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Old 21-02-2017, 12:53   #1
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Leopard 45 or 40?

Having come back from the boat show">Miami boat show my wife and I are 99% sure we will be purchasing a new Leopard Catamaran. The biggest disagreement we currently have is which model to purchase. We will be using it to mainly travel the East Coast and bounce around the Caribbean. I can't swear we would never attempt an Atlantic crossing in the distant future, but I don't want to buy based on what may or may not happen. It will only be the two of us with occasional guests coming in for visits of no more than a week.

My wife is pushing for the 40 which is a complete surprise. Her arguments are that the 40 won't sit waiting for low tide should we need to use the ICW. It doesn't have the third head which would be nearly useless to us. According to the show prices it would save about $120k over the 45. It falls into the category of 'buy the smallest boat you can comfortably live on'.

I personally prefer the 45. I think the extra cockpit fridge will make a big difference. Storage in general is much greater and my wife is worried about fitting her clothes into the 40. I don't care to spend a lot of time in the ditch and we will still be able to get into many areas of the ICW. I can't deny the 40 being a more economical choice, but that won't affect our cruising budget at all.

Any input from people on why they didn't go with the smaller model when they bought their catamaran? TIA
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Old 21-02-2017, 13:09   #2
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

My Vote would be for the Leopard 45 with the ICW mast
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Old 21-02-2017, 16:42   #3
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

If it's clothes storage and a cockpit fridge that need to justify 5 extra feet and $120k; I would seriously think about ways to do that on a 40.
An Engel in a cockpit storage locker (or a custom job), vacuum bagged clothes (or naked sailing if you're feeling frisky). Are those really the only two differences that matter between the models for you? Because if so, well, I'm definitely in the smallest boat that's comfortable camp.
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Old 21-02-2017, 17:03   #4
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

I've been wondering the same thing myself. How suitable is a ~40ft cat for occasional ocean crossings? Besides the cost savings, I'd think the 40ft would be easier to handle for a small crew.

BTW, I've been looking at the Leopard 40, FP Lucia, and Lagoon 400S2 in this size category. What made you decide on the Leopard?
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Old 21-02-2017, 19:26   #5
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

A few other things that have pushed her towards the 40 are the backless bench in the Saloon. She thinks it's just in the way and would rather have the L shaped seating area of the 40. She also didn't care for the size of the table on the back sitting area, felt it was too large.

From my perspective I have fears of her crying as she has to give up clothes and shoes and deciding she doesn't want a boat at all. I don't mind the extra bench and the larger table on the back. I'll try to talk her into nude cruising

On the 40' for ocean crossings... I have seen many an Arc rally with 39' cats and if the weather window is good I don't think it's a major problem. Yeah, we would be more comfortable on a larger catamaran, but I wouldn't say a 40' cat can't cross the Atlantic. I personally feel anything under 50' is single handleable, if it's laid out well.

We looked at both Lagoon and FP and had a few problems with each. I have also chartered them all and it has really driven my judgement towards Leopard. Lagoon has such a wide beam it lends towards tons of storage. I just can't get past the cheap interior that shows it's age prematurely on the charter circuit. The FPs were ruled out more because of sailing... I was never thrilled about the cockpit layout on the Helia as I had to walk around the electronics to reach the sail winches. I chartered a Helia 44 last month and we lost the starboard engine. For some reason FP and Lagoon place the props aft of the rudder, Leopard places the prop then rudder. Losing the starboard engine meant we could only turn right unless we had 5+ knots of speed. Made going under drawbridges a really tough experience. There are some other minor reasons, won't ramble about them unless you really want to hear it.

Thanks for the input so far
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Old 22-02-2017, 09:37   #6
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

The advice I received when buying our first cat was "buy as much waterline as you can afford". It was good advice and we ended up with a 50' Custom with 3' draft.

As I understand it the Leopard 45 has 5' draft. Times have changed. I was at the show as well and noted how much Cats have changed in the last 15 years. They are meeting the market, I get that.

That being said offshore a different animal than coastal cruising. Racing south in the Pacific with 25-30 knots on the tail surfing down seas at 15-17 knots not sure I'd want to be on a 40, 45 maybe. Cruising the Caribbean different story.

Good problems to have and whatever you decide enjoy! Great times! :-)
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Old 22-02-2017, 09:57   #7
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

The 40 in the show is the one we will be closing on next week. We ordered it a year ago before the 45 came out. We love the 40 but I admit that we were tempted to "upgrade" to the 45 when we saw it at the Annapolis show last fall. We'll be mostly in the Chesapeake Bay for the next two years then back and forth to the Caribbean/Bahamas - possibly a crossing to the Med in a few years. Who knows after that...

