Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 36.2

By Jack Hornor

Revised by BoatUS editors in October 2012

Principal Dimensions & Specifications
Measurements should be considered approximate and the manufacturer’s specifications may be relied upon. Bow & stern appendages are generally excluded.
Length Overall34' 11"
Waterline Length30' 06"
Maximum Beam12' 5"
Maximum Draft4' 7" to 6' 3"
Displacement/Weight12,300 lbs
Fuel Capacity26 Gallons
Water Capacity78 Gallons
Sail Area - Mainsail288 Sq ft

Like other boats in her class, such as the Catalina 36, Beneteau 36s7 and Hunter 356, the Jeanneau 36.2 offers lots of creature comforts and is well suited for coastal cruising or, with proper planning and caution, the occasional offshore passage.

The 36.2 was designed by Jeanneau's in-house team and led by French designer Jacques Fauroux. The model was introduced in 1996 and production ended in 1999 with well over 300 boats built. Fewer than 100 were imported into the United States although more have found their way into the States via the Caribbean charter business. I have not had an occasion to actually measure one of these models but the model name does not actually represent the overall length of the boat as one might expect. This may be more a result of the marketing staff's inability to convert meters to feet and inches than an attempt at deception. My 1997 brochure indicates the length overall to be 34' 11" although other literature sets different lengths at 36', 36' 1" and 11 meters. For those of you who may be curious, 11 meters translates to just a hair over 36' 1 ". Likewise, beam specifications range between 12' 2" and 12' 5" and draft between 4' 7" and 6' 3". OK, I've gotten carried away with minutia, but my point is, if dimensions are important because of slip size or draft restrictions, measure once and then measure again because printed specifications are not always accurate.

Unlike her sister company, Beneteau, and most other production boatbuilders, Jeanneau does not use preformed grids and liners for structural support. Instead they follow a more traditional and labor intensive method of fiberglass encapsulated wood stringers, floors and frames built in place after the hull is molded. This construction method allows for bulkheads to be bonded to the hull sides, deck and cabin and is a robust construction method more often used by custom builders. Our office inspected a 36.2 several years ago following a severe grounding that damaged the keel and destroyed the rudder, yet the structural integrity remained sound.

The first layer of fiberglass is set in vinylester resin to help prevent blisters and the external iron bulb keel is epoxy coated at the factory but will require more maintenance than lead keels which do not rust.

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 36.2

Photo by Kevin Downs

It is not typical to find significant structural concerns with these boats but systems, particularly those of boats that were not built specifically for import into the United States, are sometimes the cause for concern. Anyone who has traveled in Europe and tried to plug in a hair dryer or electric razor knows U.S. and European systems are different. Boats that come to the U.S. through the Caribbean may still have the European system installed and even the boats intended for the U.S. market might not have systems installed in compliance with American Boat and Yacht Council standards.

The 36.2's most notable topside feature is its large cockpit with removable seat at the stern that opens to a scooped transom with swim step and stainless steel boarding ladder. Sheet winches are within easy reach of the helmsman although the mid-boom mainsheet is on the cabin top and out of reach. There is an aluminum toe rail along the deck edge, double life lines and stainless steel rails. Other features include a double anchor roller and a smallish anchor locker at the bow.

A generous beam allows for a spacious cabin although the aforementioned large cockpit causes accommodations to be pushed forward. As a result, the V-berth is no larger than can be found of most modern 28-footers and is small for two adults. There is six feet of head room, a hanging locker to port and a wash basin to starboard. The main saloon features a U-shaped dinette to starboard on all models with several options for port side arrangements. Some have two chairs followed by a separate navigation station, others have a settee instead of the two chairs, and still a third option has the settee with an aft-facing navigation table at the end of the settee. The head and shower are aft to port, the galley is aft to starboard and there is a quarter berth cabin with a huge athwartship berth.

The standard auxiliary power is a 27-hp Yanmar diesel mounted below the bridgedeck. This is suitable power for this 12,300-lb boat; service access is reasonably good and engine room insulation is excellent.

The Jeanneau 36.2 has a moderate displacement length ratio of 194 and a very conservative, by today's standards, sail area/displacement ratio of 15.9 yet performance is quite good in all but very light air conditions. A large rudder provides for a very responsive helm under power or sail.

Boats with dinghy-like hull forms, such the Jeanneau 36.2, sail better and faster with less heel. Even though the 36.2 is not over canvassed, ballast is a rather anemic 27% of displacement and she is more easily overpowered than boats with higher percentage of ballast or deeper bulb keels. Reefing will be in order in winds over 15 knots. Conversely, when wind drops below five knots, cruising spinnaker or large light air genoa will become an essential part of your sail inventory.

While it's great to daydream of sailing to faraway places, most often our sailing pleasures come closer to home and for shorter periods. Jeanneau's designers have paid greater attention to dockside and at-anchor comforts than to comfort at sea and, for most, that's just fine. In 2006, asking prices seemed to be slightly above those of comparable Catalinas, Hunters and Beneteaus. At prices comparable to her competitors; the Jeanneau 36.2 offers reasonable value.

Naval architect Jack Hornor was the principal surveyor and designer for Marine Survey & Design, Co., based in Annapolis, MD. He was on the boards of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the National Association of Marine Surveyors, and the Society of Boat and Yacht Designers. He and his wife sailed their Catalina 42, Legacy, based on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

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