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Old 14-08-2007, 09:29   #1
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Leopard 46

I am now closing in on my shortlist of cats. We are off to Grand Pavois in La Rochelle in 4 weeks to see all of the French built boats but we are not going out to South Africa until November and would like to hear from anyone who has either test sailed or Chartered a Leopard/Moorings 46.
Many thanks
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Old 11-07-2011, 11:00   #2
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Re: Leopard 46

I test sailed a leopard 46 at last years's Annapolis show. It sailed like a dream. Great visibility, comfortable, over 3 feet of bridgedeck clearance, easy to sail, great layout, a real work of art. It pointed as you'd expect a cat to point, and dampened Chesapeake chop very well. Consider electric main halyard. I want one.
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Old 11-07-2011, 13:06   #3
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Re: Leopard 46

We bought a Leopard 46 earlier this year, and so far we are very happy with it - probably still in our honeymoon period. Just Catamarans, in Ft. Lauderdale, were able to make some custom modifications to the interior for us to better suit our perceived needs and tastes - and did a good job, too, in matching the factory work. So, to some degree, it became a semi-custom boat at a competitive price.

The delivery trip across the Gulf of Mexico included a bit of all weather conditions, including a spell of running downwind with bare poles in front of a Norther. The boat handled it beautifully - stayed on autopilot and we continued to cook hot meals. One-man watches proved to be safe and adequate.

While in France, I would suggest taking a good look at the Outremer 49. I really like it, too.

Factory visits to both Outremer and Robertson & Caine were very helpful. (Were we influenced by a week in Kruger National Park before going to the factory in Cape Town? BTW, November was a great time for viewing the animals.)
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Old 11-07-2011, 14:02   #4
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Re: Leopard 46

My wife and I are about 5 years out from moving up to a larger boat. We both think a catamaran will best meet our needs (and wants). We will almost certainly be purchasing a production cat. We've chartered FP, Lagoon and Leopards. As a charter boat there has been no question that we liked the Leopards the best - by far. However, I'm curious about Leopards as liveaboard cruisers and as island-hopping platforms in both the Caribbean and South Pacific. The two negatives I see most often attached to the Leopard range are 1) lack of adequate bridgedeck clearance and 2) balsa core below the waterline. What is the owners' take on these two issues?
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Old 11-07-2011, 15:35   #5
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We own and love our Lagoon 440 And sail a lot with friends who own leopard 46 cats. Man - nothing wrong with the Leopard 46 - great sailing cats. I saw reference made to Just Catamarans - have got huge amounts of good ideas from them on our cat too!!!
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:29   #6
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Re: Leopard 46

The Leopard 46 was designed by Morrelli & Melvin, whereas earlier Leopards were designed by Simonis. In my view, the M&M design is better - sleaker hull shape and higher bridge deck. The 46 is no race boat, but it is a noticeable step up from the Leopard 42, 43, 45 and 47 that we chartered before buying the L46. I think that Robertson & Caine is also producing a higher quality boat now than they used to, or maybe it's just comparing charter boats to a new-build. I also appreciate the helm station layout that makes it easier to single-hand the boat under normal conditions.

Our future plans also call for splitting our time between the US and the Caribbean, maybe the Med and elsewhere, and this was taken into account in choosing the L46. She is not only a comfortable home (fitted with the usual options) but also a good sea-keeping vessel.

I can't say that I'm crazy about the balsa-cored hull below the waterline, but they have stood up well to charter service in coral-infested waters and keep displacement down. I figure that I can/will be more careful with my own boat than a long list of charterers would ever be. I monitor a few online forums, and fixing soaked balsa-cored hulls in Leopards has not been mentioned as far as I have seen, even when taking a boat out of charter service after 5+ years. To the contrary, I have seen pictures of Leopards that got beat up pretty bad on the rocks by typhoons/ hurricanes, but were still relatively intact.

Have fun in your shopping!
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Old 12-07-2011, 11:44   #7
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Re: Leopard 46

We've chartered the Leopard 46 and loved it. And the owners version looks amazing.

It's on our list of possible Cat's to buy, although my wife thinks its too big and really likes the Leopard 38 (39 now). I think a combination of the two would be great - even in the size of the 39. The one thing we preferred about the 39 is the electric davit it has. The 46 was manual.

