Catamarans are popular with boat owners due to their excellent performance, stability, comfort, and airy living spaces. Leopard catamarans boast a long tradition of producing easy-to-handle vessels with spacious layouts and superior cruising capabilities. You’ve probably heard a thing or two about these popular boats, but let’s get the real deal about them in this review.
Leopard catamarans are good because they are robust, spacious, well-built, and deliver an exceptional cruising performance. These cats are excellent for ocean crossings since they are safe, easy to handle, and fast. The main downside is that they are expensive.
Throughout this article, you’ll also discover the following about Leopard catamarans:
- The pros and cons of these catamarans
- How they compare with similar catamaran brands
- Frequently asked questions about Leopard catamarans plus their answers
Why You Might Want To Consider Getting a Leopard Catamaran
If you are in the market for a sailing catamaran, you may want to have a Leopard Catamaran among the options to consider. These ruggedly-built vessels are roomy, robust, and deliver superior cruising performance – some of the many reasons that would make any sailor want to get their hands on one.
To understand more about these unique vessels, let’s take a closer look at some of the benefits of owning a Leopard Catamaran.
They Boast a Solid Construction
Leopard Catamaran boats boast a superior and solid construction using advanced materials such as infused glass or PVC core construction. The boats come in innovative designs meant to be appealing, fun, spacious, and comfortable. Capable of ocean crossings, these sea-worthy blue water cruise boats have superb build quality, and they sail all over the world.
Robertson & Caine Factory in South Africa, producers of world-acclaimed racers and cruisers, are the boat builders behind Leopard Catamarans. These innovative, high-quality multihulls are serious contenders in the global catamaran market and enjoy dominance as the best-selling catamaran brand in North America. Indeed many Leopard cat owners are pretty happy with their model’s performance.
Balsa-cored hulls and decks characterize these boats. This feature helps to provide maximum firmness while keeping weight to the minimum. In addition, solid fiberglass appears in all places with mounted hardware.
Leopard catamarans provide one of the best examples of compromise between sail performance and interior volume. The hulls feature fine entry points and are deep and narrow beneath the waterline for enhanced performance in all conditions. However, they curve higher up to provide more accommodation space in the cabins and ample deck space.
Most of the boats have shallow keels and are packed full of closed-cell polyurethane foam that helps boost buoyancy as well as hinder water ingress. Furthermore, both the stern and bow feature watertight bulkheads that play a crucial role in keeping out water in the unlikely event of a collision. The bulkheads thus go a long way in enhancing the vessel’s safety.
Leopard Catamaran Boats Are Extremely Well-Built
If you are looking for a practical, efficient design and a stable platform, then you can’t go wrong with a Leopard Catamaran. Everything is laid out thoughtfully and logically in a way that makes perfect sense. For instance, the layout, starting from the helm placement, engine set up to the winches, is simple, well-organized, and easy to understand.
Unlike most production catamarans that don’t offer great finishing touches, Leopard Catamarans are in a class of their own. Not only are the boats appealing and beautifully designed, but their finishing is also top-notch and depicts keen attention to detail. You will be hard-pressed to find exposed plywood in the drawers or nails that stick out. Instead, what you will find are sleek, luxurious finishes.
Everything on the Leopard cat is easily accessible through panels. The top-quality components also bear clear labels making them easy to identify. Better yet, the raised helm station provides panoramic visibility with sight lines clear and unobstructed and quick access to winches and sheets. An accompanying manual is at hand to offer wiring, plumbing, and mechanical diagrams, and all the parts are readily available.
They Deliver a Great Performance
These boats come with a robust sail plan that allows for good sailing speeds. They are quite reliable, and their simple systems ensure that the boats perform admirably in all wind conditions, whether in a marina or out in the ocean.
The efficient hulls deliver maximum speeds of 24knots+ (44.4 km/hr) and cruising speeds of 18knots ( 33.3 km/hr). This translates to lower fuel consumption, less horsepower, and a much longer range than similar sized power catamarans.
It’s important to note here that most catamaran buyers are first-time owners looking at their catamarans as second homes. As such, they are far more concerned with their comfort at anchor than speed underway.