Personally I don't think you can go wrong with either boat but there's definitely a bit more storage capacity on the 45 - and we all like our tools and toys! More importantly, the farther you go, the more spare parts and supplies you need to keep on hand.

Enjoy!
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:23   #8
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

akpbr, thanks for the advice. The 5' draft is quite deep for a cat and I imagine it will be over 5' once we get it loaded down. I do fear for our bridge deck clearance in whatever model we choose. I'm trying not to make a decision too much on offshore capabilities, but I can't ignore that aspect. It would be years before that thought would even enter my mind.

Manson, thanks for letting us sit on your boat for most of last weekend. I was really surprised at how much I like the front seating area despite it not being recessed into the hull. Still will get a great breeze and have plenty of shade for relaxing. We were very tempted to crawl through all the storage on your boat, but knowing it was already sold we refrained from opening most of the lockers. Would you mind giving me an idea of how much storage there is under the saloon sitting area and how much open space there is under the aft seating area outside? Thanks.
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Old 22-02-2017, 10:52   #9
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

Glad you enjoyed it! We probably saw each other. My wife and I were there both Saturday and Sunday. BTW, we chartered a L40 in the Bahamas a year ago so we've actually spent a bit of time with the boat. There's very little storage in the cockpit - a small lazarette along the rear of the settee which contains the life raft with a small amount of extra space, a small lazarette (maybe 4' deep X 3' X 3') to the left when facing the doorway to the salon, a propane locker opposite the previous lazarette and a bit of storage on a shelf above the battery compartment under the forward bench seat in the cockpit settee. In the salon there are three good sized storage bins under the sole and a fair amount of storage under both sides of the settee seating. There's also a bit of storage inside of the nav station seat. Hope that helps. Regards, Manson

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Old 22-02-2017, 12:10   #10
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

We chartered a RC Leopard 43 Power Cat a few weeks ago in the BVI's and we were amazed how little to no storage space that boat had.

No Island beds either. You climb into the beds over these sharp cornered 2 x 4's

If this RC Leopard 43 Power Cat had such bad storage, I can not imagine how bad the storage would be on a RC Leopard 40.
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Old 22-02-2017, 14:17   #11
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

Thanks Manson, that gives me a good idea of what is open under those cushions.

Cotemar, I'm convinced everything shown in that photo would belong to my wife. Along with the forward port bedroom we wouldn't use. I think my storage boils down to the area below the wetline under the pontoon sole. Seriously though, I would be willing to go all the way up to the 48 just to make sure she had enough room to be happy.
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:07   #12
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

I know 45' is way to big for just a single cruising couple, but I agree that having a long waterline length is a huge benefit, more than "brand new" IMO. I'd rather buy a 50' 10 year old boat, maybe like an old Outremer vs a new 40' cat that's going to hobby horse and slam non-stop. If you want to have your wife like the boat, and boating, don't buy one that makes her feel ill when sailing. Maybe she won't, I don't know.
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:27   #13
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Inexorable View Post
Thanks Manson, that gives me a good idea of what is open under those cushions.

Cotemar, I'm convinced everything shown in that photo would belong to my wife. Along with the forward port bedroom we wouldn't use. I think my storage boils down to the area below the wetline under the pontoon sole. Seriously though, I would be willing to go all the way up to the 48 just to make sure she had enough room to be happy.
We had a big surprise about the room/storage in the below the wet line under the pontoon sole. On our FP Mahe 36 we had lots of room.

On these loaded cats with 3 heads and heat / aircon there is no room below the floor boards. Its all pumps and thru hulls, no places to store anything.

As a live-aboard cat you need space for stuff without sinking the water line to much.

A 45 foot cat will only feel big until you put your STUFF on it.

This is why most Circumnavigators start with 45 footers.
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:50   #14
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Palarran View Post
I know 45' is way to big for just a single cruising couple, ...
Say what??? According to my SO, 50' is the minimum she'll consider committing to for extended voyaging and.... I learned in Miami that Yacht Commander is possible, so 52' is in play
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Old 22-02-2017, 16:58   #15
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Re: Leopard 45 or 40?

We have lived on Mulligan pushing 5 years now. She is a 07 leopard 40 owners version with just my wife and I aboard most of the time. There is more than enough storage under the bunks and literally garages out front under the deck hatches. She has been across the Atlantic on her own bottom and we feel confident she s more than capable offshore. I'm not sure how the new boats storage stacks up now that they have added the front porch area. We do keep the boat light and are careful about balance as well. All that said I cannot in all honesty say I wouldn't like to upgrade to a L46 of the same year but truth be told just sailing our boat without motorized assistance can be a handful. I can still manually winch up the main but I'm winded by the time it's done. What is the published weight of the new 40? Our 07 weighs in at 16,990 weighed on the travel lift last winter. Tools and spares were off the boat of course.
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