French yacht designer Philippe Briand and Jeanneau have unveiled their latest collaboration, the 13.4m Sun Odyssey 440.

The hull form on the new family cruiser was inspired by scow-hulled working boats, which have squared-off forward sections, allowing for an unparalleled beam towards the bow of the vessel. The owner’s cabin therefore has a generous amount of volume not seen on any other boats in this size range.

“Space has become very restricted to the stern of boats as owners expect a lot of features here, so I looked for space in the bow, inspired by the Mini 6.50s with their scow-shaped bows, to bring the maximum beam forwards and increase the interior volume without losing performance,” Briand explains.

Furthermore, thanks to a lack of barriers between the cockpit and the deck, and a gentle sloping of the deck towards the stern, movement on the SO 440 is unimpeded by steps or obstacles. This improves circulation in day-to-day use as well as improves safety for guests onboard.

And finally, in a new and patented feature, a “transformer” cockpit backrest has been developed for the SO 440, offering protection within the cockpit as well as an elevated vantage point from the helm. The backrest can be pivoted 90 degrees from vertical to a horizontal position, so lying flat to offer a full-beam 330% extension of the overall cockpit zone to the rear.

On the announcement of the SO 440 project, Briand commented on his innovative features and their function in encouraging new boat ownership: “Almost all our clients for large sailing yachts were at one time owners of smaller, production boats," he says. "As yacht designers and naval architects, we see it as our responsibility to steward the next generation of yacht owners through the process of enjoying life on the water, by making ownership of smaller, more affordable boats enticing.”

Jeanneau is the world’s largest producer of sailing boats from 40ft-64ft. Briand’s collaborative work with the French yard spans over 45 models and four decades, extending back to 1977 when he designed the group’s Symphonie project at the age of 22.

Further details of the SO 440 will be available at the 2017 Cannes Yachting Festival in September.