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Old 10-03-2012, 13:56   #1
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Question Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

I'm considering a Leopard 40 owners version out of charter. I'd love any direct experiences or thoughts on the 40 and its qualities. In order to avoid some of the common responses, I understand it's about what we're going to use the boat for, and I understand its about personal preference, and I understand that some people don't like boats out of charter. Still, I'd like to know more about the Leopard 40 if anyone has any experiences with them. We expect to do some shorter charters at different places in the world, then own the boat for a possible one year aboard. We're not big blue water sailors, so mostly island hopping and coastal cruising. Forgive me if this has been asked already. I didn't find any good threads on it. Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2012, 21:24   #2
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

Hmm. No replies. I hope the question wasn't too aggressive. That or no one seems to have anything to say about the Leopard 40's. Strange...
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Old 13-03-2012, 15:19   #3
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

My wife and I have looked closely at the L40 and I've spoken to a number of owners also. I have only a few hours on-water experience with the L40. My basic take on the L40: 1) pretty good sailing boat, 2) relatively easy to singlehand or for a cruising couple to handle, 3)slightly above-average build for a production boat, 4) below average bridgedeck height, but generally not a problem, 5) owner's version is very comfortable for 2 on an extended cruise, 6) can handle bluewater, but more of an extended coastal/island hopping cruiser, 7) good boarding access, 8) good tankage 9) simple, straight-forward systems, 10) easier to work on than most other cats.

All the owners I've talked to like/love the boat. Robert Watson has a pretty good blog about his adventure on his L40 "Changing Spots". The negatives I've heard from cruisers living and sailing extensively on L40s are: 1) somewhat limited storage, 2) rounded seating in saloon and cockpit make it tough to find a cozy spot during rough weather, 3) earlier models have more limited visibility at the helm, 4) tight quarters at helm station, including sail controls, 5) hulls are well under 40 feet, thus more hobby horsing in certain conditions and 6) cockpit deck occassionally awash in following seas.

If you will be cruising the Caribbean, the L40 seems to be a solid choice. If contemplating the South Pacific, the boat is capable, but less than ideal.

There are a couple of other interesting observations about the boats that I've heard. The L40's, especially the earlier models were very "hulls light" because the hard bimini had to be built more stoutly than originally designed and the added weight aft made the hulls ride high on their waterlines. It's better to be "hulls light" than "hulls heavy" so probably no big deal. Some boats coming out of charter, particularly from the Moorings, have had stress cracks. I've gotten the typical two versions of that story:1) just cosmetic and you just need to get a good survey and 2) stress cracks are almost never "just cosmetic". Owners, including charter owners I've talked to have not heard of the issue and think it is not an issue. I've read about it on message boards only.

The L40 is very high on my list. I know my wife and I will most likely go with a Lagoon or Leopard. The L40 & L44 are possibilities as well as the Lagoon 380, 400 and 421. If I were staying coastal and/or Caribbean I think the L40 (380 or 400 if Lagoon) would be my choice. If I were contemplating numerous bluewater passages beyond 4 - 5 days I might try to move up a bit. Still, I think L40's can (and have) safely handled the Caribbean 1500 and the coconut milk run.

Also, there was a very good review in Cruising Helmsman Magazine a couple years back. The title was something like, "The Proof of the Pudding is in the Tasting". Probably one of the best boat reviews I've ever read.
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Old 14-03-2012, 09:18   #4
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

Thanks for the insight Jim. One of the bigger issues for me right now is that boats coming out of charter are not fully loaded for cruising or live-aboard. I'm considering living aboard for at least some time, and it would mean the usual host of conveniences (water maker, generator, dingy and motor, upgraded electronics, etc.). Naturally those add up, so to make it worthwhile, the sale price would have to be low enough to figure in for some up-front cost.
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Old 14-03-2012, 10:01   #5
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

YachtWorld shows the Leopard 40, 5 or 6 years out of charter selling around $250K.

Owners versions which have not been chartered will sell in the $350 range.
An owners version, privately owned would be the way to go, because it will have low hours, much better maintanance and have the Air, watermaker,dingy and outboard and generator already installed with better upgrades.

http://www.yachtworld.com/boats/2007.../United-States
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Old 15-03-2012, 10:26   #6
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

I've seen this boat and the price is a bit high for me. I am considering one out of charter as well.
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Old 15-03-2012, 18:07   #7
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cotemar View Post
YachtWorld shows the Leopard 40, 5 or 6 years out of charter selling around $250K.
Owners versions which have not been chartered will sell in the $350 range.
An owners version, privately owned would be the way to go, because it will have low hours, much better maintanance and have the Air, watermaker,dingy and outboard and generator already installed with better upgrades.
If Air, watermaker and generator are on your wish list then I'm inclined to agree...but 100K difference is a lot of cash. Leopards 40's are pretty tough boats. Personally, despite the wear and tear, I would prefer the ex-charter unit with added solar, wind, new motors and 50K in my pocket.

Dave L38 #38
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Old 15-03-2012, 18:22   #8
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

Don't personally know the boat, but I would agree that if the charter boat is in decent shape you can add the gear you want for a lot less than $100,000 (if that is truly the difference in price) and get exactly the equipment you want, all brand new and under warranty.
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Old 15-03-2012, 18:25   #9
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave View Post
If Air, watermaker and generator are on your wish list then I'm inclined to agree...but 100K difference is a lot of cash. Leopards 40's are pretty tough boats. Personally, despite the wear and tear, I would prefer the ex-charter unit with added solar, wind, new motors and 50K in my pocket.

