Thanks to the Golf GTi and its many imitators the letter “i” has become synonymous with performance.
The letter "i” now denotes the sporty pretensions of that to which it is appended. But when it comes to Jeanneau’s Sun Odyssey 32, the “i” means nothing of the sort. The “i” instead stands for the French boat builder’s “injection” process -- called Prisma -- which is used to craft the deck of this sleek sloop.
Jeanneau reckons it’s a lot more kindly to the environment than conventional fiberglass lay-ups and results in much lower styrene emissions. It also produces a smooth finish on the underside, doing away with the need for a cabin top liner. The Prisma system rigidly controls the amount of resin used, resulting in a 20 per cent weight saving in the deck which lowers the boat’s centre of gravity and increases stability.
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32i Performance
Funny, but the “i” could just as easily stand for performance.
Heading upwind on a gentle breeze of around 10-12 knots, the Sun Odyssey 32i could be pinned into about 36 degrees and hit 5.6 knots before she began to protest. Tossed over, the boat tacked through 80 degrees with little effort thanks to the small headsail, while the helm remained beautifully balanced and responsive. Fire up the 21hp Yanmar diesel and the 32i slipped along with a top speed of seven knots and spun like a top, maneuvering in and out of a tight marina berth.
It was an impressive performance for a “white boat” and says much for the basic soundness of the design by Philippe Briand.
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32i Style
You expect French boats to be chic and the Sun Odyssey 32i has the grace to go with her pace.
There’s an almost plumb bow, moderate freeboard, and a low-slung cabintop that gives the boat that certain je ne sais quoi.
The side decks are wide, all lines are led to the cockpit and there’s a reasonably-sized anchor locker and bow roller up the pointy end.
The cockpit layout works particularly well, with the wheel just the right size for sitting out on the coamings and there are footrests for when the boat’s heeling. Better still, the genoa winches are right beside the helm while a single winch up on the cabin top deals with the other lines. That’s one winch too few.
There’s a big locker under the starboard seat but it’s a little crowded with fuel and gas also stored there.
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32i - Downstairs
The cabin has decent headroom (just under two metres), with plenty of hatches and ports for light and ventilation.
The rear-facing chart table is something of a Jeanneau yacht trademark and it’s more useful for pouring the drinks on than navigating from, but that’s just fine.
The U-shaped galley, on the other hand, is splendidly proportioned with plenty of angles for cooks to wedge themselves in. It features a stove with cooktop, fridge and plenty of stowage.
The toilet and shower opposite has enough room for the elbows of the sensibly proportioned and enough headroom not to knock your noggin every time you turn around.
There’s the usual double bunk across the stern with a hanging locker and enough room to stand and get dressed.
Room’s a little tighter up front but again, there is still standing headroom without the bunk infill in place, and the two salon settees convert to bunks.
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32i - Verdict
Down below or up top there is nothing about the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 32i that will scare the horses.
This size of Jeanneau yacht is just about the perfect fit for a couple to go sailing. Another metre or so and things get heavy, maneuvering in tight spots becomes tricky, the boat gets scary when it’s powered up and everything costs a lot more. Stick to a slippery and sexy little French number such as this and you can’t really go wrong.