They Are Spacious and Comfortable
A Leopard Catamaran boat is built to provide optimal livability and adequate space for both friends and family. And for those who choose to live onboard, it’s the perfect home away from home. The boat’s easy-to-handle features and handholds offer immense practicality and enhanced safety for those sailors desiring to venture out on long cruising voyages or ocean crossings.
The boat’s spacious cabins are both functional and comfortable. They offer adequate storage space in cabinets, under the beds, and on the floor. The galley has favorable spacing, too, including large counter spaces, and can accommodate more than one person at a time without a hassle.
To ensure lower resistance and less pitching motion, these vessels come with sharp bows. Also, the transoms are wide and offer excellent access to the water, while wide aft sections allow optimal load carrying.
The rock-solid hulls provide superior bridge deck clearance, which is critical for many boat owners. What this means is that you hardly hear slamming except in stormy weather. The anchoring system has a suitably concealed location on the forward deck, thus preventing rust, mud, and fouling of chain on hulls. And depending on the weather, the main saloon can either open or close to the aft cockpit.
No-maintenance hard tops cover the aft and forward cockpits and the helm station, thus providing protection from extreme sunny conditions.
The Boats Offer Excellent Social Areas
A Leopard Catamaran comes with two areas that are suitable for all your social needs; the forward cockpit and the topside lounge. The large, well-laid cockpit offers direct access into the main saloon and presents an excellent area for kicking back and relaxing due to its lavish spacing. The opportunity to have fresh flowing air throughout the boat is delightful.
In addition, it allows direct access to the transoms as well as adequate room for dive tanks, a BBQ, and additional tankage. You can enjoy incredible sunrises or sunsets here as well as privacy while in marinas or at anchor, not to mention the excellent ventilation.
The other superb social spot is the spacious lounge space which comes equipped with permanently fixed cushions and tables. This space offers an additional area for all your socializing and entertaining. Located at the roof, the lounge provides great visibility, plus you can access it directly from the deck.
This lounge poses no interference with the helm station, and you can still communicate with the latter from here. What’s more, it’s perfectly safe to stay here while the vessel is under sail. You can choose to spend quiet evenings relaxing or listening to music at anchor.
They Are High on Safety
A great plus with these catamarans is that they come with in-built safety features. For starters, the forward cockpit provides a natural, safe zone for you and your family to sit and enjoy your breakfast as you watch the horizon. You don’t have to worry about your kids going on deck untethered.
Secondly, every line comes back to the helm. This well-thought-out safety feature means that you can control everything on the boat from the helm station. Hence, you never have to be out there in foul weather adjusting the sails.
Again, the centrally-located helm station provides additional safety, and the person on sailing watch does not get cut off from the rest of the people. In any case, having the helm station placed towards the edge of the boat is not safe since it makes overnight passage in rough seas rather dangerous.
Overall, the high-quality construction plus outstanding stability in a wide range of sea conditions make you feel safe at all times.
They Are Comfortable in All Conditions
Leopard Catamarans are comfy while out at sea and anchor. They come designed in such a way that the door to the forward access plus the sliding glass door aft maintain a steady and comfortable airflow. Furthermore, the protected helm station is quite useful when the flybridge gets too cold, or there’s pouring rain.
Featuring a wide array of creature comforts, the cruising vessels provide you with access to amenities such as a large and efficient refrigerator and freezer, ice maker, washing machine, water storage, and air conditioning. The expansive living spaces are also quite appealing to live-aboard cruising families and couples.
They Are Easy To Handle
You can sail a Leopard Catamaran single-handed. This feature endears these sailing vessels to many sailors who might prefer minimal crew or to have a boat all to themselves. Moreover, the dedicated, well-protected helm station comes specially designed for offshore single-handed sailing, while rudder positioning behind the prop allows for better maneuverability.
The helm station provides direct access plus visibility to the aft cockpit as well as ready access to the foredeck and side decks. You also get full visibility to the upper lounge, stearns and bows, and the mainsail through the skylight.
The Boats Have a High Resale Value
Both chartered and privately-owned Leopard catamarans offer a high resale value though owner version catamarans tend to command a much higher price. This is primarily due to their comfort and ease of handling. The Leopard Catamarans brand is also well-known thanks to their award-winning models.
Leopard Catamarans Are Easy To Maintain
Leopard cats are pretty easy to maintain and only require regular cleaning and routine maintenance to remain in good working condition. The boats have easy-to-clean interiors and exteriors, which makes this routine maintenance less of a chore.