Dave L38 #38
This is a buyers market, most of the posted numbers are just wishful thinking. What they sell for is a big difference in todays market.
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Old 16-03-2012, 08:49   #10
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

It's much like the housing market. People place ads with wishful thinking and often sit on their properties for years while no one bites. There's a place in my neighborhood that's been on the market for more than six months because the owner simply won't budge on a price that everyone knows is too high. I would like to have some of those features installed, and that would save me some headache if the price was right. Generally, I just have to account for it in the price of the ex-charter boat. Especially because financed money is different than cash out of pocket, meaning the day I go to buy all those things, it's a direct cash payment. On the other hand, given that technology is constantly being reinvented at breakneck speed, it may be wiser to wait and put in the new integrated autopilot/chart plotter/ bowthruster/ ipad/tea kettle/ back massager with the live updating weather overlay virtual supermodel feature.
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Old 16-03-2012, 09:04   #11
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

Camp Director G,

I am with you. Sitting here right now playing with my New iPad that just came out today. New stuff is always fun
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Old 16-03-2012, 09:25   #12
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

I own a boat in charter with the Moorings and recently traded time for Leopard 40 in the Abacos for 10 days, so here's my thoughts based on that. Realize of course, 10-days of island hopping, does not offer the same perspective as long-term ownership cruising.

We had 6 on board and I was surprised that for 10 days it did not seem more crowded.

Even the shared side head is nice and adequate, the owner's side head is luxurious. Typical privacy of having an owner's side of the boat.

I really like the galley up - more social, easier than constantly dealing with steps and convenient to passing food out to the cockpit, etc.

Overall, I liked the inside and outside arrangement - tables were appropriately sized. I really like lifting the dinghy with davits and still being able to swim off the hulls.

Water tank system is the be simplest and best I've seen on any boat I've been on. Open up the front locker to fill them or see how full they are.

Cockpit area locker space was fairly limited.

A lot of wiring and plumbing was very buried behind liners and could make trouble shooting and repairs difficult.

Having to be in a particular seat in the cockpit and looking through a fairly small slot to have visibility took some getting used to for me.

With twin diesels, I found maneuvering easier than with smaller monos.

I personally think the mainsail could be quite a bit for a couple to handle in anything beyond mild conditions. We found ourselves using just the headsail quite a bit.

The headsail and anchoring were very easy and straightforward.

For the shallow water of the Abacos, I certainly appreciated that is had less draft than most monos, but also felt that for a cat, it still took a fair bit of water.

I've had my monohull in the Moorings and Footloose for over 5 years now. My experience is yes, their boats get used hard, but they are also maintained to charter ready standards. I've seen many boats for sale that have deficiencies far worse than I've ever seen on a charter boat. I certainly wouldn't hesitate to look at ex-charter boats.
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Old 16-03-2012, 10:26   #13
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

It's interesting that you mentioned the small slot for visibility. It seemed to be one of the things I thought would be a problem for me. Even with the sliding door open, does it feel odd to look through a small area? I think I would enjoy sailing a lot more if it could be a bit more open. Can you tell me more about your experience in that regard?
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Old 17-03-2012, 08:03   #14
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Re: Leopard 40 Thoughts and Experiences

Camp Director: I like good visibility forward. When I charter monohulls I often drop the dodger, because I just don't like looking through plastic.

The approx. 8 inch gap between the hard top and the cabin roof top, had a soft plastic "dodger" I took it down immediately, feeling visibility was very restricted. The view through that gap was pretty good, but required one to be sitting just so in the captain's chair. From nowhere else in the cockpit could one see over the roof top.

It was a change from most monohulls I've been on where I could have reasonable forward vision from anywhere in the cockpit. Asking someone else to keep an eye out for a a minute meant physically changing positions, though at times, I kept watch by standing at the solon doors and looking through the solon windows instead of from the helm itself. That offered reasonable visibility, but a few blind spots and more easy to get distracted. Similarly, sitting at the steering station, also physically removed one a bit from other people in the cockpit more so than with most monos.

Overall, however, I really liked the boat. I don't think I could really live on my monohull long term. I think I could easily on the leopard 38, 39 or 40. If I could justify the cost difference on my budget, I'd make the trade in a second.
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Old 17-03-2012, 08:15   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nautical62
Camp Director: I like good visibility forward. When I charter monohulls I often drop the dodger, because I just don't like looking through plastic.

The approx. 8 inch gap between the hard top and the cabin roof top, had a soft plastic "dodger" I took it down immediately, feeling visibility was very restricted. The view through that gap was pretty good, but required one to be sitting just so in the captain's chair. From nowhere else in the cockpit could one see over the roof top.

It was a change from most monohulls I've been on where I could have reasonable forward vision from anywhere in the cockpit. Asking someone else to keep an eye out for a a minute meant physically changing positions, though at times, I kept watch by standing at the solon doors and looking through the solon windows instead of from the helm itself. That offered reasonable visibility, but a few blind spots and more easy to get distracted. Similarly, sitting at the steering station, also physically removed one a bit from other people in the cockpit more so than with most monos.

Overall, however, I really liked the boat. I don't think I could really live on my monohull long term. I think I could easily on the leopard 38, 39 or 40. If I could justify the cost difference on my budget, I'd make the trade in a second.
This would have been a good point on the cons of multihulls thread that got closed.
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