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Old 16-09-2020, 06:48   #1
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Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

Hello All,
As catamaran owners, we value this group's input...we just sold our Gemini after 10 happy years because we want to move up slightly in size and ocean-ability. We are going back and forth between the Leopard 39 or Seawind 1160. Any opinions appreciated...
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Old 16-09-2020, 07:24   #2
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

Choose one. Do it for silly reasons (You like the paint job). Put money into it. You'll immediately start seeing the advantages of your choice, and the negatives of the boat you rejected, because you've got to reduce the cognitive dissonance between 1. This was a big decision and 2. I made it for trivial reasons. It's like buying a car - all of a sudden you only watch ads for that make, and you look for them (affirmation - other people like it, too) on the road.

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Old 16-09-2020, 08:26   #3
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

My wife and I cruised on a Lagoon 400 for a few years, not a direct comparison of the Leapord 39, but similar design briefs. We are some of the few that went back to a monohull based on the experience. While it was great at anchor sailing abilities had a bit to be desired and I loathed the helm station (similar to the L39, it was uncomfortable and exposed which wasn't fun in heavy seas).

While I may consider a catamaran again in my family's future I would look for models that have design briefs that are not optimized for chartering. If money was no object I would love to have an HH, Outremer or Chis White; the only somewhat affordable models that I lust over after becoming more experienced are Seawinds. Seawinds are designed for sailors and owners, better performance, livability and safety; though maybe not the load capacity for toys at anchor.

These are two very different boats and one will fit better based on how you plan on using it.
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Old 16-09-2020, 11:58   #4
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

I am a big fan of the Seawind 1160. In my opinion there is excellent use of space. The build quality is also high. Visibility is better on this boat.Choose this boat if sailing performance is high on your priorities.

The Leopard 39 is a good boat. In buying one part of my criteria would be the mindset that most travel to windward would be by engine, which is certainly ok. If you find a well appointed one at s good price I believe these boats can make good small cruisers. One thing that I personally dont like about these is that anyone sitting in the cockpit lounge area has no forward visibility and cannot help as a lookout.
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Old 16-09-2020, 12:17   #5
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

The two boats are very different. I would pick the Seawind in a New York minute; but I have a Seawind 1000 with sugar scoops added which basically makes it a 1000x. I like how simple the boat is. Mine has a composting head and with the outboards this means no through hulls. Also means no shaft, struts, prop, or zincs. The 9.9 Yamahas are lifted up with a simple block and tackle; not to mention while they have electric start they can also be pull started. Replacement cost for both is around six grand, probably close to $US30,000 for the Yanmars on the Leopard; not to mention much more to maintain the diesels.

The visibility from the dual steering stations on a Seawind is much better than on the Leopard. Performance is better on the Seawind. On the other hand the Leopard is like more comfortable with added creature comforts. The Yanmars give a much greater motoring distance; likely at a lower fuel cost.

Like I posted for me the Seawind is a no brainer; but I do get how the Leopard has some different but real advantages.
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Old 16-09-2020, 14:05   #6
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

I have a 2009 leopard 40 and for me this and the leopard 46 are the bulldogs of the sea. They are tough sail in heavy nasty weather well and can take a beating while being relatively comfortable. For me cruising is about loading a boat. If you canít carry everything that makes your life happy why bother doing it ?
I have 800l of water in 2 tanks and still find that a bit light. Life is not about running water makers every day to keep a 300l tank full to survive. Or even worse to not wash for days because we want to conserve water. Itís all about how you want to live. I like a warm shower in the morning and evening and a rinse in fresh water every time I swim in the sea. I want to have 2 fridges running and a deep freeze as well. All these things are weight. Light boats are for racing not serious cruising
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Old 16-09-2020, 14:20   #7
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

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Originally Posted by MikeFergie View Post
I have a 2009 leopard 40 and for me this and the leopard 46 are the bulldogs of the sea. They are tough sail in heavy nasty weather well and can take a beating while being relatively comfortable. For me cruising is about loading a boat. If you canít carry everything that makes your life happy why bother doing it ?
I have 800l of water in 2 tanks and still find that a bit light. Life is not about running water makers every day to keep a 300l tank full to survive. Or even worse to not wash for days because we want to conserve water. Itís all about how you want to live. I like a warm shower in the morning and evening and a rinse in fresh water every time I swim in the sea. I want to have 2 fridges running and a deep freeze as well. All these things are weight. Light boats are for racing not serious cruising


Light boats are for sailing not motoring. You state how well the Leopard does in strong winds, but any boat will usually sail well in strong winds, I am more interested in how a boat performs in light winds as that shows true performance.
There are many different types of cruisers out there and I appreciate your definition of what constitutes a good cruising boat, but it doesnít match my definition.
That said thereís no doubt I would pick the Seawind. Having owned 2 Seawindís I appreciate their design, build and the attitude of the company that produces them.
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Old 16-09-2020, 14:58   #8
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

The 1160 carries 700L of water, so not much less than the Leopard. Installing a watermaker on either just makes sense if the intention is to live aboard and cruise part or full time.
The 1160 gives you the option of inboard diesels or outboards. Two very different boats.
Make a list of your top 10 priorities and designate them to either boat.
Decision made most likely.
Good luck and enjoy which ever boat you decide to get.
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Old 16-09-2020, 16:05   #9
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

The Leopard 39 is actually 37.5í. Is this because the South Africans canít read a tape measure or is the advertising that deceptive?
I can honestly see rounding it up and calling it a 38íer, but a 39?
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Old 16-09-2020, 16:57   #10
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

