I have not personally been on the Jeanneau as of yet, other than knowing a few that have, it appears to be well thought out and sails well for what its intent and application is. "Is it the Best?!?!?!?" like ALL things great and small......maybe/maybe not!
Well, I have been on the Jeanneau 379
and even if it is a nice boat its interior is not a match in interior design and overall balance with the Jeanneau 409 but it is a nice boat, specially if we consider that it is a 36ft boat and not a 38ft boat, as its name lead to suppose. In my opinion the exterior design is better as well as it's sailing performance. We visited also the Dufour 375 and like it more (the Dufour 375 is also a 36ft boat). Both boats should have very similar performances.
Of course the Dufour 375 was probably nominated last year? and the ones that where on contest with the Jeanneau 379 where:
Midsize Cruisers, 36 to 40 Feet:
Bavaria Cruiser 36
Island Packet 360
Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 379
From this ones I think that the best balanced boat is the Halberg Rassy 372. This boat started a revolution in Halberg Rassy and its demand made them start a new line of more modern cruisers, not only boats with a great interior but also very good sailing boats.
The boat was European boat of the year in 2010 and won in 2009 a famous test sail promoted by Norwegian, Swedish and German Yacht magazines, with all boats at the water at the same time. The other boats were: FinnFlyer 36, Grand Soleil 37, Arcona 370, Salona 37, Linjett 37, Elan 380 and SwedeStar 370.
They have said about the HR 371: "The Hallberg-Rassy 372 impressed with her good sailing performance. She performs surprisingly well compared to other boats who call themselves cruiser-racers"... No other boat got so many ten pointers as the 372 for interior, details, brightness, ventilation, choice of materials, galley and sleeping comfort".
The Halberg Rassy 372 was a revolutionary boat and with the Xc 42 created a new generation of sailboats: Luxurious cruising boats with a very good sail performance.
Of course in Europe the HR 372 would not compete on the same category with the Jeanneau 379. The HR would be competing on the Luxurious cruisers and the Jeanneau on the Family cruisers, but if you put both competing together on the same category, well, the Jeanneau would not be a match to the HR 379 and I don' understand why they have prefered the Jeanneau over the HR 372.
Regarding the other boats in competition it is clear to me that the Jeanneau 379 is a more modern boat with Bavaria 36 not far.