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Old 25-02-2012, 18:23   #1
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Leopard Sail Cat Owners - Please Share Your Experiences and Opinions

If you own and sail, or have owned and sailed, a LEOPARD catamaran will you please share your experiences and overall opinion?

1. Did you sail a monohull prior? If yes, are you happy with the change?
2. How is life on a LEOPARD Sail Cat?
3. Are you happy with your purchase of a LEOPARD Sail Cat?
4. Which boat do you have and what are your sailing experiences?
5. Have you sailed blue water? If so, how does "she" handle the weather and does "she" point well?
6. What kind of speeds do you experience?

We are sailing a monohull and want to make the switch to a CAT. We've considered other CATS for ocean sailing (Catana, Outremer, Antares), but they are WAY out of the budget.

Thanks All!
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Old 27-02-2012, 11:55   #2
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

OK first up dont own a leopard but i can see where you are heading with this post as its was part of the process i went through in the past year before buying-

ie i sail monos but wanted a cat for cruising so naturally leaned towards the performance oriented (daggerboard) cats in my search. However budget drove me back to look at the charter fleet versions eventually and in this realm the leopards were the stand out for me too ie great accomodations and decent reported performance (they provide some pretty compelling polars etc)

Ive test sailed a 39 and a 46 and basically wouldnt consider the 39 as it is just too much of a compromise in performance to me at least (9tonnes at 38 foot waterline). The 46 was better and was enjoyable to sail downwind but a pain to windward while having fantastic accomodation (albeit pretty dated) at that size. Neither went anywhere near their polars though.

Neither pointed higher than 50 degrees without seriously dropping speed at an alrming rate. the 39 we had to backwind the jib to tack or were caught in irons, the 46 got around ok probably due to more momentum.

If i couldnt stretch to a daggerboard cat i would seriously consider the 46 (we went very close) as especially in your part of the world there are some good value ex charter versions floating around.
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Old 27-02-2012, 13:05   #3
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

Darby & Falco,

I see you haven't gotten much response, so I figured I would chime in. We have a Lagoon 35 catamaran--smaller than what you are looking for, but it suits our cruising grounds and present cruising plans quite comfortably. My only experience with Leopard catamarans is the Leopard 43/Moorings 4300 I chartered in 2009.

Besides some coastal cruising on an Irwin 38 MkII CC, and 'round the buoy racing, my experience offshore on monohulls include Bermuda to NY deliveries on a C&C Redline 41, Swan 41, and NYYC Class Swan 42--all great boats, and all sail well--especially the Swan 42. But once at anchor it is a catamaran--hands down!

I posted the following on the multihulls 4 us forum a couple of years ago. Some of the comments may apply if you are considering a boat out of charter:

15 December 2009
Chartered one in BVI from Moorings last February. Nice boat, plenty of room in forward cabins. Heads are small, larger than in a Fountain Pajot Athena 38, but much smaller than in my boat! But then they do have 4 heads!

That was the main reason we chartered a Leopard 43/Moorings 4300 instead of the Leopard 40/Moorings 4000 (which I really liked at Annapolis in 2006) --PRIVACY! We were the only couple that had bareboat chartered prior, one couple had done a crewed charter, and two couples had never been on a charter before. I figured that the best way to preserve friendships was to make sure everyone had privacy.

Boat handled well under sail, though not a speed demon. Felt comfortable in some rough weather and even the neophyte couple were OK with that. Handling with engines was a dream. Despite the windage of the hull, the power and thrust of the engines was really appreciated. It almost made it tough to go back to my little Yanmar 2gms.

As far as maintenance--I always felt I if I were to purchase a catamaran out of charter, it would probably be a Moorings boat as their maintenance program is supposed to be so good. However, I might have to think twice about that.

There were four boats from our YC under charter that same week and each of us has minor problems--all undoubtedly maintenance items. In our case we lost 1-2 hours up in North Sound (fortunately there is a Moorings satellite service facility up there) when the starboard engine wouldn't start. I probably could have eventually figured it out, but when I am paying that kind of money I figure I should let Moorings do it.

It turned out to be corrosion on the battery terminals--that is such a simple maintenance item that could/should easily be taken care of every couple of months, especially in a salt water environment! It made me consider that if Moorings couldn't take care of a simple maintenance item like that, what about the not so simple ones!

I do have to say the charter was an enjoyable one with no further problems. I would charter a Leopard 43 again if privacy was an issue, but I would rather take 3 or four couples who really get along and jump on that new Sunsail 384/Leopard 38...

Marshall
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Old 28-02-2012, 08:03   #4
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

Thank you Searintiy Sail and Barra! We really appreciate the information. I am surprised we've not heard from any Leopard owners. Certainly we have some on the CF! However, your information was very beneficial.

