Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380

New name, better performance

With twin wheels and twin rudders, the 380 handles her ample beam with ease. 

By Zuzana Prochazka

Every few years, boat builders refresh their current offering and rename their models. The clear giveaway is usually a switch in the numbering system. For example; for a long time Jeanneau’s Sun Odyssey models ended in a “9” to designate that they belonged to a particular series. A few years ago, those started morphing to the new system – 410, 440 and 490 and that’s how the new 380 came to replace the 389. Sometimes, builders just tweak a few things and call it “new” but in the case of the Sun Odyssey 380, it really is a new boat that looks fresh and has the performance to match.

For this model, Jeanneau continued their collaboration with designer Marc Lombard and the results produced a sleek profile, moderate freeboard, a large cockpit and a hard chine that runs the length of the hull. The slightly reversed bow sits above the waterline at rest and reduces wetted surface(s) when sailing in light winds. The construction is a monolithic laminate with no coring in the hull and an integrated engine liner to reduce noise and vibration. A watertight bulkhead is aft of the anchor locker.

Jeanneau sunodyssey380 aerial 400The 380 has twin rudders and a choice of keel depths from 5’ 3” to 8’ 10”, that last one being a lifting keel that promises superior upwind performance. The rig is fractional with a Selden mast, double aft-swept spreaders, no backstay and a rigid vang. A bowsprit would be a worthwhile option because it would provide an attachment point for a Code 0 and move the anchor farther forward and away from the stem.

An aerial view shows off the significant cockpit where sailors spend most of their time.


The drop-down transom lengthens the large cockpit and forms a nice swim platform. Our test boat had twin wheels and the optional teak finish in the cockpit. Dinghy davits (which are also optional) pivot sideways when not in use to shave off length and extra cost in a marina slip.

Jeanneau introduced their ground-breaking “walkaround deck” deck on the 440. The side decks slope down toward the twin helms with no break or barrier so you can walk from the transom to the bow and back again without ever stepping on a seat or over a cockpit coaming. It’s a game-changer for older knees and it’s notable that Jeanneau found a way to incorporate it into this sized model.

Engine throttles are on the pedestal at the starboard wheel along with a Raymarine chart plotter, a Quick windlass remote panel and thruster controls by Side-Power. Wind instruments and the autopilot panel are on the other side.

Creature comforts below

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380 can be spec’d in one of four configurations: 2-3 cabins and 1-2 heads. The standard layout has the master forward with a berth that is angled along the starboard hull and a hanging locker to port. You can add a second head here instead of the locker but that makes the stateroom feel tight and less like an owner’s cabin. In either configuration, the bed remains rectangular and on the same angle.

Jeanneau sunodyssey380 stateroom 400Aft is a choice of one or two cabins. If one cabin is requested, it’ll be on port and will become wider than standard, leaving the rest of the space on starboard as a workshop or stowage room. The saloon, galley, and nav desk remain constant in any of the four layouts with one exception: you can add a completely separate shower compartment (with its own door) just aft of the regular head but only in the two-cabin layout. The shower becomes the walkthrough to the storage room and a great place to stow wet gear. If you don’t specifically ask for this compartment, there’s no separate shower stall aboard.

With an overhead hatch and hull windows, the master stateroom is bright and owners will never feel buried below.

The saloon is fairly roomy and it seems that interior designer Jean-Marc Piaton borrowed space from the master and added it to the saloon which makes the boat look and feel larger than its actual 37-foot hull would suggest. The galley is to port and has a two-burner Eno stove/oven, a double sink and a top-loading 42-gallon fridge/freezer. This being a French boat, there’s wine bottle stowage below the saloon sole.

The aft-facing nav desk has a seat that’s really the end of the starboard settee. It’s not a large desk, but it’s a dedicated space for all things ship-related. Jeanneau kept the “lounge” concept which is a nook on starboard where you can tuck in and stay comfortable regardless of what tack the boat is on. There’s also room on the port forward bulkhead to mount a TV. The standard table is small and fixed and it won’t work for more than two people for dinner. You’ll want to upgrade to the drop-leaf table that ties together both settees and provides room for 5-6 to dine.

