First published in SAIL Magazine, 1989
Just Launched – Jeanneau 36
by Tom Dove
There will be no neutral feelings toward the Jeanneau 36. Boat show visitors either stepped aboard and stayed to inspect it closely or took a quick look and left immediately.
The double aft cabin layout with two semicircular private heads will be practical for charter or for maximum privacy cruising with three couples. The forward cabin has a vee-berth and its own sink. A second plan retains the twin heads but creates one large master aft stateroom instead of two.
The galley is farther forward than in most boats and the huge dinette will seat eight easily. The entire interior is exceptionally bright, a result of the light teak finish, numerous opening ports and wide expanses of window overhead. You could sail this boat from the main saloon using an autopilot, as the sails are easy to see from below. All the ports and hatches have roller blinds for privacy and shelter from the summer sun. The general finish is of good production boat quality.
The rig has a high aspect ratio main with reefing lines at the mast rather than aft in the cockpit, an arrangement many prefer. The genoa track is on the cabin top and uses a unique control line system that makes it easy to adjust from the cockpit, even under load. Deck hardware is of excellent quality and we found the entire rig easy to manage.
As with other French boats, particular attention has been paid to ease of anchoring. A clever bow fitting houses a plow or Bruce anchor and there is an anchor roller on the stern platform. The platform makes line handling simple and it incorporates stowage for a life raft.
The deck is a sunbather’s delight with fitted mats on the cabin top and bow. The coamings are angled for comfortable sitting and my petite wife appreciated the sturdy permanent table which gave her a place to brace her feet in the wide cockpit while underway.
Our sailing day gave us wind velocities from five to about 25 knots on the Rappahannock River in Virginia. In light air the wide, shallow hull accelerated quickly and showed good speed. As the breeze increased the boat proved easy to control but fairly tender and we put the lee rail under water often, even with reduced sail. In all winds, the boat was responsive and easy to handle. We sailed the bulbous keel model with 4’7″ draft but a 6’8″ elliptical keel is also available.
Performance under power showed no unusual traits forward or backing. The engine is a 27 HP Yanmar mounted in the center of the main cabin under one of the dinette seats. The enclosure quiets the engine well and it opens from the top for maintenance access.
The Jeanneau 36 base price is $106,000. Jeanneau, B.P. 83, 85503 Les Herbiers Cedex, France. Telephone 51 91 06 10.
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