flagship yacht, the 64.

I tested one and, although impressed by many features of the yacht, I was left wondering if the company hadn’t perhaps lost the plot just a little bit.

I just wondered who on earth wanted a 64’ production yacht.

72 yachts later and the answer is quite a few people did and the 64 is lauded as one of the big successes of the company in recent times.

It led to the rest of the big production boatbuilders (Hanse, Bavaria, Beneteau, Dufour) following suit and the idea of a ‘mini superyacht’ was born.

Don’t call me Nostradamus.

The rationale is simple and also completely correct. In recent years the addition of bow and stern thrusters has taken away the fear factor in parking a 60’ yacht.

You no longer need the reassuring presence of a full time skipper to coax such a yacht into a narrow berth, you can largely spin it on the spot.

It’s an absolute game changer.

Add into the mix improvements in sail handling systems, improved in-mast furling sail shape and the widespread adoption of electric winches and you suddenly have the ability to make a 60’ yacht a real and undaunting proposition for a cruising couple.

Jeanneau 60Because, ultimately, that remains the target market for the Jeanneau 60.

So what have we got here? Well, this is a boat that rounds off the Jeanneau Yachts line nicely.

This line starts with the Jeanneau 51 and concludes with the 64 (soon to be relaunched as the 65 incidentally).

As such, Jeanneau has stuck with the tried and tested team of Phillippe Briand drawing up the lines and Andrew Winch doing the interiors. Winch is a bit of a specialist in superyachts so you can see where Jeanneau are coming from here.

Jeanneau 60The lines are relatively conservative with beam kept at what these days would be considered a fairly modest 17’ and a bit of taper carried aft.

Freeboard is decent but not obscene with a subtle chine running aft from midships. The coachroof is nicely integrated giving the boat a sleek look on the water.

There is a hint of a dreadnought bow with a sprit for the Code 0 and the anchor combined. The transom is not completely vertical but features a slight rake.

Below the waterline there is an L – Shaped cast iron keel available in two depths (2.55m or 2.1m) and twin rudders.

The boat weighs in at 20,000kg so it’s no lightweight flier but it is approximately 2,000kg lighter than the slightly smaller Hanse 588.

There are two rig options available, both deck stepped, with the sportier one offering 163m2 and a fully battened main. The standard rig offers 131m2 with a self tacking jib and in mast furling.

The key question with yachts in this size range is whether the manufacturer goes for a dinghy garage in the transom and Jeanneau has opted to do this.

As such, the yacht accommodates a full size dinghy with outboard to be discreetly tucked away behind the bathing platform.

On deck

At this point I should probably clarify that I actually tested TWO Jeanneau 60s on the same day.

I think this was to demonstrate just how customisable they were and – if this was the aim – it was a success.

One version was optimised for cruising featuring a hard top bimini and all the cruising comforts you’d expect while the other featured the bigger rig plus feathering prop and a different layout down below.

Stepping aboard on an uncharacteristically damp morning in the south of France, I had to say that the cruising set up won hands down.

This was largely because the solid bimini had ensured everything remained dry in the cockpit.

On both boats this is a roomy space with twin tables to port and starboard ensuring there is a walkway clear down the middle at all times.

The starboard table dropped down to provide yet more lounging space if required with an infill cushion.

That said, lounging space is already excellent in the cockpit and was further augmented on the more cruising oriented version of the boat by a bench set abaft the twin helms which held an entire outdoor galley within that slowly levitated at the push of a button.

Jeanneau has gone pretty crazy with the whole James Bond style ‘push button’ thing on this boat and there was a passarelle that extended and retracted at the push of a button plus the TV downstairs, the bathing platform and lord knows what else.

Anyway, on the version without this back bench, the cockpit is arguably moderately exposed by blue water cruiser standards although the remedy is readily available.

There is access to the dinghy garage via two generous hatches in the aft deck. The liferaft is stored in here tucked up close to the dinghy.

Step down onto the bathing platform and you also have the more logical access to the dinghy garage which also features a remotely operated winch to get the damn thing in and out of the water.

The bathing platform is also tilted downwards slightly at – yes – the push of a button to help get the dinghy out. The whole bathing area, dinghy garage and steps down have been well thought out. 

