Express cruisers are an extremely popular segment of the North American boating market—and rightfully so. They’ve got lots of outside deck space, expansive interiors with versatile layouts, capable performance, and generally speaking, a lot of bang for the buck. We encountered a new member of this family when we had the opportunity to run Jeanneau’s new NC 795 and the NC 795 Sport in Sarasota, FL, and shoot this short First Look Video.

The NC 795 has been successfully sold on the European market for quite some time, marketed under the Merry Fisher model name. New to the North American scene, the NC 795’s niche is for couples and small families who want to do short weekend cruises and brief excursions without a lot of muss and fuss. The Sport version targets the same group who also like to go fishing. Based on what we saw, Jeanneau has hit the target.

The NC 795 features a fully enclose cabin, but still offers plenty of cockpit space.

The NC 795 features a fully enclose cabin, but still offers plenty of cockpit space.

The sport version of the Jeanneau NC 795 has more of an angling angle, with a walkaround cabin, rod holders, and an aft steering station.

The sport version of the Jeanneau NC 795 has more of an angling angle, with a walkaround cabin.

On first glance the NC 795 has a utilitarian look to it, although the longer you examine the details of its design, the more elegant the boat becomes. The NC 795 is fairly high-sided and we found it a bit tender, but it wasn’t so pronounced as to be a deal-breaker. You also get an amazingly secure and comfortable cockpit for that tradeoff. The traditional version has an almost full-width cabin, a roomy aft cockpit, and a cozy foredeck sunpad area. The Sport model has a cabin that’s narrowed to allow for full walk-around access on both sides. If you’ve ever seen Beneteau’s Barracuda 7, you get the idea.

The best place to start getting to know the NC 795 is in the aft cockpit; it’s a social space that sees a lot of activity from its owners, Jeanneau tells us. It’s easy to hop aboard, thanks to two teak-decked mini swim platforms on the stern. A walk-through to starboard provides access to the cockpit. Like many of Jeanneau’s powerboats, the NC 795’s cockpit is highly transformable, and here’s where that innovation shines. You can configure it with a large port-side sunpad, as a U-shaped dinette, or with two separate forward and aft benches. The best part is that making these configuration changes involves only a little presto change-o with the cockpit cushions—we found it very quick and easy to do.

A particularly clever aspect of the aft cockpit is the transom seat. In its normal position it makes up one section of an expansive, U-shaped lounge that’s set around a drop-in pedestal table. That transom seat is pushed so far aft, in fact, that it makes tilting the single outboard engine all the way up impossible. Big problem, right? Jeanneau deals with this issue by putting the seat on tracks. Simply pull a couple of pins, slide the seat forward, and then tilt your outboard up and out of the water. Neat.

While the cockpit sees most of the action on onboard the NC 795, that doesn’t mean that Jeanneau has skimped on its interior spaces. The main cabin is an extremely open, airy space that’s surrounded by large panes of glass and is ventilated with a large opening sunroof and generous sliding windows. Open it all up and it feels as if you’re outside.

The port side of the main cabin pulls triple duty, depending on the type of activity you’re engaged in. It’s normally set up as a four-person dinette, but can quickly be converted to full berth/inside sun pad with just a few easy moves of the dinette’s components. Another adjustment and the forward end of the dinette converts it into forward-facing companion seating. We’ve seen this type of convertibility in the NC 795’s larger brethren, but we really enjoyed how easily this area can be transformed for such a relatively small cabin space.

The single flip-up bucket seat at the helm is plenty comfy, but some folks might wish for one that swivels. The dash is nicely laid out with high-quality gauges, control switches, and displays, but make a note—it’s too small for all but the smallest multifunction displays. That being said, the Lowrance MFD on our test craft seemed up to the task and the helm chair’s positioned in such a way to provide good visibility.

The aforementioned flip-up bucket helm seat is arranged as such to provide additional counter space for the starboard side aft “galley-ette” behind it. This mini galley has a one-burner electric stove, a sink, and tons of stowage space beneath it. Our review boat had the optional stainless-steel refrigerator installed; it’s fitted adjacent to the galley space just aft of the dinette, and within easy reach of the galley. There was a bit of rattling in the cabinetry, which fortunately, is easily solved by installing some furniture bumpers from your local hardware store.

While the helm chair doesn’t swivel, it’s mounted to flip forward and expand galley space.

While the helm chair doesn’t swivel, it’s mounted to flip forward and expand galley space.

A step down below the main cabin is a full-size berth that’s angled to port from the bow aft. To starboard is an enclosed head with sink. We didn’t find a shower in here, which is more or less expected on a boat this size. There’s plenty of light and ventilation below, provided by a large opening hatch above. All in all, we expect this space will prove more than adequate for weekend cruising and gunkholing—it’s quite cozy yet roomy enough for a couple to comfortably sleep in.

While the 200 HP Yamaha F200 outboard isn’t exactly going to slam you back in your seat, acceleration and top-end performance are just about what we’d expect with a boat this type and size. We got to 20 MPH in a respectable seven seconds, powering our way all the way up to 38.2 MPH at 5,900 RPM, which is plenty capable for a family cruising machine that might be used for occasional fishing sorties. We found that the NC 795 finds its most efficient cruise at 22.4 MPH where we observed a very lean 7.7 GPH fuel burn. Head out with a full tank of fuel and you’ll get a theoretical cruising range of around 215 miles. Not bad.

All said, the NC 795 is packed to the gills with clever convertibility and transformable spaces that allow it to serve many different purposes, depending on the occasion. Add in a good dose of efficient performance and whether you choose the standard or Sport model, you’ve got the makings for a capable family cruiser that can pull double duty as a decent fishing machine.

Other Choices: Boat shoppers looking at the Jeanneau NC 795 might also consider boats like the Striper 275, the Osprey 26, or on the fishier side, the Robalo R245.
Displacement3,924 lbs
Fuel capacity74 gal.
Water capacity26 gal.