As I am about to purchase
a Leopard 44 I would like to share my views on why I have changed my preference from the 46.
1, The front cockpit is great and nobody to date has mentioned why. Would you rather sit in a hot sun soaked lagoon
, FP, Fusion 40 cabin
with minimal ventilation or open the front door and hatches in the L 44 and let the breeze flow through with never any sun on the front windows?
2, Most owners fit shade cloth to the side windows, the vessel comes standard with rear cockpit shade cloth and side shades.
3, Having sailed most Leopard models for many miles, including Sydney
to Adelaide last spring, rest assured she is a great boat. Six months previous I sailed a Fusion 40 Sydney
to Esperance, around the bottom, fast, too light, scary and brilliant boat for a midget, not a 6ft 3 inch Aussie and I vowed never to sail another. Give me the extra
7 tonnes any day and I will happily sail a tad slower.
4, The front cockpit in a sea. The first time I saw the L 44 on the web, I had all the same questions as above. 2000 L 44 miles later, the fears are all a load of rubbish other than the very good point made about the Yamba bar, We have had many similar experiences in a mono on these bars. We punched the L 44 into some big seas in the southern ocean to try to fill the front cockpit, even have a video of the event. We managed to take a decent wave over the starboard bow, while sailing into it , 3 reefs
in the main and 2 in the jib
. Most of the water turned to froth/spray before it even landed on the floor, the amount that did enter was gone in seconds.
There is a very simple solution. Leopard do provide an option or a material cockpit cover, hooks up at the top of the front windows and door, anchors down around the deck
at the front edge of the cockpit. I am happy with this but would go one step further and have a cover made the anchor at the front edge of the roof/overhang and anchor the leading edge to the trampoline rail, better angle to divert the water and would keep the entire front of the vessel protected and private in a marina.
5, The Leopards are now delivered from Cape Town
via the roaring 40,s, even the last 39 came this way, rather than via Panama
. Do I need to say more????
6, Why did I change from my beloved L 46 plan? I read a forum here re vision from inside the cabin
. I sailed a 46 Brisbane
and was never comfortable with being on watch from in the saloon and always posted the OOW up at the steering
station. If one had a remote
for the pilot, by far the safer, warm and dry place to watch keep is in the saloon on the 44, peering out the all round full height windows.
7. Finally, if you are over 6 ft tall there is only one 44 ft (42ft 7 inch) cat to buy.
I hope my advice
is of assistance.