Darby
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Old 28-02-2012, 08:33   #5
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

I have sailed on the R&C Moorings 43 45 and 47 4300 4500 and 4700 and was not overly impressed with their sailing performance at all. BIG Cats but Very Sticky best describes the 45/47 and the 43 hobby horsed like mad in the SFDC. In that market place i would consider a L380 and probably the L440 even though i have my reservations about that boat.............I have not yet sailed on the new style Moorings 4600 and would love to hear some positive and negative comments from those who own one and people who have sailed one. I have had a quick sail on the 4600 power cat version and liked it a lot it would be a great boat for the BIG LOOP
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Old 28-02-2012, 09:08   #6
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cruising Couple View Post
If you own and sail, or have owned and sailed, a LEOPARD catamaran will you please share your experiences and overall opinion?

1. Did you sail a monohull prior? If yes, are you happy with the change?
2. How is life on a LEOPARD Sail Cat?
3. Are you happy with your purchase of a LEOPARD Sail Cat?
4. Which boat do you have and what are your sailing experiences?
5. Have you sailed blue water? If so, how does "she" handle the weather and does "she" point well?
6. What kind of speeds do you experience?

We are sailing a monohull and want to make the switch to a CAT. We've considered other CATS for ocean sailing (Catana, Outremer, Antares), but they are WAY out of the budget.

Thanks All!
I sometimes captain the Moorings versions of these boats. Given the large numbers built, there has been amble opportunity to refine the design. As a result they are well laid out with things like hand holds and exactly where you need them. Sails well. Points well.

Like most South African cats they do have relatively low bridge deck clearance so will pound in the right conditions (like motoring into heavy seas), but the R&C design has a higher bridge deck clearance forward than aft -- this seems to help a bit.

Re boat speed. You don't mention which model so not enough info to answer, but some general comments applicable to all: Even with multihulls, waterline length plays a significant role in boat speed. Loading has a more significant effect on multihull speed than monohull. Longer water line length in general gives you more load carry capacity and thus, in combination with the length itself, generally gives you more boat speed potential. Cruising cats are not high-permanence boats so don't expect radical speeds out of them -- especially when loaded with cruising gear. In the right conditions and point of sail, you can expect them to be somewhat faster than a monohull of similar waterline length. For example, maybe 30% faster on a broad reach in a fresh breeze. Conversely, pounding to windward in moderate to heavy conditions -- comparably slower. In my experience, upper end of 10-11 knots under sail is generally a realistic expectation for a typical mid-sized cruising cat with fixed keels like the R&C (by contrast something like a Chris White design is just warming up at 10 knots). These are generalized comments broadly applicable to most cruising cats and of course dependent upon specifics of boat, loading, crew ability, etc.

I've have only sailed the R&C's in coastal waters, but do have friends who do offshore deliveries of them on a regular basis and who are owners -- obviously they are OK with long offshore runs in them and they get there just fine. I can ask their opinion of them offshore.
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:41   #7
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

Anyone have any experience on the R/C L40? I know a bunch of them are coming out of charter now and look promising. Someone on CF said they weight LESS than the new L39??! Anyone sailed them?
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:30   #8
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

Not a lot of experience to offer, but I'll share what I do have:

I test sailed the 39 at Annapolis, spent a week aboard a 44 owner's version last fall in Florida and ended up purchasing a 2005 L40 owner's version in December.

We love the space and set up of the owner's version. This was the previous owner's third cat and never chartered, so it has been well cared for and set up for extended cruising along the East coast and the Bahamas. 10 ft AB with a 15 HP Mercury, SSB, HD radar, watermaker, electric winch, remote autopilot.

As far as sailing, I don't have to backwind the jib when tacking like we did on the 44 unless the winds are light. The bilges are always dry, the forward lockers are huge, but the freeboard of 6 ft makes it a challenge when coming into a windward dock.
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Old 02-03-2012, 13:50   #9
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

Cruising Couple:

After many years of owning monohulls and chartering cats for family vacations, my wife and I bought a 2011 Leopard 46. The only open water voyage we've done to date was the delivery trip from Ft. Lauderdale to Galveston straight across the Gulf of Mexico "washing machine" in March/April last year. We have since sailed in Galveston Bay and coastal Texas. We have been full-time live-aboards since end of November, and using our time to get ready for extended voyaging.

Bottom line: we are happy with our selection and haven't seen anything before or since that we would rather have, even at 50% higher cost. I was serious about the new Outremer 49 before settling on the L46 - even made a factory visit and took a private test sail - but several factors guided me elsewhere, like total cost with Euro/US$ exchange rate, difficulty in getting financing through a US bank for a foreign purchase (European loan for a foreigner also seemed virtually impossible), and somewhat unfavorable comparison of the accommodations to other major builders like Catana, Lagoon and Leopard. I must say, though, it sailed very, very well; a whole lot of fun with the tiller option, and pointed up there with high performance monohulls. It'll sail circles around a Lagoon and outrun the Leopard and Catana. Not sure how it would fare against a Chris White Atlantic of similar length.

