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Old 19-05-2008, 12:29   #1
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Lightbulb Leopard 38

Hi all Any views or reviews on the Leopard 38 or 45
Please
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Old 20-05-2008, 03:07   #2
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I chartered the Moorings 4500 (basically the Leopard 45)for two weeks a couple of years ago. Granted it was a charter boat so not set up particularly well. Very comfortable, acceptable but not particularly good performance except when motoring into a chop. Lot of prop cavitation and because of the set up (props well aft) when the boat pitched the props got very close to the surface.
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Old 20-05-2008, 06:30   #3
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I also would like some input on the Leopard 38. Pricing seems to be good and the wife likes the layout. Any comments on the transum walkout, Bathroom issues, Sailing performance verses the larger 45? Also compaired to the Lagoon.

Thanks,
Steve
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Old 20-05-2008, 08:14   #4
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I like the Leopard design, but it sure seems like the 38 is a compromise in that it is quite a bit of boat crammed into 38 feet. Reading some reviews of it, it is not going to be lightning fast, and the 45 & 47 will probably perform significantly better being more stretched out. I also like that the 38 only has 2 heads and i wish the 45&47 were such but what can you do as they were designed for charter. The fact that they are coming out of charter provides a great market for them, and either can be had pretty cheap.
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Old 20-05-2008, 08:15   #5
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Also note that the hulls are balsa cored below the water line. It doesn't mean you should run for your life, but get a good survey and care for it appropriately.
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Old 20-05-2008, 08:46   #6
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I have a Leopard 38. The layout of their cockpit and aft deck is excellent with really good water and dingy access. The galley works well and has reasonable storage space. The salon is comfortable although a slightly smaller table would make getting around the back side easier.

The forward berths are set high on the bridge deck making them less user friendly than berths set in the hulls. The trade off is that you do get a larger bed and the ventilation is excellent. The port side aft berth is very roomy and more user friendly. The separate shower on the starboard side is large and can do double duty as a wet locker.

The boat is equipped with 40 HP engines so there is lots of power available. She handles well under power.

The boat is not super fast but it does sail nicely. Switching the large 3 blade props to feathering or folding would probably make a big difference.
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Old 20-05-2008, 08:49   #7
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Originally Posted by henryv View Post
Switching the large 3 blade props to feathering or folding would probably make a big difference.
To that end, I have read that the Leopard 38 propellers are too close to the hull forward. Thus, if you could get them back a bit, like with the Flex-O-FOld, you can really improve things.
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Old 20-05-2008, 10:08   #8
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Great input guys, I took some sailing lessons on an FP 43, 4 cabins and 2 smallish baths didn't get it, sailed nicely in 30n winds but I'm a beginner so I wouldn't know what bad is. We're looking for something for 2 with the idea of sailing the Chesapeake for a few years then coastal and Caribbean for the rest of this adventure so anything over 40 ft would probably be overkill. Thanks for the help.

Steve
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Old 20-05-2008, 23:32   #9
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When we went through the same process a few months ago, we asked many of the same questions and looked at almost all the boats you have mentioned.

We ultimately went with the Leopard 38 due to a few points:
1. Galley up, we'd done enough charters to know this configuration was more comfortable and accessible for our needs.
2. Larger engines than some of the other comparable Cats would help in our beat to windward down the thorny path.
3. As someone else mentioned, the Leopard is a lot of boat for a 38. Large cabins and at least one large head and shower made it ideal for the two of us.
4. The price.
5. The large charter fleets in our cruising area meant parts would always be close at hand.
6. Well finished on the interior (headliner, sole, wall paneling, etc...)

Since we have lived on the boat for 4 months, we know all of these points to be true, and have also been pleased by some other things:
1. Excellent ventilation in salon and cabins. We have a new AC and have never used it while at anchor or on a mooring. The cabins are very comfortable with even a 5-10 kt breeze.
2. Very stable in large seas. We've never turned back due to feeling unsafe or as if we were pushing the boat to its limits, only if we, as crew, were too uncomfortable.
3. We heard some stories about bridge deck pounding that made us think twice about Cats, but the Leopard only pounds in very rough, choppy seas. Otherwise, the bridge deck is high enough to roll with the hulls.
4. The top loading fridge/freezer is definitely the way to go on a cruising boat, IMO. The Leopard has more than plenty of space for two people, and is not too deep to retrieve everyday items from.
5. Fantastic engine room access. There is plenty of room in both engine rooms to work on the engines, trannys, and shafts from all angles.
6. Very easy to sail and trim. Only requires minor attention to get 90% of the trim set, then you have to stay on top of the traveller and mainsheet to dial in the last 10%.
7. Very easy to reef main under any conditions.
8. The horizontal steps that shield the fwd facing salon windows are one of the best creature comforts on the boat. The solar gain from these windows would be brutal otherwise, and the steps are a great place to sit on top.

All in all, we absolutely love the boat. It isn't a speed demon, and is sensitive to (over)loading, but it is a wonderfully comfortable "home" and a very predictable performer. Reliability has been good to great considering it was a former charter, but I love getting to know the boat and putting some sweat equity into it.

I'd love to answer more questions if needed, I am working on getting the info together for you on our boat shortly.

Good Luck!
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Old 04-10-2008, 11:44   #10
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I have written frequently and favorably on this site regarding many different aspects of the Leopard 45, with some comparisons to the 47 and others. I have owned our Leopard 45, Jet Stream, for four and a half years. During the last three years we have operated her in the crewed charter yacht trade. We live aboard full time. In my case, I have lived aboard for 18 of the 22 years preceding moving aboard Jet Stream. We have also sailed Jet Stream from the Caribbean to the Chesapeake and back, and down to Grenada and back. My comments are based on our experiences and upon the experiences of our friends who are in the same business.

