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Old 27-09-2011, 08:24   #1
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Leopard 44

I realize that the Leopard 44 is such a new design that few will have any real world experience with the boat, so maybe my questions are going to be a bit premature. But here goes anyway:




1) Any assessments of the forward cockpit from the perspective of: a) its influence on sailing dynamics particularly upwind and b) how will that cockpit handle heavy seas (shipping large amounts of sea water) and how might that influence heavy weather handling?
  • I would note that other cats have forward cockpit/sitting areas like the Lagoon 440. Of course the Lagoon's forward cockpit is not covered and I doubt presents much of a windage issue, but it is very deep and probably has the potential to ship a substantial amount of water under extreme conditions.
  • Undoubtedly the forward cockpits are "designed" to shed water very quickly, but will it work when it counts?
2) The large vertical windows and door in the forward cockpit might be a potential weak point in heavy seas, but many cats have had large vertical surfaces, including sliding doors for many years with some failures, but apparently very few.
  • The fact that the vertical surfaces on the Leopard are forward facing is my concern; although, the bimini extending over the cockpit may be a benefit in providing some protection during heavy weather sailing.
Any thoughts or experience on these issues would be appreciated. I'm already well versed in balsa coring below the waterline and bridgedeck clearance debates concerning Leopards.
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Old 27-09-2011, 09:47   #2
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Re: Leopard 44

Jim Woodall,

We were on the Leopard 44 at the Newport boat show. Very nice Cat and I did like the layout, but have the same questions you are having. Owner feedback is the best way to get these answers, but sadly no one currently owns one. If you are interested in purchasing one, you may want to wait until one is in charted in the BVI and take it out for a week.

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Old 03-10-2011, 03:22   #3
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Re: Leopard 44

This is my first post, hope i don't break any rules.

Let me fist say I have never stepped aboard a Leopard 44, so I haven't had a chance to check out the structural integrity around the forward facing cockpit/doors/glass. I should also add that my next boat might be a Leopard, I think the 46 is magneficent, but I just don't get the 44. I simply don't understand how a catamaran manufacturer of Leopard's reputation, and in particular with boats being delivered across the world 'on their bottoms' would have approved this design. If it came with a caveat 'never to be used off-shore or crossing a bar', then its fine, however speaking from my experience sailing up the eastcoast of Australia where most many anchorages can only be accessed by crossing a bar, then I would have concerns.

In one very memorable instance, heading out to the Yamba bar in our Seawind 1160 on a windless and calm day, and after carefully waiting for the tide to be just right and watching as a few fishing boats exited before us, we powered on at about 4 knots but were suddenly and unnexpectedly confronted by a verticle wall of water, probably only 6-7ft high, but with a trough before it. The bows dug in , the whole front section scooped up this water and it careered over the top of the boat, drenching the 3 of us hanging out the back. Without knowing just how strong the forward doors on the Leopard 44 are, I fear in this boat the situation would have been different, possibly catastrophic.

I can only guess that the design brief for the Leopard 44 was chartering in sheltered waters, which I'm sure it is well suited for.The problem is chartered boats eventually get sold, and new owners are going to cross oceans and cross bars.

Jim, I suppose for your situation you need to think about where you will be sailing her. If its sheltered, and you see the benefits of a forward facing cockpit outweighing other factors, then it might be the right boat. One other factor you might want to consider is that all cats, when on a mooring, swing facing the direction of the wind. This makes the rear cockpit the nicest place to be in any wind, and one very major reason why cats just kill monohulls, i.e. to get out of the wind in a monohull you have to go down below (where you get seasick). With cats, you just go out the back where its always sheltered. So just how often will you use the forward facing cockpit?
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Old 03-10-2011, 06:03   #4
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Re: Leopard 44

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, jonno.

See also ➥ http://www.cruisersforum.com/forums/...4-a-55269.html
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Old 10-10-2011, 18:08   #5
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Re: Leopard 44

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonno View Post
One other factor you might want to consider is that all cats, when on a mooring, swing facing the direction of the wind. This makes the rear cockpit the nicest place to be in any wind, and one very major reason why cats just kill monohulls, i.e. to get out of the wind in a monohull you have to go down below (where you get seasick). With cats, you just go out the back where its always sheltered. So just how often will you use the forward facing cockpit?
While that is true, depending on the direction of the wind you'll have the sun beating down on you. The forward cockpit would allow you to remain outside in some shade.

As far as the windows and door handling waves, I would think this was something they've taken into account in designing them. I'm sure they have information on what kind of force they can withstand, so I wouldn't make any assumptions (either way) and actually get the hard facts.
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Old 10-10-2011, 18:56   #6
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Re: Leopard 44

We just returned from seeing this boat both Saturday and Sunday at the US Sailboat Show in Anapolis. It is a beautiful boat and layout. Of the boats we saw, we liked it the best of the catamarans.

