Jeanneau 37.1 - observations from a charter
SailNetter John Drake asked me to post some comments I shared with him via email following our recent charter on a 2000 Jeanneau 37.1 (monohull sloop). If I''m criticizing a sistership you own, no offense intended. I didn''t take notes and compose this to be a boat review, so take it for what it is - a series of observations and opinions from a relative newbie.
I would like to believe that my future boat will not suffer from the numerous deficiencies of this last charter boat. I will keep our boat''s bottom clean and polish my fuel so as to keep the tank free of sludge, for example, so that losing an engine due to fuel clogging will not be a normal ocurrence. While there are so many great reasons why larger boats are better, there are lots of reasons why they are worse (especially for a couple with a smallish first mate, and limited funds). I believe we
will be happy with a 36-38 footer, if adequately laid out, for our future boat.
I wish I knew how well she sailed in good condition. The quality of the deck gear, standing, and running rigging was marginal
(in my still-inexperienced opinion), but that''s probably true of all the modest-priced production boats. The sails were not
in great shape, either. The engine access was better than most, but not as good as some I have seen. This one had mediocre performance under power, but supposedly she was overpropped and the revs were limited.
As to accomodation and layout, the V-berth was fine for us, but we stand only 67 and 61 inches high. Being short is a great asset on a boat, for the most part. The wash basin was situated such that you could not shave in it and there was no mirror in the head. None of the lockers are adequately ventilated, so that means a refit of some kind. The fixed table in the saloon was a PITA, especially to reach the lockers behind it. A table which stows against the bulkhead would be preferable.
The galley was OK (stbd at the base of companionway), and the engine-driven frig/freezer was quite good, although always a pain to get stuff in the bottom (would need customized shelf racks, I think). The fans and lights were mostly crap and most
of the sole boards moved and rattled as you walked. The 3 water tanks held about 100 gals total, which is not too bad, I guess. The ports were OK, but the hatches could not stand up to charterer use and were all broken in some fashion. The joinery did not impress me at all; like John Drake said, they walk the fine line of barely tolerable.
The nav station was cramped (as expected). We liked the head/shower pretty much. The aft cabin was just storage space for us;
although it was pretty wide it has the low headroom characteristic of aft-cockpit boats. I asked my wife if we should try
sleeping there one night just to see - she said no. The cockpit lockers were very large; I should have tried to see if the
huge portside locker was open to the boat interior (not good if it was). There was a large hanging locker between the head
and nav station that contained foul-weather gear (I should have checked if there was a plastic pan and drain). There was a
compartment inside the shower (toward the cockpit locker) that could hold wet hanging clothing (nice).
I think there is enough storage (under the settees were caverns of space) and living space for the two of us for many months,
and for 2 guests for a week or two. Ventilation in the aft cabin would need thought.
The cockpit was OK for seating comfort, but the bimini struts were always in the way of your arms or back when trying to get
comfortable. Squeezing around the wheel was a pain, but I guess that''s typical. The fixed table had leaves which fold up and
lock, and sometimes that fixed table provided good support; other times it was just a PITA to get from one winch to the
other. Not enough places to store drinks, glasses, sunscreen, etc, and no organization for all the halyards, lines, etc. Much
of that can be remedied, of course.
From directly abaft the wheel, I could see the masthead and main luff pretty well thru the bimini window. I could not see the
genoa telltales at all. Steering from the sideseats didn''t seem too comfortable, so I didn''t.
She tracked well enough when clsoe-hauled or close reaching and the sails were balanced. Deep broad reaching with some frisky following seas required extra attention. Wing-on-wing without a pole was something I did for only a short while since it was too tricky to be fun for me in those conditions.
Weather helm was an issue in the gusts, but reefing enough to eliminate any tendency to round up left us very slow. My trip report and other posts talk about all the factors for that.
As for motion comfort, I''m not experienced enough to know. We had some 6-8'' seas on one passage on a beam reach and we got the occassional big ones that really rocked you. The boat seemed to handle them fine, and I was usually at the helm, which makes it easier to take big motion, I think. My wife didn''t complain of any discomfort, so I guess that''s a good sign.