Our resident used boat expert Phil Sampson explains how to find a good Jeanneau NC9 on the secondhand market and what features to look out for…
In build: 2012-2019
Price range: £110,000-£155,000
There was a lot going on in 1957: Lennon met McCartney, Russia launched Sputnik 1 and Britain switched on the Jodrell Bank space observatory, presumably to keep an eye on Sputnik 1. Meanwhile, over in a quiet corner of provincial France, boat enthusiast Henry Jeanneau founded a small boatbuilding company called Jeanneau.
Starting with speedboats – with which he found considerable success in endurance races such as the 6 Heures de Paris – Jeanneau expanded his portfolio in the early 1960s to include sailboats.
In the years that followed the Jeanneau brand grew and grew to the point that it now forms a major part of the world’s largest boatbuilding conglomerate: Groupe Beneteau. In that time it has launched over 160 different models of power and sailboats, including the subject of this report, the Jeanneau NC9.
Launched in 2012, this 31ft wheelhouse cruiser was only the second model in the newly created NC range, following in the footsteps of the original Jeanneau NC11.
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With its practical walkaround design, enclosed main deck and clean Scandinavian styling, the Jeanneau NC9 can be used all-year-round and provides a halfway house between the more basic Merry Fisher range of pilothouse craft and the sportier but open-backed Jeanneau Leader range.
It is also usefully cheaper than its Scandinavian-built rivals from Nimbus, Botnia Targa and the like. These attributes still ensure the Jeanneau NC9 makes a sound secondhand buy today, either as a seagoing boat, a river boat or a combination of the two.
Among the people who fell under its spell a few years back is Suffolk-based former sailor, Mike Redmond, whose 2017 Jeanneau NC9 is featured here.
“I’d been a sailboat man all my life,” says Mike. “But I reached the stage where I needed to step down and had a less than enthusiastic spouse, so the idea was to get something that was manageable and could be fun, particularly where we live on the east coast with lots of rivers and inlets.
“We were looking for something that would be easy to handle, where we could drop anchor, have a lovely evening and stay on overnight. And, if we were feeling adventurous, whip down to Ramsgate for lunch.
“As this was to be my first motor boat, I looked for something around the 30 to 32-feet mark and found a lot of older boats requiring a certain amount of work.
“I remember looking at one where I said to the chap I didn’t think I’d live long enough to get it completely fixed! So in the end I decided we’d go for something relatively new. The Jeanneau NC9 is only five years old – basically, it was drive it away and that’s it!”
Unfortunately, Mike’s plans didn’t work out as he had hoped. “Transferring from sail to motor was the concept,” he reflects. “But I’m afraid age has caught up with us, and sadly I’m going to be a landlubber from now on.” Consequently, his boat is now being offered for sale by Ipswich-based Clarke & Carter Interyacht for £145,000.
The principal reason for this relatively low price tag for a 31ft 2017 vessel is that Mike’s NC9, like every other one of the 300 or so built, is a single-engined boat. In fact, throughout its entire production lifespan Jeanneau never offered the NC9 with a choice; it was a Volvo Penta 260hp D4 engine, take it or leave it.
A solitary engine does not mean this boat is a slouch; our 2012 test of a new Jeanneau NC9 reported a top speed of just under 27 knots and a cruising speed of around 22 knots.
What it does mean, though, is that in addition to an attractive purchase price, the ongoing running costs should be lower than most, thanks to lower servicing costs and reduced fuel consumption. Despite having only owned the boat for a year, Mike was able to provide us with his sailor’s eye assessment of its capabilities.
“It’s a very comfortable boat and an easy boat to handle,” he says. “Obviously if you’re out in rough weather, like any motor boat it’s going to roll a bit as it doesn’t have a sail to stabilise it.
“I’ve been out in some quite strong swell, as we can get off the east coast, but providing you’re sensible and keep the speed down, it’s fine. I’ve never taken it up to its full speed, I think you’d need smooth water to do that comfortably.
“The only thing anybody buying this sort of boat needs is a good deal of practice initially to be able to get into tight corners in marinas. The one thing I learned about the Jeanneau NC9 is that it has a very powerful engine and you need to be very tender with the throttle, otherwise it suddenly leaps forward or backwards!”
In terms of appearance, the Jeanneau NC9 ploughs its own furrow while adopting many of the styling cues first seen on the Jeanneau NC11.
With its stubby bathing platform and boxy superstructure, the NC9 has a purposeful upright stance that maximises accommodation space on that all-important main deck – a big plus point considering this vessel is only 10ft 4in wide and has side decks which gobble up around 12 inches on either side.
The aft cockpit starts off as full beam and features a forward-facing transom bench and locker unit with room ahead of it for a free-standing table and chairs. Around the cockpit’s mid-point, the side mouldings taper in to accommodate the side deck access steps.
Underfoot is the engine hatch, which is wide and gives unfettered access to the D4 lurking below. A nice touch here is the hatch’s pressurised gas struts which automatically raise the lid once the catches have been released.