I am including a few photos for reference. I believe there is a large sump/drain area in the base of the porch area.

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I too question the forward porch and the possibility of that catching a large wave and shipping water. The door opens outward and is better sealed against the wind/wave. It is sturdy and strong as are the windows, although I am sure a LARGE wave would do some serious damage if it hit hard/straight on.

Like maytrix, I believe that the leopard designers have taken this probability into account. Leopard 44

I would really like to hear from someone who has sailed her.
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Old 10-10-2011, 20:18   #7
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Re: Leopard 44

The front door had some really strong looking dogs on it that lead me to believe the door won't be the weak point in the system.

The large front window could be problematic, but the large sump right in front of them may actually mitigate some of that as compared to say the vertical front windows on a lagoon.

We were on this boat Saturday and Sunday in Annapolis as well and it was by far our favorite. We can't wait to get to sail her on a charter (Sunsail had one on display as well as Leopard).
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Old 10-10-2011, 22:36   #8
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Re: Leopard 44

Please consider this as a very humble opinion because 95% of my passage experience is aboard container ships. As striking as the 44 is (I just came from their web site), for entertaining in protected waters, this is the cat's meow. On those hot almost windless days during motor sailing, that front deck, with its easy access would be a real winner for clients that you might be wooing, but for regular off shore passages, I would not feel comfortable making them with that frontal exposure. I have seen too many container's seawards side crushed like a beer can from a breaking wave. That design just doesn't offer the protection in that sea state. But for all other uses short of multiple open ocean passages, boy that would be a great boat.
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Old 10-10-2011, 23:14   #9
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Re: Leopard 44

If you are gunna have a forward cockpit then it should be for handling sails, not handling drinks. The windage on that will be insane.
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Old 11-10-2011, 01:00   #10
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Re: Leopard 44

How the hell do you get this in efficient 44 ft hulls?



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Old 11-10-2011, 02:03   #11
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Re: Leopard 44

I should point out that I have not sailed the 44, my comments on windage are based on basic physics alone.
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Old 26-10-2011, 17:01   #12
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Re: Leopard 44

The numbers from the builder are: 10 tws, 8 BS, 45 awa. This equates to 79 twa and up wind vmg of 1 knot. It would seem your windage comment is accurate. The boat is "essentially" unable to sail up wind.

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If you are gunna have a forward cockpit then it should be for handling sails, not handling drinks. The windage on that will be insane.
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Old 27-10-2011, 03:21   #13
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Re: Leopard 44

Thanks Joli, though this boat looks as if would be challenged going up upwind, especially in a breeze, I can't imagine anyone would produce a boat that can only sail downwind. Could you explain what you mean by these numbers you've quoted? Looking at the blog entries a lot of people will buy this boat ! Will the sales people be telling them ' er... by the way.... she'll only be good with the wind behind...'
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Old 27-10-2011, 04:37   #14
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Re: Leopard 44

I can certainly imagine Leopard producing a boat that can only sail downwind. And the sales people will say whatever they need to say to sell the boat.

The waters of the BVI are full of people motoring on a broad reach to a perfect 15 knot breeze without a single sail up. Those people will buy a pretty cat, and not care a lick about sailing upwind.

A boat that I don't trust in heavy seas and that can't sail with the wind forward of the beam? Not for me, no matter how pleasant the aft deck may be.
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Old 27-10-2011, 04:52   #15
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Re: Leopard 44

Sure, the numbers are from the article sighted earlier in the thread. M&M quoted 10 knots of wind, 8 knots of boat speed and a wind angle of 45 degrees. They leave out wether the wind angle is true or apparent so you are forced to determine on your own if the wind angle is true or apparent.

Doing the math of 10 true ws, 8 boat speed and 45 (true?) yields an app wind angle of 27 degree. That number is between a tp 52 (23 awa) and a J35 (33 awa). So, 27 degrees AWA is not likely so you are then forced to conclude the 45 degree wind is apparent. If the AWA is 45 degree and true wind is 10 and boat speed is 8 the math gives you a twa of 79 degrees and a vmg of ~1 knot.

Best thing to do is go to the Caribbean, charter one and bash your way upwind in a fresh breeze through the Caribbean 2 step. That test will tell you if it can go upwind.

I'm sure the boat will be comfortable and they will sell a boat load of them. If windward ability is not a concern it doesn't matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonno View Post
Thanks Joli, though this boat looks as if would be challenged going up upwind, especially in a breeze, I can't imagine anyone would produce a boat that can only sail downwind. Could you explain what you mean by these numbers you've quoted? Looking at the blog entries a lot of people will buy this boat ! Will the sales people be telling them ' er... by the way.... she'll only be good with the wind behind...'
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