Circulation is provided by one overhead hatch in the master, one in the salon and a small opening port above the stove. Keel bolts can be accessed below the table while beneath the aft end of the dinette is a deep drawer that taps into this hidden space that might otherwise go unused. Finishes include teak, grey cedar, and light or dark oak wood with a choice of fabrics.  

Jeanneau sunodyssey380 dinette 400Performance

In a rare change of pace, test day was perfection with a gusty breeze of 10-18 knots blowing across the flat waters of Chesapeake Bay. Our boat was spec’d with the shoal keel which is appropriate for East Coast sailing and had Technique Voile sails. At 60 degrees apparent wind angle, we slipped along at 8.7 knots in 17 knots of breeze without a reef and never felt overpowered. As we hardened up to 30 degrees, we still held 7.9 knots of speed in the same wind. You could really feel the boat settle onto that hard hull chine and accelerate in gusts.

The dinette will accomodate four for dinner with elbow room left over.

German sheeting manages a traditional hoist semi-battened main with no traveller and adjustable friction rings dial in the shape of the 110% genoa. In-mast furling is an option for the mainsail as is a self-tacking jib. Harken sheet winches are easy to reach from either helm and because there’s no backstay, it’s possible to upgrade to a square-top main. The extra sail area will make this performance-oriented cruiser really lively.

We tacked and gybed on smooth water and the helm was light and responsive. It delivered snappy tacks that were tight with no overcorrection so the boat can make everyone look like a rock star in a tacking duel.

The upgraded Yanmar 40-hp engine (29 hp is standard) delivered 9.3 knots at 2,900 rpm with a fixed three-blade propeller. The cruising speed is at 2,300 rpm and eight knots. Our test under power was ideal because we didn’t really have any big chop or swells to contend with, in the protected waters of the Bay, but that also meant that we couldn’t see how the engine would handle resistance. To simplify maintenance, Jeanneau has moved away from Saildrives and offers this model with a shaft drive only.

Jeanneau sunodyssey380 navdesk 400In reverse, the boat wasn’t thrilled with backing in a straight line. In fact, that’s where the optional bow thruster came in handy as we came into a tight slip with a beam breeze. Some would say that you don’t need a thruster in a 38-foot hull but why not give yourself all the advantages you can and make things easier?

A nav desk feels like a luxury on a 38-foot boat but Jeanneau found a way to work it in.

Overall Thoughts

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey line now has five models from 34-49 feet. The 380 is one step up from the very popular 349 which has yet to be rethought and renamed. We sailed with Jeanneau reps Catherine Guiader and Paul Fenn who said that three units of this model were sold during the Annapolis boat show which was its first North American showing. Not bad for right-out-of-the-box sales.

We tested hull #2 of the 380 and it was all “thumbs up” down to the base price which is $237,000 USD. Our test boat was equipped with the second head, AC, bowsprit, electronics and the upgraded engine, for which you can expect to pay around $350,000 USD. Pricing is done via two packages – Premiere and Preference – which is a convenient way to combine features and get better value.

The Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 380 has a new name and a new hull/deck/layout to match. It’s a welcome addition to the lineup and will make the perfect platform for most couples or small families. Now it’s down to the 349 and to flip the script. The ball’s in your court, Jeanneau.

The galley is compact but a good chef has plenty of space and tools to turn out fancy meals that won’t leave you roughing it.


Jeanneau sunodyssey380 galley 400Specifications

LOA:               38′ 6″ / 11.58 m

LWL:              35′ 1″ / 10.67 m

Beam:              12′ 3″ / 3.66 m

Draft:               5’ 3” shoal, 8′ 10″ (lifting down)

Displacement: 15,203 lbs / 6,896 kg

Sail Area:         682 sq. ft.

Fuel capacity:  34 gals / 128.7 L

Water capacity: 87 gals / 329.3 L

Engine:            Yanmar 29 or 40 hp

Designer:         Marc Lombard

Builder:           Jeanneau Yachts

Price as tested: approx. $350,000 USD

Boat and price supplied by: Jeanneau America,

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