By Zuzana Prochazka
Positioned on an angle to the dock at the last Annapolis boat show, Jeanneau’s new 64-foot flagship got a lot of attention. By highlighting her massive deck with a spotlight in the evenings, the French builder ensured her sleek profile had the right effect even at night. At 64 feet it is no surprise that she became a dramatic focal point for show goers and competitors alike.
Although 20 feet shy of official superyacht status, this well-proportioned Philippe Briand design was well worth the multi-year wait. She’s much like a superyacht except you don’t need professional crew to sail her and your moorage fees won’t break the bank either.
On Deck Joining the crowd of admirers, I noticed the blunt bow, long foredeck and swoopy cat eye embedded in the side of her cabintop. Jeanneau has long embraced a more rounded approach to design, eschewing the angular aesthetics of many of its competitors. Overall, this model is eight feet longer than the previous flagship but length only tells a part of the story of this giant vessel.
A tall composite arch serves as the attachment point for the mainsheet and there is no traveller. With the 105 percent genoa, the sail area is more than 2,000 square feet, not counting the enormous asymmetrical that is an option. For easy upwind work in bigger wind, there is a self-tacking staysail on a track just ahead of the keel-stepped mast that has triple aft-swept spreaders.
The transom was open, forming a teak beach and revealing an enormous dinghy garage that is wide enough to hold the tender athwartships. I stepped aboard the swim platform only to realize that the deck was well above the level of my head. The only way up to the cockpit (that forms 40 percent of the total deck area) is via a ladder, which struck me as a strange tradeoff on a boat built for comfort and luxury. Kids and the less agile may find the ladder hard to negotiate.
Once on deck, I could fully appreciate the cockpit, which is divided between working and socializing areas. The working portion is where Jeanneau really dialed it in. The two wheels are aft of twin three-foot consoles that hold multifunction displays and instruments as well as engine and thruster controls. Presented on these pedestals, all the controls are at your fingertips and each helm station feels like an opulent command pod.
The primary winches are within reach of the helmsman but they can also be used by crew standing in the forward end of the working cockpit where line stoppers, sheet bags and another set of winches are easily accessed without needing to reach over a settee. Better yet, there is enough room for multiple people to work. It’s easy to trim while facing forward so you can see the sail you’re working with rather than having to face aft while sheeting in or easing.
I tested out the sunpads behind the wheels by stretching out and resting my boat show-weary bones for a moment. This will make a nice place to lounge at anchor. The starboard pad hides a lazarette that holds an electric grill. It pulls up manually and joins a sink and a drinks cooler neatly tucked into the two towers that mark the entrance into the social cockpit.
Forward, two tables will easily seat eight for an al fresco dinner. They raise or lower electrically on telescoping legs to form two more double sunpads complete with cupholders along the inboard edge. This social space makes up nearly 20 percent of the length of the deck so there’s a perception of a large play area that normally would be found on a much larger yacht.
Interior Superyacht designer, Andrew Winch, is behind the look and feel of the interior of the Jeanneau 64 and that luxe approach is fully visible below. With its 18-foot beam, the model provided the designer with lots of room to work and create posh accommodations.
The interior is like a contemporary condo. The wood is light, the windows large, and there are plenty of leather accents and pull handles, chrome fixtures, soft indirect lighting and padded surfaces. There is a definite superyacht vibe aboard.
Despite coming from a production builder, the Jeanneau 64 could be thought of as a semi-custom yacht with numerous options including up to six different layouts and a plethora of wood, fabric and finish choices.
The first decision to be made by the owner is whether to situate the master suite forward or aft. When forward, the master has a large berth offset to starboard with the head toward the aft bulkhead. You can still walk around the bed so getting in and out will be easy for both people. A settee with an aft-facing desk is to port and the single head with separate shower stall is in the bow. In this configuration, you can have two cabins aft. The starboard suite has a double berth and an ensuite head while the portside cabin has twin beds separated by a ladder that leads up to the hatch above and the cockpit beyond. This cabin will be good for kids or crew and shares the day head aft of the galley.
When aft, the master stateroom has a centreline bed, a vanity desk and seat to port, and a loveseat-style settee to starboard. A large head with a shower stall is also to starboard. With the master aft, two identical pullman-style double cabins are forward with heads and shower stalls in the bow. This may be the favourite layout as it provides an opulent master stateroom that includes two opening hatches on either side of the bed, which lead to the cockpit. The amount of air and light these two large hatches provide is impressive.
The galley and the saloon dinette location are fixed in all the interior variations. The L-shaped galley is to port and one step down. It has a three-burner glass-topped gimbaled stove with oven, a stacked refrigerator and freezer, twin sinks, a tall wine cooler, endless countertop space and ample lockers for stowage. The U-shaped dinette ahead to starboard can seat six comfortably.
Other layout options include either an amidships over/under cabin, a workshop or a full navigation station to starboard aft of the dinette. When the side cabin is chosen, the nav desk moves forward to port across from the dinette. When the nav desk is aft, this becomes a large sofa or daybed. The seat for the desk is a free-standing chair, which would not be my choice as there will be no way to stay in it when heeling. The stand-alone chair may have been done so the refrigerator drawers just aft of the desk have room to open.
Systems The Jeanneau 64 is powered by a 180 horsepower Volvo Penta D4 diesel with a straight shaft. The engine has plenty of power to push a boat that displaces nearly 70,000 pounds so there’s hardly a need for an upgrade option. The dedicated engine room is nearly walk-in size, which makes access convenient. Bow and stern thrusters are available and given the sheer mass of this vessel, power assist to the side when docking will be welcome especially since twin rudders make the boat behave differently than the skipper may be used to.
Concluding Remarks To date, when Jeanneau owners were ready to step up from their 50-something-footers or were looking for a bit more personalization and luxury, they may have left the brand to seek their next boat elsewhere. With the 64, Jeanneau has created that next step to keep them in the family. At just under US$1 million (base) this model represents a lot of value, and judging by sales, boaters have noticed. The builder is already up to nearly 20 orders.
The Jeanneau 64 feels like a superyacht in all but the price and sailability. With electric winches, in-mast furling, and a simple rig, pushbutton sailing removes the need for professional crew on a boat that says you’ve arrived—and I don’t mean just at your next port.