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Old 18-04-2024, 19:30   #1
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Leopard 45, 2021 or Newer - Owners experience?

Hi All,

My husband and I are considering purchasing a used Leopard 45, 2021 or newer. However, Iíve recently come across a variety of unsatisfactory owner reviews. It seems as though these may be hard to come by as many owners are held to NDAís in order to obtain repair instructions and the like. As much of this is hearsay, and difficult to collate, weíre very interested to hear from current owners of the 2021 and newer models.

Some common themes that weíve come across are:
-Dry fiber glass
-Hull cracks near tension bar
-Leaking bulkheads/ windows
-Improper installation of mast conduit resulting in wind instrumental failure
-Leaking stanchions, deck fittings, and chain plate

Have you had similar experiences? Weíve been actively saving for 6 years and will be in the market within the next 1.5 so it goes without saying that this is a big decision and we donít want to sink our funds into a dream that turns out to be a nightmare. Any and all first hand insight would be greatly appreciated.
Also happy to field emails if you have sensitive information to disclose but donít feel comfortable discussing via an open forum.

Thanks,
Aariel
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Old 26-04-2024, 12:37   #2
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Boat: Najad 490 1998
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Re: Leopard 45, 2021 or Newer - Owners experience?

I have watched quite a few videos on youtube detailing the issues according to the owners.

Watch Travel Sketch here: https://www.youtube.com/@travelsketch/videos

Watch Sailing Utopia here:

The design flaws Utopia shows are just mind bending. Going through multiple sheets on a single crossing is not ok. Even my 1998 monohul has angled blocks and clutches where needed - resulting in no excess sheet chafe.

But remember it is all single sided stories. There are no responses from the factory on separate videos. So while it can all be right - it can also mostly owner "issues"

There are more channels with unhappy owners. But I just watched episodes from the above. Youtube will probably show you more once you have watched a few of the above ..
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Old 20-05-2024, 18:53   #3
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Re: Leopard 45, 2021 or Newer - Owners experience?

@kaz911 thanks so much for the input. We’ve definitely done our deep dive on YouTube and other forums to try and get a better understanding of firsthand owner experiences. I’m certain that there may be a few one off issues that Individual owners experience, but it’s really those systemic design flaws/ Poor workmanship that were after. Those are unfortunately, the “gifts” that keep on giving and we prefer to make a well-informed decision with our life savings as best we can. Particularly because these issues seem to be intensified in the 2021 or newer models or rather “COVID models”. While there are certain design aesthetics that draw us to these newer models, like the bridge deck seating and modern layout, my apprehension surrounding the seemly chronic workmanship issues are no less quelled at the moment. I suppose we’re hoping to hear both good and bad from current owners if they’re willing to share.
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Old 02-06-2024, 13:51   #4
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Boat: Leopard 45
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Re: Leopard 45, 2021 or Newer - Owners experience?

Personally I'd go with one of the earlier models (2019 -2020) which don't have the top deck lounge. I own a 2020 and have noticed that everything after this date has the upper deck lounge. We have chartered on three with the top deck lounge and found them be suitable only for about an hour or so a day. Too hot or to dark the rest. I also much prefere the earlier models mainsail layout with a jibe preventer layout. The later models with traveler centered on the top deck are hard to stabalize when at anchor.
Save yourself some money and look to a 2019 or 2020 model.
jim
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Old 02-06-2024, 20:10   #5
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Re: Leopard 45, 2021 or Newer - Owners experience?

I bought my Leopard 50 three years ago - a 2021 build. It has been the most trouble free of the five cruising sailboats I've owned. That's not to say "no problems" - just fewer than the others. I was going to buy a Fountaine Pajot until Leopard owning friends made me reconsider. I've never seen such a loyal group of boat owners. Many on their 2nd or 3rd Leopard.

I consider the buid quality to be at the upper end of production boats. The thing is built like a tank with huge metal cross beams that make the hulls incredibly stiff. Even after three years - when I go below under sail it's amazingly quiet. None of the squeaks and rattles you hear in most production boats. I think that's because 1/2 go to the Moorings. The Moorings can't have boats breaking down and cancelling charters. There are lots of small details on Leopards - such as redundant fresh water pumps - that likely come from the Moorings spec.

I've never met a Leopard owner (and I've met over 100) who experienced resin starved laminate or serious structural problems. I'm sure they happen, but it's incredibly rare. In any case, these should have been uncovered before purchase by hiring an independed survey - yes, you should have a brand new boat surveyed. Mistakes happen. I would also stay away from any boat by any builder with a low hull number (under 50). Some models have a rocky start.

Most of the other problems in the videos are minor and part of owning a cruising sailboat. Raymarine electronics are a constant annoyance. Lines always chafe on a transatlantic crossing. New deck leaks appear. My "needs fixing" list has about 25 things on it. Everyone of my boats over 40 years has had a similiar length list. As one item gets fixed another takes its place. "Cruising is boat repair in exotic locations". If you can't live with this - get an RV.

So to the OP - You'll love your Leopard. Use a good surveyor. Don't cross an ocean or go to another coutnry (even the Bahamas) until the boat is well shaken down on shorter cruises. And have enough money left in your budget ($50-$100K) to do all the things you'll want to do after purchase - both planned and some surprises.
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Old 12-06-2024, 05:01   #6
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Re: Leopard 45, 2021 or Newer - Owners experience?

In general, I have found that the build quality of many things began an abrupt deterioration around 2008. Just saw something where owners of a new Seawind suffered a double engine failure after the factory used the wrong gasket material for the fuel tanks, which deteriorated and got into the diesel.
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