John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 33i, Boat Review
Length overall  32'8"
Beam  11'
Draft  6'3"
Displ. 10,250 lb
Fuel 37 gal   Water 42 gal
Price as Tested $114,900

We had twelve knots of breeze, and the sky was clearing at the mouth of Rappahannock River. It had been cloudy, rainy and calm all morning, but as we headed out from Norton Yacht Sales in Deltaville, Virginia, the sailing conditions changed from dismal to ideal. I was at the wheel of a 2010 Jeanneau 33i. We were still under power, but she felt light and nimble. I pointed her into the wind, and we set the main and head sail. I was pleased with how quickly and easily the main went up. When I shut down the Yanmar diesel, we glided along effortlessly.

Having sailed many production boats in this size range over the years, I have some expectations about how a boat will feel under sail and about what I'll find belowdecks. This type of boat is often designed to maximize interior living space, heavy on domestic systems, resulting in only moderate performance. But the Jeanneau 33i surprised me. I discovered a well balanced sailboat with great performance as well as simple, adequate and comfortable accommodations.

Aesthetically, she looks like a clean and unassuming production sailboat--one that would be a good first sailboat for a young family or an ideal charter platform for a couple. On deck, the Jeanneau's cockpit layout is roomy and comfortable. Down below she has a sensible and functional arrangement, with double-bunk cabins forward and aft providing privacy for two couples. The saloon dinette converts to a double bunk as well. I was particularly gratified to see a chart table--a feature often overlooked on boats this size.

To my delight, I discovered that the 33i is also a performance cruiser. I took her through all points of sail--a few tacks, a couple of jibes, and I had a ball. The 33i was so light to the touch that I could literally sail her right on the wind with just one finger on the wheel. By comparison, she felt similar to some boats I have sailed that are many times her price but have a fraction of her accommodations.

Next, I decided to see how she would do in a maneuver known as heaving to. You do this if you need to stop while under sail and hold position with minimal drift--maybe while you pause for lunch or to wait for a freighter to pass. Many modern sailboats with fin keels and spade rudders have difficulty maintaining this pose for very long, if they can manage it at all. I brought the 33i head-to-wind and backed the head sail. After bleeding off all her speed and coming to a stop, I reversed the rudder and eased out the main and she stayed put. Like an obedient puppy holding a milk bone on her nose, the Jeanneau waited for me reverse rudder again before jibing around, falling off and taking off under sail once again.

Whether you're looking for a daysailer, weekender or a coastal/island cruiser, you'll find the Jeanneau 33i gets the job done with comfort and performance.