A Father and Son put the Sun Fast 3600 through its Paces

The meaning of ‘performance’ in modern, production monohulls continues to evolve and the Jeanneau 3600 is leading the way.” George Day, Blue Water Sailing Magazine

Back in September, before the Newport International Boat show, George Day, owner of Blue Water Sailing Magazine, received a text from his older son Simon Day which included a picture of what Simon described as a “cool” boat. George texted back that the boat in the picture was that of INVICTUS, the new Jeanneau 3600 and, yes, indeed, it looks “very cool.”

George explains that to get some perspective on the meaning of “cool’ in this context it is helpful to know that Simon is a yacht designer and an accomplished sailor, has raced his own Mini 6.5 in offshore events and regularly crews on Class 40s, including last summer’s Fastnet Race.  He’s into broad beams, hard chines, twin rudders, overpowered boats that are designed to plane and are set up for singlehanders and smaller crews of three or four to race or cruise offshore. Since this is pretty much the Sun Fast 3600 in a nutshell, it’s no wonder why Simon was attracted to the boat.

The next weekend, George got the chance to experience the Sun Fast 3600 firsthand  and discover for himself just how “cool” the 3600 really is. And just for a little fun, as well as some father and son time on the water, he took Simon along with him.

Now, I should stop right here and say that much of what follows comes from George’s full review of the 3600 which was published in the November issue of Blue Water Sailing. I have taken the liberty of stealing just a bit of what George wrote and adding them to a few words of my own since I was lucky enough to race on the boat several times this past summer and therefore got a good insight as to what the Sun Fast 3600 is really all about; an incredibly stable and stiff offshore racer ideally suited for shorthanded sailing.

Invictus, is equipped with optional dual wheels which work great when sailing with a full crew. However, if shorthanded sailing is your thing, you will probably want to go with the standard duel tillers allowing the helmsman to sail the boat much like you do a dinghy with the tiller in one hand and the mainsheet in the other.

The Sun Fast 3600, Fast Track X , is easily sailed by a crew of 2 due to the twin tillers and the superbly designed cockpit

“When we got our first look at the 3600 as we walked down the dock Si just nodded his head and said, “She looks well proportioned and very cool.”

Georges Story:

“It was a perfect late summer afternoon as we backed the 3600 out of her slip and then motored across Newport Harbor. The sea breeze was flitting and then rapidly started to fill in with dark creases on the water appearing more and more frequently.

The boat was equipped with a handsome set of North 3Di  sails—laminated—that had seen a few regattas but were still almost new. We hoisted the main, which looked very well cut, and then ran the jib sheets aft and hoisted the 105-percent jib. With eight knots of breeze, we trimmed in as we rounded Ft. Adams and hardened up to sail close to the wind as we left Narragansett Bay.

The cockpit is laid out so well that even the first time you sail the boat, all the strings are just where you need them to be. With twin wheels, the helmsman on this boat sits aft and can sit comfortably either to windward or to leeward. On both sides of the cockpit, there are foot pads that can be adjusted to compensate for heel.”

Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 3600, Invictus, in Annapolis MD.
The twin wheels allow you to steer from either side. Invictus is set up with “German” sheeting allowing the main to be trimmed both port and starboard.

The 3600 was quite close winded. An average modern cruising boat will sail best at about 33 degrees to the apparent wind and tack in about 90 degrees of true angle. The 3600, once we got the sails trimmed properly, sailed easily at 28 degrees apparent and tacked at about 80 degrees of true angle.

The wind was gradually building, so in 10 knots of true breeze we sailed quite easily at 28 degree apparent and made 7.2 knots. When we eased to 33 degrees, choosing speed over angle, the speedo jump up to nearly eight knots. With the small headsail, tacking the boat was easy and handling the main traveler trim was made simple by the double-ended control lines.

“Sailing upwind, we had no real competition among the boats sailing out Narragansett Bay; we blew by everything as we sailed both higher and faster.”

After an hour of happy sailing into the building sea breeze, we had all developed a real admiration for the 3600’s sailing qualities and turn of speed. In a recent distance race, the 3600 acquitted herself very well by finishing second to one of the best boats and sailors in Newport. With a little more practice, the 3600 could have won.

We had the number two asymmetrical spinnaker on board so we sent Si to the fore deck to get it ready and then performed an easy bear-away set. The 3600 immediately took off and in the 10 to 12 knots of breeze we were reaching more than eight knots.

Leukemia Cup Regatta, Narragansett Bay.
Invictus under the A-sail on Narragansett Bay

As we reached back into Narragansett Bay, the wind picked up a bit and the stern wave began to break away leaving a very smooth and untroubled wake.  We didn’t have enough breeze to get it to plane but the 3600 will sail at over 16 knots in the right conditions.”

My Conclusion:

“The new Sun Fast 3600 is a blast to sail and will be fun to cruise between events or on family vacations. It has the legs to win offshore events, either fully crewed or shorthanded. And it is nimble and well thought out enough to excel at close quarter sailing around the buoys. And as Si texted to me the first time he saw the boat, the Sun Fast 3600 is indeed really cool.”

I know I’m biased but as someone who got the chance to race aboard the Sun Fast 3600 quite a lot this past summer, I have to agree with George and Simon. The Sun Fast 3600 is indeed, pretty cool.

You can read George’s complete review of the Sun Fast 3600 online at: www.bwsailing.com.



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