Out onto the side decks and you have that distinctive downward slope running back to the cockpit which only Jeanneau seem to do at the moment but is a nice feature as it helps keep the decks dry and cuts back on steps up and down.

The inner shrouds are on inboard chainplates which ensures that your path through to the foredeck is unencumbered. Up forward, everything is kept nice and clean with masses of open space only interrupted by a track for the self tacking jib.

There is the option of a removeable inner forestay which further adds to the versatility of the yacht.

Up forward there is access to a skipper’s cabin which boasts many varied options of layouts with the possibility of its own heads/shower compartment which is a good idea for both skipper and guests.

Down below

Step down below and you enter a supremely light space.

As already mentioned, the two yachts I tested featured very different specifications and this contrast was very clear in the saloon.

The sportier boat featured a light oak interior and the main owner’s stateroom aft.

The more cruising oriented boat had a slightly darker mahogany interior and the main stateroom forward.

There are many more differences than this and it illustrated just how far Jeanneau has been willing to go in order to provide a highly customisable yacht.

This is noteworthy as a big manufacturer like Jeanneau that is churning out a high volume of boats is generally hamstrung in how much it can pander to individual client’s whims.

The basic layout of the saloon remains roughly the same, however, with the main seating area to port and the galley forward of this running athwartships.

Aside from that there are any number of permutations; you can have two easy chairs to starboard or a fixed bench seat and a chart table or no chart table.

Up forward things diverge even more wildly; the forward cabin can be either the stateroom or there is an option for twin doubles, both with an ensuite, with a clever sliding screen that splits the two cabins when required. This means that the stateroom is aft and, despite the space eaten up by the dinghy garage, this is a very roomy cabin with an ensuite and a bunk room on the port side thrown into the bargain.

The maximum number of cabins is a pretty eyewatering six which shows the potential of this boat if you wished to charter it out.

As you’d expect, every luxury Is available should you wish, including a dishwasher, washing machine, you name it…

On the water

All very well, but how did this cavernous floating penthouse perform on the water?

Memories of testing the Jeanneau 64 in a somewhat fickle breeze remained in my memory and with a rather modest 10-12kn forecast, I was interested to see how the 60 would perform when it came to lugging a dishwasher and any number of other bells and whistles across the Mediterranean.

First up though, leaving the dock; the bow and stern thrusters and joystick style control of both meant that this really was zero problem.

The sad fact is that it is considerably easier to moor this 60 footer than my own more modestly dimensioned 28 footer.

It is also much easier to set the sails. All running rigging is led back from the mast via channels in the coachroof and coamings that allow the ropes to emerge right in front of the twin helms.

Here, twin banks of jammers and clutches and two pairs of electric Harken winches take care of business. Everything is within reach of the helmsman and well set up.

The wheel pedestal features matching Raymarine MFD screens to port and starboard plus matching banks of buttons to control the winches plus the jib and mainsail furler (if you go for the in mast furling system).

Only slight niggle here was that my natural inclination was to reach for the push buttons through the spokes of the wheel meaning I kept impeding my requirement to steer. This could be easily remedied by repositioning the buttons slightly higher up. Other than that, setting the sails to the breeze was a breeze.

The sailing was pretty joyous too. I found the 60 altogether less ponderous than the 64 had been in my memory. The boat was lively even in these somewhat modest conditions, getting happily into a groove and scooting along quite eagerly at 8-9kn in 10-12kn of breeze.

The boat felt lighter and more lively than I had expected and spun through the tacks with ease. The helm was nicely balanced and the boat was great fun.

I spent most of the time sailing on the boat with the smaller rig and fixed prop and the inclination to race the other boat was irresistible.

It was notable that when the breeze was over 10kn there was negligible difference between the two and it was only when the wind eased off that the boat with the bigger rig held any significant advantage.

Off the wind with the Code 0 up, the boat was also a joy and even when we pushed up into the wind with this big sail, the boat felt poised and in control.

As mentioned, sail handling was very easy – particularly if you used the self tacking jib – and my only observation would be that stowing the bigger rig featuring a fully battened main might be too much for a cruising couple of a certain age in boisterous conditions and sanity would suggest that the in mast furling was the better option if this was the scenario.

This article first appeared in the July 2021 issue of Sailing Today with Yachts & Yachting magazine.

The post Jeanneau 60 boat test appeared first on Sailing Today.

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