We have had a short list of warranty claims on the L46, about half of which are for R&C, and the other half for equipment vendors. None of these could be considered major. Professionals that have helped me with the fixes have unanimously commented on the high quality of the boat compared to what they are used to working on. Family and friends, both sailors and non-sailors, say the same. Obviously, we don't have any of the issues that some owners do with Leopards coming out of charter service.

The only disappointment that we've had is with the saloon seat cushions. They are too narrow, too soft and too slippery in our opinion. They work OK for sitting straight up while dining at the table, but we find it very difficult to get comfortable while lounging, reading, chatting, etc. We are still talking with several people about options for fixing this.

If you have specific questions, I'll do what I can to respond.
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Old 02-03-2012, 14:32   #10
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The only disappointment that we've had is with the saloon seat cushions. They are too narrow, too soft and too slippery in our opinion. They work OK for sitting straight up while dining at the table, but we find it very difficult to get comfortable while lounging, reading, chatting, etc. We are still talking with several people about options for fixing this.
I did an 11-odd day passage on a 46 and loved the accommodations too. The performance was surprisingly smooth even in moderate swells. We were lucky to be going mostly downwind with following seas.

What bothered me a little about the saloon cushions was how they inserted into the seating. They have inner trim which via friction secures them down to the base. Underneath is super storage. The trim has to be lined up perfect or the cushions move around or are hard to insert. And the trim is a bit shallow, so if too loose, the cushions can slide off.

The exterior, cockpit seating has a cool flip over backrest whose bushings were swollen and frozen in place.
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Old 02-03-2012, 15:34   #11
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

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Cruising Couple:

Obviously, we don't have any of the issues that some owners do with Leopards coming out of charter service.
To what issues are you referring?
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Old 02-03-2012, 15:44   #12
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

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Cruising Couple:

After many years of owning monohulls and chartering cats for family vacations, my wife and I bought a 2011 Leopard 46. .

Hi CRM.... do you experience much slapping on the L46? Great boat, congratulations !!

Cheers
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Old 02-03-2012, 16:54   #13
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

I bought a leopard 45 in 2002 out of the moorings fleet. I spent 3 months doing upgrades for a life on board with 2 small kids and a baby on the way. We sailed it for 2 years and ended up selling her in Beaufort nc. 8 years later , we bought another leopard , a 47. This time I spent 9 months doing a complete refit....I am anal and everything has to be perfect. It is very hard when you are blessed with this kind of personality.
I really like the leopards , ESP the older ones designed by AS. They are hand built , unlike the French ones.I have been to the factory many times and have always been impressed. Yes , they do slam a bit in a choppy seas but I can live with that. How much time is spent in a rough sea sailing , and how much at anchor ? We are 5 now and the kids are 13 , 11 and 8. We have plenty room , to many heads , converted one into a washing machine. We weigh 30 000 pounds. Yesterday in 13knts we were doing 7.5 knts at 65 degree wind angle
My brother in law with his wife and kids has a 45 , friends bought a 45 too and friends in cape town bought the original 38 and are sailing to the Caribbean as we speak. All own leopard cats .
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Old 02-03-2012, 19:09   #14
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

We just bought a L40 that's in Tortola. My only experience on it so far is the sea trial during survey. It did 7-7.5kn in 12kn, 120 deg apparent wind. We'll have some more experience with her at the end of March.
The layout matches out needs. We're bringing her to the Chesapeake for cruising there.
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Old 02-03-2012, 19:20   #15
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Re: Leopard Sail Cat Owners: Please share your experiences and opinions

Ok I bought a new Leopard 46 and here is what I think.

1) Has an amazing layout. I don't think there is anything nicer layout wise in a cat of this size.

2) The Hull is rock solid and has ample bridge deck clearance. Only once in a while would I ever hear slamming due to a big wave.

3) Gelcoat has issues with cracks. Not huge but I had maybe 10-15 areas all small most fixed but where the cracks are on the nonskid it's pretty hard to fix.

4) Quality of fitting so so. All the faucets needed replacing after two years. Hinges and latches as cheap as they get, but those are easy to change over as well. Interior woodwork is alright.

5) Sails reasonably well. We averaged 170nm a day. Usually sailing around the 8-9 knot range. Not a fast boat as it weighs about 16-18 tons. The quoted weight of 12 lightship is way off. Not that that is a big problem.

6) It would be an ideal boat to live on and would do you good for a long time.

7) I would never buy new again as when I got it many things didn't work and was a used boat anyways coming from SA.

8) Customer service was the worst I have ever experienced in any purchase in my life. Almost Zero support. So Buy used and you will save a lot then anything that needs fixing you can take care of it yourself instead of waiting months to only get no help or 1/10th of the help that you should have gotten.

Mike
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