Cruising World’s Review of the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 54 DS


Jeanneau’s distinctive new flagship, the Sun Odyssey 54 DS, was launched in France in the fall of 2002 with much fanfare and a bit of trepidation. “The company was looking to develop an elegant performance cruiser,” said Erik Stromberg, customer-support manager for Jeanneau America. “We wanted a boat with the hull volume to accommodate today’s system demands and cruising payloads, but it also had to sail well.” Reviews the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 54 DS

What a life I’d have if all tests were like this one! Stepping aboard a big and luxurious, fully-optioned yacht worth more than a million dollars is always a treat. When the boat test involves sailing that big and luxurious yacht from Hyeres, near Marseilles on the south coast of France, roughly 200nm across the Mediterranean Sea to the Spanish port of Barcelona, you’re talking something really special.

The Sun Odyssey 54 is a new flagship yacht for the major French boatbuilder Jeanneau and the boat I sailed on was the first to be launched. Tooling up for production of a big new boat like this is no minor undertaking, but all the leading production yacht builders seem to be at it these days and the market demand certainly seems to justify their investment. Reviews the Jeanneau 54 DS
Issue: October 2003
For me a 30 footer is a big boat. Once, when I was tugging (and losing) on a mooring line on a 44 footer I whinged to the skipper that I was not used to working big boats. He laughed at me, because his last job had been on a 128 footer. Everything is relative, as my Auntie Vida used to say as she surveyed the rollup at one of our many family funerals. Only a few years ago the Jeanneau 54 would have been regarded as enormous; nowadays she would share the marina with several other 54 footers. 
And nowadays the distinctions between big and small are blurred even further by mechanical aids like electric winches and bow thrusters, which enable boats like the Jeanneau 54 DS to be handled by two people. Another definition of a big boat may be one that cannot be handled by husband and wife, with a minimum of shouting at each other. Even the Sun Odyssey’s price tag of around a million dollars (as tested the base boat is $888,000) is no longer a shock.