Additionally, boat parts are easily available given the standardized systems across the Leopard line of boats and the considerable quantities the company manufactures. You can replace most of the parts on your own, too, if you have mechanical skills.
As an owner, you also get support at any corner of the world as Leopard Catamarans has offices and bases worldwide.
Downsides of Leopard Catamarans
Some of the disadvantages of Leopard Catamarans boats include the following:
- They tend to be more expensive than other catamaran brands.
- Balsa-cored boats tend to suffer moisture incursion. Hence it would be best if you inspected deck fittings regularly.
- Some boats experienced structural issues on the aft bulkhead and between the saloon and cockpit in the areas above the door frame.
- The saloon seat cushions are too narrow, soft, and slippery in some models.
How To Maintain Your Leopard Catamaran
A well-maintained Leopard Catamaran can last for many years. But that’s not all. Following basic yacht maintenance rules ensures that your boat doesn’t depreciate, thus fetching you a better price if you decide to upgrade. To keep your vessel in top condition, follow the below suggestions:
- Keep your Leopard Catamaran clean and updated with routine maintenance. Wash the boat, keep it clean, tidy, and well-organized, and don’t forget to conduct oil, fuel, filter, and zinc changes. Ensure to keep the stainless steel appliances clean and lubricate equipment like the wrenches, autopilot, lines, and rigging to avoid rust buildup.
- Install solar panels plus a wind generator. This is especially key if you plan on going on long cruises since it allows you to be more self-supporting while at anchor.
- Conduct preventive maintenance. This includes fixing window seals to prevent leaks and replacing recurrent wear items such as the rigging, anchor chain, sails, and seadek.
- Consider doing upgrades to make your boat more comfortable, stylish, and even more marketable. These include items such as electronics, air conditioning, upholstery, and the engine.
Here is a video giving a detailed look into the kind of maintenance costs you might incur with your Leopard Catamaran:
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about Leopard Catamarans, plus their answers:
Is a Forward Cockpit Safe for Long Passages?
Yes, the boat is safe for ocean crossings. A Leopard Catamarans forward cockpit comes with a sealed hatch that prevents water from getting inside. Furthermore, the space has numerous structured openings that allow any storm waters that get in to drain out super fast.
Is It Possible To Sail a Leopard Catamaran on Your Own?
Yes, it is. All lines lead back to the helm station so you can control everything on the boat from a single point. The presence of two independent engines and propellers also makes it easier to maneuver the boat, particularly in a marina.
Can a Leopard Catamaran Sail Fast?
A Leopard Catamaran is designed for cruising. Therefore, the boat might sacrifice some level of performance for the comfort of the owner and his family or guests. However, this boat is still faster than a similar-sized monohull though upwind journeys might be slower due to a lower capacity to point towards the wind.
Can a Leopard Catamaran Cross the Ocean?
Most certainly! These great vessels are not only safe, stable, and fast, but they are also capable of taking long cruises and ocean crossings. What’s more, they have the fuel and water storage capacity to allow for such an undertaking.
What Is the Difference Between a Leopard Sail Catamaran and a Power Catamaran?
Sail catamarans like the Leopard 40, 45, 50, and 58 have additional space below for more convenience. This includes a lounge with a seating area, sunbed, and table, a well-protected helm station that’s integrated into the cockpit, and even a lounging flybridge accommodation.
Power Catamarans like the Leopard 39, 43, and 53 are mid-sized catamarans featuring the stepped hull design. This allows for more accommodation space without decreased yacht performance, tremendous speeds -up to 24 knots ( 44.4km/hr) – and outstanding fuel efficiency. They all boast stability, durability, space, efficiency, luxury, and ease of handling.
Leopard Catamaran boats have a better build than other similar catamaran brands. They also provide a better performance, more comfort, and higher value. With the experience garnered from producing numerous charter boats, plus their active response to customer feedback, Leopard Catamarans has learned to build the kind of boats that people genuinely enjoy sailing.
So, if you are keen to get yourself a Leopard Catamaran, start by determining your budget. Next, look through the various models within the Leopard line, attend boat shows, and you are sure to find a Leopard Catamaran that meets your fancy. To happy sailing!