Entrance to the saloon is to port via a clever dual-purpose three-panel patio door – more on that in a moment. Inside, the feeling of roominess is enhanced by the light flooding in from the all-round glazing. There’s also a large electrically operated sunroof over the helm – a big plus point for the Jeanneau NC9.
The galley runs all the way along the port side of the saloon with plenty of cupboards and drawer space around the hob, sink and oven. Opposite the galley is the dinette, which features two double seat units with fold-over backrests.
This is to allow passengers to face forward under way (always preferable, especially if you’re prone to seasickness) or aft when dining or lounging around at anchor.
This is where the patio door comes back into play, as its three panels can be also slid over to port, creating an opening to starboard so guests can sit facing aft and interact with those in the cockpit.
There’s a bit of a knack to doing this as the door-retaining locks have to be opened in the correct sequence for the panes to end up where you want them but, like folding a deckchair, it’s easy once you get the hang of it.
Moving forward, the port side helm is a well-planned and businesslike workstation. We did find that the view ahead is slightly restricted by the low roofline but the side door next to the helm not only allows you to pop your head out for a better look, it also helps to ventilate the saloon on hot summer days.
The aperture is only around a metre high so it’s not easy to clamber through quickly in order to lasso a cleat when helming solo but for ventilation and communication it’s still a handy feature. If you can fit through it, it’s just a couple of steps to the foredeck, where you’ll find a double sunpad as well as the anchor locker and ground tackle.
Below decks are the boat’s two cabins and a single shared wetroom with heads. The forward owner’s cabin features a centrally mounted double bed, the base of which hinges upwards to reveal a substantial storage void. The only other storage space in here is a hanging locker.
Cabin two is little more than a place to hang your hat at the end of the day. Situated beneath the helm, there’s precious little room to move around in it, although the bed itself is either a wide single or a narrow double, depending on your point of view.
To conclude, Mike Redmond reckons the Jeanneau NC9 would be ideally suited to a couple – like him and his wife – stepping down from a sailing boat but wanting to stay on the water.
Given the relatively modest investment required for a boat of this size and age, we feel the appeal is somewhat broader and that well-maintained examples such as Mike’s will not stick around on brokerage too long.
Jeanneau NC9 surveyor’s report
I have surveyed several of these efficient, practical and affordable cruisers. Extensive use of vacuum infusion, cored laminates and inner mouldings means that access to some corners of the engine bay and service areas is tricky.
However, when surveying these boats it is important to check for good bonding of the inner and outer hull mouldings. Careful assessment of the cored hull is also vital, especially where it tapers back to monolithic (solid) construction.
Points to note when buying:
- Carefully inspect the undersides for signs of repair, particularly where it has been lifted and stored on chocks. The cored hull may be prone to flexing or even cracking if stowed badly, particularly along the inner ‘hard spot’ created where the core line finishes.
- Have the undersides hammer sounded by an experienced surveyor to ensure the core has not become delaminated. Widespread small teardrop type blisters are indications of more invasive water ingress.
- Windows, doors and sunroof should slide smoothly.
- Hull cleanliness makes a significant impact on speed. Consider a mid-season lift-out for a pressure wash and anode check. Check the machinery and heat exchanger service history and insist on a thorough sea trial.
- The single sterndrive should be removed every two seasons to replace the seals, bellows, steering helmets and anodes. Thoroughly check these prior to purchase.
- The beige coloured gelcoat may be prone to blooming, so factor in regular compounding and ultimately painting or vinyl wrapping. The tinted acrylic hull windows will age over time – examine their bonding.
– Chris Olsen, Olsen Marine Surveying
Jeanneau NC9 specifications
LOA: 30ft 11in (9.43m)
Beam: 10ft 4in (3.15m)
Draft: 3ft 9in (1.15m)
Fuel capacity: 300 litres
Water capacity: 160 litres
Top speed: 27 knots
Fuel consumption: 34 litres per hour @ 20 knots
Cruising range: 139 miles at 20 knots with 20% reserve
Type: Wheelhouse cruiser
Designer: Garroni Design and Jeanneau
Hull type: Planing modified V
RCD category: B for 8 persons / C for 10 persons
Annual marina berth (based on £650/metre on the Hamble River downstream of
Bursledon bridge): £5,850
Annual fuel burn (based on 25 hours @ 24 knots & 25 hours @ 6 knots): 1,100 litres
What’s on the market?
Price: €129,950 VAT paid
Engine: Single Volvo Penta D4 260hp
Lying: Dublin, Ireland
Contact: BJ Marine
Engine: Volvo Penta D4 260hp
Contact: Clarke & Carter Interyacht
First published in the February 2023 issue of MBY.
In association with SETAG Yachts. Design and refit specialists SETAG Yachts bring luxury to the pre-owned market – by creating the bespoke yacht of your dreams, with no compromise. To fall in love with your boat all over again visit www.setagyachts.com or call +44 (0)1752 648618 for more details.
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