The Leopard 45 may be destined to become the classic R&C design. This is almost a universal opinion of those in the charter business. It is strongly built, easy to maintain, user friendly and performs well. With its oversized engines (like the 38), it can cruise at 7 knots on one engine, or about 8.2 on both. In our case, we have feathering Max Props, which give us a speed advantage, good sails, and, of course we have lots of experience sailing the 45. That said, in the three years we have been here, we have yet to be outsailed by any other charter/cruising cat design 50 feet or less. Maybe, at some point, we will get nailed by one of the more recent designs, but it hasn't happened yet. Admittedly, many of the bareboaters are not that familiar with sailing a catamaran, but there are other professional crews, too.

As the 38 is also a Simonis design, and was built in the same R&C era as the 45 and 47, I would expect it to have similar advantages (other than the advantages of size). A good and knowledgeable friend of mine has just bought one on the East Coast, and I look forward to his thoughts. I really like the layout, and often envy the 38 for that bathtub/shower/wet locker. It looks to me like either hull could be made into a good owner's "lair".

Why not see if the Moorings/Footloose will let you charter a 38 for 3/4 days, and then a 45/47 for an equal period? That way you would get to see which fits you best. If you do this in the BVI, you could then look at some of the boats available. This is really important. Notwithstanding the brokers' assertion that after "phase-out", all boats are equal, this is just not so. Phase-out is not done consistently from charter company to charter company, nor even within the same company. And, believe me, one of the most important parts of buying a used charter boat is the phase out. You can get a real bargain, or a real nightmare. So treat the phase-out and the differences between different boats very seriously.

In our case, we bought Jet Stream as it came out of the Moorins Crewed Yacht fleet, when it was a bit under five years old. We did our homework and got a great boat. You can do the same...or not. Get a really good survey, of course, as well.

You basically get what you pay for. I often chuckle at posts (often right here) where someone states that it is possible to buy a "such and such" for a certain price as advertised on the web, and that its sister ship is therefore over-priced, when that person has never seen either. We actually do see them. I often look over boats for friends that have asked me to evaluate them. I try to see what can be repaired or replaced easily, and what cannot, and arrive at a true comparison. You usually pay more now, or you pay more later. If you are handy, and enjoy a project, the lowball boat where you pay later may be an excellent option. If you are not handy......

Earlier this year, a friend and I looked at lots of 45/47's, priced at anywhere from $260k to 365k. After weighing all the issues, equipment, age and condition, I thought the one priced at $345k was actually the best buy! And just recently, a very well kept and equipped 45 sold for $325, to someone who had access to all the recent bareboats.

So, do your homework, keep your eyes open, and enjoy your Leopard 38, 45, or 47.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:29   #11
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Re: Leopard 38

Quote:
Originally Posted by dworkman View Post
When we went through the same process a few months ago, we asked many of the same questions and looked at almost all the boats you have mentioned.

We ultimately went with the Leopard 38 due to a few points:
1. Galley up, we'd done enough charters to know this configuration was more comfortable and accessible for our needs.
2. Larger engines than some of the other comparable Cats would help in our beat to windward down the thorny path.
3. As someone else mentioned, the Leopard is a lot of boat for a 38. Large cabins and at least one large head and shower made it ideal for the two of us.
4. The price.
5. The large charter fleets in our cruising area meant parts would always be close at hand.
6. Well finished on the interior (headliner, sole, wall paneling, etc...)

Since we have lived on the boat for 4 months, we know all of these points to be true, and have also been pleased by some other things:
1. Excellent ventilation in salon and cabins. We have a new AC and have never used it while at anchor or on a mooring. The cabins are very comfortable with even a 5-10 kt breeze.
2. Very stable in large seas. We've never turned back due to feeling unsafe or as if we were pushing the boat to its limits, only if we, as crew, were too uncomfortable.
3. We heard some stories about bridge deck pounding that made us think twice about Cats, but the Leopard only pounds in very rough, choppy seas. Otherwise, the bridge deck is high enough to roll with the hulls.
4. The top loading fridge/freezer is definitely the way to go on a cruising boat, IMO. The Leopard has more than plenty of space for two people, and is not too deep to retrieve everyday items from.
5. Fantastic engine room access. There is plenty of room in both engine rooms to work on the engines, trannys, and shafts from all angles.
6. Very easy to sail and trim. Only requires minor attention to get 90% of the trim set, then you have to stay on top of the traveller and mainsheet to dial in the last 10%.
7. Very easy to reef main under any conditions.
8. The horizontal steps that shield the fwd facing salon windows are one of the best creature comforts on the boat. The solar gain from these windows would be brutal otherwise, and the steps are a great place to sit on top.

All in all, we absolutely love the boat. It isn't a speed demon, and is sensitive to (over)loading, but it is a wonderfully comfortable "home" and a very predictable performer. Reliability has been good to great considering it was a former charter, but I love getting to know the boat and putting some sweat equity into it.

I'd love to answer more questions if needed, I am working on getting the info together for you on our boat shortly.

Good Luck!

I appreciate your clear opinion of the Leopard 38. Iīd thank a lot if you can tell me your opinion about this cat for a large cruise with four people with all their stuff. Thanks, Alejandro
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