TRIAL Jeanneau Yachts 65: the French shipyard’s new flagship

Cannes welcomes us for the annual sea trials organized by Jeanneau on an early spring afternoon still lashed by winter currents, with a southerly wind well over 20 knots that promises to make our sea outing sizzle. The boats are already waiting for us ready and moored at the docks, and the Jeanneau Yachts 65 is easily recognizable from afar. Not only because of the length of the boat, since it is the new flagship, but also because the shipyard opted to let us try out on the 65′ the almost totally covered cockpit option. The Jeanneau Yachts 65 is also offered in this con figuration, with the rollbar and a semi rigid cockpit cover, but openable in some places, and the weather on our day from this point of view was ideal for trying this configuration. This 65-footer, which was designed by Philippe Briand, Andrew Winch and the Jeanneau Design Team, is a pure cruiser dedicated primarily to owner cruising or charter. Besides being the new flagship, it is part of Jeanneau’s Yachts line: the one the shipyard wants to dedicate to luxury cruising, with boats over 50 feet. Models on which there are wider customization options than on Sun Odyssey and Sun Fast, the group’s other two brands. About the cockpit cover, for example on the 65 you can choose between the option we tested and a classic, open cockpit option with only the rollbar. But there are several solutions that can be customized, especially in terms of the interior, and not only that, as you will see.


Testing the Jeanneau Yachts 65 at sea

At the time of going out to sea, the wind strengthened to about 25 knots, with gusts above that, with a rather short and steep wave. Our test boat was equipped with laminated furling mainsail, not battened, and self-tacking jib. We sailed with the mainsail open to about 70% and the jib first the same way then all open when the wind was less gusty. The boat is easy to steer even in sustained winds, thanks to the twin rudder blades whose wheels have a large gearing that makes them light even when the boat is heeling. The maneuvers are all located aft near the rudders, the location is convenient to have them within easy reach while remaining at the helm. However, having all the rigging at the stern does not always make things easier, as it forces us to have all the “tails” of the lines in the same place. For this reason, a rope locker was placed adjacent to the winch and stopper battery, which obviates at least part of the problem. A small price to pay to have, however, on the other hand, the cockpit living area completely clear of ropes or rigging. In winds between 20 and 25 knots, the boat did not struggle to walk between 9.5 and 10 knots at an angle between 60 and 65 degrees true. When you tighten the wind more the speed decreases around 8 and in general the boat does not seem to like tight corners, at least in this with sail figuration. The pronounced width, large displacement, and full cockpit coverage of the rest are not features that go well with a narrow windward. Probably in the version with only a rollbar and no cockpit cover, equipping it with a classic battened mainsail with lazy bag will improve noticeably in this gait as well. It is advisable in this regard to choose the deeper draft option, which is more likely to improve upwind sailing.

This is what the cockpit and deck of the Jeanneau Yachts 65 look like.

In general, full cockpit coverage, while appreciated in terms of temperature and shelter from the weather, does lose something in terms of boat handling if we want to be at the helm, as the view toward the bow is somewhat fouled. A trim that can be functional if we make very long sailings while leaving the boat under autopilot. However, you may decide to open the side windows of the roof, either partially or fully, or the upper windows for more views. It is ultimately a choice to be made based on our boating lifestyle. However, the helmsman’s station is very convenient and comfortable, with a well-calibrated height in relation to the wheels. From the helm then there is direct access, without a step, to the corridor that takes us towards the bow, one of the solutions that Philippe Briand has already inaugurated in the yard’s previous models and which is perfect for life on a cruise but also when sailing. The flaw in the rudder area is the lack of a real toeboard, which would have made the position even more comfortable. In the cockpit, the two tables can be lowered electrically to transform the area into an even larger one. Another highlight, the stepless deck and outer shrouds make movement from the aft platform to the bow safe and unobstructed.


The real gem of the Jeanneau Yachts 65: the interior

There is no doubt that the interior is the highlight of the Jeanneau 65, both in terms of volume, which is definitely oversized, and in terms of the possibilities for different layouts. You can choose from anextensive list of finishes and materials, and the team that worked on the design decided to go for a great classic for boats of this size: in two of the four available layouts, the decision was made to move the master cabin aft. Here, taking advantage of the greater width of the coffin compared to the bow, it is indeed possible to make a spectacular XXL luxurious owner’s suite with every comfort and detail. Here we find a peninsula bed, a side sofa, and on the opposite side a desk with dedicated seating. On either side of the bed bedside tables with drawers and two bookcases. Also clever was the choice of the forward solution: the bathroom was placed at the forward end of the boat, so as to set the cabin back slightly and make it in an area where the beam is very important anyway. You can choose between the single forward cabin, which is almost another owner’s cabin, or the two cabins, which still remain generously sized. Alternatively, there is also the option of the classic owner’s cabin forward plus the two aft, or even a 4-cabin version dedicated more to charter. The dining area is elevated above the rest of the rooms to take full advantage of the view and brightness offered by the deckhouse, styled almost raised saloon due to the large light points.

Mauro Giuffrè



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