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The Leopard 39 is actually 37.5’. Is this because the South Africans can’t read a tape measure or is the advertising that deceptive?
I can honestly see rounding it up and calling it a 38’er, but a 39?
Never been on one but pix I saw show a short kinda bow sprit with no sails attached to it. Maybe it could be used for a downwind sail somehow. Can't remember the actual name but it could be the thing in the middle of the forward crossmember that goes up, down, and out with cables attached. Something to do with a stronger boat. It only extended out a couple of feet at most.
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Old 16-09-2020, 17:03   #11
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

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Never been on one but pix I saw show a short kinda bow sprit with no sails attached to it. Maybe it could be used for a downwind sail somehow. Can't remember the actual name but it could be the thing in the middle of the forward crossmember that goes up, down, and out with cables attached. Something to do with a stronger boat. It only extended out a couple of feet at most.


Damn it....I sold you a 33í Seawind 1000 with a 3í stern extension and advertised it as 36í long. Pretty sure the bowsprit is 5í so I should have advertised it as a Seawind 41í?
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Old 16-09-2020, 17:29   #12
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

You dont say what your intended use is for the boat.

Ive chartered both and buddy boated boated with both. They are very different beasts so not sure why you cant choose - its just down to your priorities.

Seawind 1160

- excellent sailing in heavy and light air, good speeds, ok motion, impressive tacking
- way more fun to sail with the dual helms, well designed slimmish hulls self tacking jib etc
- excellent outdoors livability with one open living space
- compromised berths, poor headroom, engines underneath
- not so great for long term cruising

Leopard 39

- excellent livability for its size
- galley up
- better load carrying from fat hulls
- sails like a pig, gets caught in irons tacking, like driving a bus compared to the seawind
- terrible in light airs you will motor alot, solid enough in heavy air and seas
- great berths for size, separate engine bay accessed outside
- better livability in colder climes.

For long term cruising i would consider both but would lean to the seawind becuse i like to sail. They both hobby horse a fair bit but thats what you get at these lengths. If i just wanted a caravan for the sea then the leopard would be more comfortable on the hook long term imho

figure out your priority and you have your answer...
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Old Yesterday, 05:31   #13
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

Thanks to everyone who took the time to share their thoughts. You confirmed what we know and gave value-added thoughts & info. Cats at this level are a big investment, so for us it is helpful in deciding.
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Old Yesterday, 16:50   #14
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

Like MikeFergie, we have a 2009 leopard 40 owners version. We were members of a sailing club for some years and used a Gemini for a few years. The boat I learned to sail on was a hunter 36 and chartered lagoon 50 and Prout 50

When my wife and I were looking to buy 4 years ago it took about a year to settle on the leopard 40 - we actually had a down payment on a lagoon 400 first

Why did we end up with our leopard 40?

It’s an owners version. Never chartered
It has all sorts of upgrades like solar, wind, Watermaker, etc

A family owned it before us and they lived aboard for some years so we knew we could too

It was sailed over in its own bottom from South Africa via Trinidad up to New York and back down to Florida and was in the Bahamas for three years. So we knew the boat could do what we dreamed of doing

Lastly The leopard 40 did win boat if the year in 2005. The designers Melvin and morelli know their stuff and personally I think the new leopards are “condomarans” especially the new 2021 42 which has a Sundeck on the coach roof.

This 2005 design has some important features that makes her easy to sail for a couple of single hand

The helm is in the common area so it allows you to be with your crew and guests while still swing all 4 corners of the boat

The boom is low enough to handle the sail bag without a problem

There is plenty of room on the hard coach roof for solar

The galley is up

It’s sleeps 7 so you can have guests

It has 2 x 100 gal tanks for water and 2 x 45 diesel so plenty of range

The windage is low on this design due to the curvature of the salon and the bridge deck is lower so lower center of gravity more stable. Some say it slaps but the chines are ok and I doubt that the difference 6 inches would make in bridge deck if the sea is up

We ha e no issues tacking and close haul to 35. Maybe not mono but we also don’t heel Pick your poison

Having chartered a 39 leopard in st Lucia and Martinique I can tell you this boat seems much bigger

So my advice - take your time. Really know what you can commit to for 5 or ten years. Get a good surveyor and maybe even a broker in your side. Quality and maintenance are key

A boat costs maybe 10% a year to maintain so that adds up. Nothing is perfect and everything seems to break.

Good luck to you and have fun finding your dream boat
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Old Today, 02:46   #15
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Re: Leopard 39 vs. Seawind 1160

We had no experience with sailing. Bought a new Leopard 45, which splashed Oct 2018. Moved onto the boat December 2018. Did a couple of shake down cruises, got our Skipper's licenses and started our circumnavigation in February 2019. Has sailed from CapeTown to the Black Sea and now in Italy region. We have tons of extras, batteries, solar, inverters, 2 fridges, 2 freezers, 800L water, 700L diesel ... We are heavy loaded.
Never been happier. She sails very good and our buddy boats, all monos, are very surprised at our speeds and point of sail. We sail more than motor. Tack a lot... I mean, we went windward since crossing the Equator all the way up to Black Sea!
True, in air less than 8kts, don't point high, perhaps 55TWA with the Code D and a 12 degree leeway. Not so good in light airs going upwind. But in general, we get 60% of TWS with the Code D from 50TWA to 180TWA. With standard sail plan about 40-50.
We anchored as much as we can. The dinghy davits are awesome.
So, I agree with the previous comments. If you want a light performance boat, get the Seawind. If you want to cruise with comfort luxuries, get a Leopard.
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