As far as sailing, it was great. I like the raised helm and the boat we were on had foul weather cover (what's the proper term for that??) - you could be completely enclosed at the helm and pretty much handle everything. It was also easy enough for me to single hand while my wife was below. In addition the amount of room was great as it typically is on a Cat.
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Old 22-07-2011, 17:31   #8
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Re: Leopard 46

The 46 is an awesome boat... Moorings/Leopard gets their charterers to fill out these detailled comment cards and these Type A charterers that can never relax write long long comments about how to improve the boats. Moorings/Leopard listens and puts the improvements into the boats ... so there are a lot of small nice things about this model...the 46 sails a lot better than the smaller models ... yea, balsa core below waterline isn't ideal but just ahev your surveyor use his moisture meter on the hull...
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Old 22-08-2011, 07:12   #9
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Re: Leopard 46

I have sailed the 46" in the Whitsundays and it is a beautiful boat.
Though I have heard that the quality of workmanship might not be
up to scratch. I am looking for a blue ocean boat and would put
lot of attention on structural integrity.
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Old 22-08-2011, 10:46   #10
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Re: Leopard 46

I'm sure the Leopard cats are great sailing boats but there's one in my marina that would recomend replacing the foward facing windows with solid windows without the little hatches. The Leopard 43 had been hit by a roague wave and the foward windows failed and over 1000 gal of water entered there boat on a cruse from Hawaii to Portland OR they had to be rescued and brought up the Columbia river.
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Old 22-08-2011, 12:06   #11
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Re: Leopard 46

I have chartered Leopards and FP cats in the past and sailed on a Lagoon 380. I don't pretend to have extensive personal knowledge concerning the workmanship or quality of construction on R&C catamarans; however, I have generally heard only positive reviews by owners. I have also spoken at length with boatyard workers at Wickham's Cay and Nanny Cay and again heard mostly positive reviews for Leopards and far fewer and less positive reviews for Lagoons and FPs. My guess is that workers in those yards have worked on about as many catamarans as workers in any boatyard anywhere. I have also discussed the workmanship and quality of construction issues with three different delivery captains and each pointed to the Leopards as well-builted and a clear notch above most other production cats, specifically Lagoons. Based on my limited experience, the conversations mentioned above, various magazine articles and internet research, I've come to believe that Leopards are well-built, structurally-sound, bluewater boats.
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Old 22-08-2011, 12:19   #12
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Re: Leopard 46

Don't get me wrong I'm not putting down the Lepard AT ALL but the owner of this one is still cussing the broken windows and his broken leg. Most of the Lepoard's are not sailing in the North Pacific it's not like BVI or Florida.
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Old 22-08-2011, 12:38   #13
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Re: Leopard 46

Agreed that the North Pacific is very different than the BVI and Florida. My basic premise was that of the production catamarans Leopards may very well be the best built. Lagoon is the biggest volume builder with FP near the top and R&C probably a bit lower. Certainly they are three of the largest builders and therfore true production boats. I am sure among all boat models there are specific instances of structural failure at sea. However, if one is looking at a production catamaran, the Leopards are probably as well-built as any of the truely large-volume production cats. John Neal does a pretty good job discussing bluewater capable boats at Mahina Expedition - Selecting A Boat for Offshore Cruising, and he lists his "bluewater" choices, including catamarans.
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Old 23-08-2011, 22:29   #14
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Re: Leopard 46

I do not have personal experience on a Leopard 46 but have chartered a 47 and was very impressed with its performance during our charter where we spent a lot of time sailing it in winds of 30 knots & over, So I would not discount a 47 from your "list of possibles".

Here is a video which may be of interest to you if you have not already seen it.



All the best in your boat hunting,
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Old 24-08-2011, 10:10   #15
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Re: Leopard 46

Great vidio of the Leopard crusing by a what looks like a Seawind 1000 on it's 3rd reef. I personally would not want to be draging a dingy in that kind of seas that could turn over and become a sea anchor, weird. I'd like to see a video of the same Leopard 46 crusing around Vancouver Island CA. or up the west coast near Humbolt CA. in up to 10 ft seas at 8 to 12 seconds in 30 kt breezes , like is normal on the west coast crusing. Sorry untill they sail the entire west coast from San Diego to Alaskia without going into harbors for a blow, I'm not sold. Or maybe around the Horn of Africa to avoid the pirate waters in the mid east. I'm sure these are very comfortable cat's in protected waters of BVI.
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