Jeanneau NC 33 Boat Test

One of the nicer Euro cruisers arriving on this side of the pond that we’ve had the opportunity to test, the Jeanneau NC 33 revealed itself as a delightful French pastry that is going to appeal to a variety of tastes, whether you are a family with kids, or a couple seeking a comfy weekender with room for some guests.

The starting point is a slippery and seaworthy Michael Peters hull ­design. Powered by the standard twin 220 hp ­Volvo D3 diesels driving Duoprop sterndrives provided to us for testing, the boat topped out at over 36 mph riding this hull. Surprisingly enough, the NC 33 was fuel-efficient across the range, ­getting 1.9 mpg at 25 mph and sipping just 1.5 mpg flat-out. As I said, slippery.

The fully enclosed cabin provides protection for the crew to evade summer’s swelter as much as the chill of late-day autumn boating. Yet since it is fitted with an expansive sunroof overhead, big windows all around, and sliding doors both at the aft end of the cabin and at the helm, the sun, warmth and light of summer boating can be let in at will. We’d like to also stress the functional convenience of a door to the side deck right at the helm.

The cabin layout boasts a single-level sole from transom to helm, with a convertible dinette to port and a minimalist galley to starboard. The helm is sweet, with a readable dash that combines analog gauges with a single monitor. The single seat has a flip-up bolster as well as fold-down footrests.

Two cabins are surprisingly spacious, with a bright forward cabin (two ­hatches, two windows) with huge storage, plus a midship cabin with a square double berth. The head is also large, with a door to close off the shower and toilet so everything doesn’t get wet.

The cockpit has a transforming settee that slides fore and aft and converts to a sun pad, and the ­engine-room hatch is huge, allowing easy entry. High points for great access to systems throughout the boat.

The NC 33 is ­genuinely likable, well-built, quick enough to pull water toys, and fun for the entire family. This fluffy croissant is a French winner.

High Points

  • Michael Peters hull design proved smooth and efficient.
  • Single-level living from cockpit through the cabin to the helm.
  • Sliding door between helm and side deck is a feature we think more boats should possess.

Low Points

  • We’d like to see a grab rail and/or a keeper rail (aka fiddle) installed at the galley.
  • We’re not fond of sharp corners on boats, as found at the back of the helm chair and the dinette table.

Toughest Competitor
Sedan-style, sterndrive-powered cruisers with a full deckhouse, such as found aboard the NC 33, are rare in this size range. But check out the Sea Ray Sundancer 320 (base $323,015 with twin 260 hp Mercury Marine 3.9L TDI diesels and Bravo Three X sterndrives), which is an express cruiser that sleeps four, and offers a larger cockpit and a bow lounge, but a smaller cabin.

Price: $317,000 (base with test power)

Available Power: Sterndrive

How We Tested
Engine: Twin Volvo D3 220 hp Duoprop
Prop: Duoprop DPH
Gear Ratio: 1.78:1
Fuel Load: 110 gal.
Crew Weight: 420 lb.

More Information
Jeanneau – Annapolis, Maryland; 410-280-9400;

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