CharcoalBy: Katherine Stone
Photos supplied by Leopard Catamarans except where noted

Fast, spacious and stable – the Leopard 45 is the stuff dreams are made of!

During those cold, cold, sunless, dreary months of January and February, I want to remember the fun I had in the sun on the water. Did someone say charter? In warm weather?In warm waters?

If you plan on chartering when the weather in Canada is less than ideal (mmmmm…that’s two months of bad sledding), then I suggest you charter, purchase to charter, or just buy to own and enjoy for yourself the newly redesigned Leopard 45 sailing catamaran.

Launched at the Annapolis Boat show in 2016, the Leopard 45 was the 2017 winner of both the Cruising World and SAIL Best Boat of the Year awards. The Leopard 45 sailing catamaran has been thoroughly overhauled, with particular attention paid to the exterior styling, forward cockpit, and interior accommodation. It is dramatically and distinctly different than its predecessor with more angular lines and sleek styling,including a new deck hardtop.

Leopard’s builders, designers, and global team focused on the following words to drive the design and construction: Continuous innovation, comfort, performance, elegance, and passion. With the distinction of being the #1 selling catamaran brand in North America, Robertson & Caine’s production facility is located just outside Cape Town, South Africa, and has over 20 years of boat building history. Couple this with naval architects Simonis-Voogd Yacht Design and you can see why you have a winner! Robertson & Caine have built and delivered over 1,500 boats and created a reputation for producing quality cruising catamarans that are sought after worldwide for charter fleets as well as private use. Their global dealerships span 20+ countries on six continents.

The boat is well balanced, even in heavy weather, making it a favourite of delivery crews. It is easy and effortless to helm, due in part to the forgiving low aspect rig and powerful sailplan,which includes a fully battened main and overlapping genoa. The robust balsa sandwich construction provides better resistance to compression and impact. Double backstays help with stability and a rigid boomvang prevents damage and injury. The two-line bridle main system (which has always been a standard in Leopard design) provides easier trim with less likelihood of gooseneck/boom damage on an accidental jibe. Outside handrails have been strategically placed for better grab-hold places. On-board safety was constantly kept in mind as many features exceed global safety standards.

An electric windlass is mounted midway on the forward deck to avoid rust or fouling of the anchor chain.The anchor locker is self-contained, keeping chain and anchor rope concealed. The deck hatches have been flush mounted to minimize the risk of falling. All sail controls feed back to the aft cockpit, making it much easier to sail shorthanded or during inclement weather. Oversized, electric primary winchesalso allow smaller crew members to trim sails (with foot switches) and all sheet tails drop neatly into pockets, keeping the deck free of tripping hazards. The skipper can easily be part of the social action or keep an eye on the kids from the double seat helm station, which is incorporated into the aft cockpit. The hardtop over the helm station provides protection from the elements. All Raymarine controls for VHF, autohelm, depth, speed, wind transducers, and GPS are easily accessible while piloting the boatfrom the helmstation. Getting onboard from the dingy is seamless with easy access to the aft platform. The aft and forward deck cockpitsoffer the option of a durable, lightweight, high-impact simulated teak for a nice finish that will impress your guests and iseasy to maintain.

Aft CockpitThe aft cockpit aboard the Leopard 45 offers a simply grand area for entertaining.

The panoramic wrap-around views from inside the saloon are spectacular, allowing you to feel as if you don’t always have to be outside to enjoy the view. Crew can effortlessly move from one end of the boat to the other, yet there always seems to be privacy for singles, couples, or small groups. The forward cockpit is exceptionally private, especially in mooring fields, with an L shaped settee, double bench, and small pull-up spring-loaded table for afternoon snacks and drinks. For some sun, move out to the trampoline (which is safe and easy on bare feet) where you can just relax or sunbathe.

The open plan saloon and galley allow ease of movement to the aft cockpit through wide, double sliding doors providing indoor and outdoor dining and entertaining for large gatherings. These sliding doors create superior ventilation by allowing breeze to flow through from the forward to the aft cockpit. The atmosphere is uplifting with more natural light during the day. At night, the interior is illuminated with subtle, hidden lighting and individual spotlights to highlight certain areas. The exterior aft cockpit has concealed strip lighting for evening dining and entertaining. The C-shaped seating in both dining areas can accommodate eight diners at each table. It’s easy for everyone to become involved in food preparation with ample Corian counter space in the forward facing galley. With plenty of refrigeration, food storage, and wastebasket space, no one will feel confined when working in the galley with multiple chefs. With ample headroom, the design in the saloon/galley is simple, spacious, elegant, clean, and modern. Light shades of creamy eggshell, grey upholstery, and side panels help to enhance the easy, breezy,comfortable feeling of total relaxation. Customer feedback helped the design team come up with ingenious storage solutions throughout the boat, but especially in the saloon and aft cabin; simply look under the floor or settees in the saloon. You’ll also find a separate gas and life raft locker in the aft cockpit.

Aft Cabin 1With the overhead hatch and the expanse of glazing makes the aft cabin bright and inviting.

The twin Yanmar 45 HP engines are quiet and easy to maintain with access from above. With capacity for 185 gallons of fuel, 206 gallons of fresh water, and 110 voltage, you can cruise for long periods of time to fun destinations. Best of all, with only a five-foot draft, cruising and anchoring in shallow, less accessible inlets or bays is easy. All systems, from electronics to water, are reliable and easy to maintain and control from a central panel in the saloon. Thenav station is also in the saloon and can be used for a laptop workstation or extra seating.

Forward Cockpit

A unique feature of the Leopard 45 is the forward cockpit and opening glass bulkhead that lets the tropical breezes flow through the saloon.

Below deck, three and four cabin options are both available. The starboard side owner’s cabin offers a larger ensuite with more storage and a study desk/vanity area to make your home away feel like home. All cabins have well-appointed baths with separate showers and heads. Natural light flows in through enlarged side windows, deck hatches, an aft window, and port lights with sheer accordion blinds to help maintain privacy or keep out intense sunlight. There is exceptional storage in hanging lockers, drawers, and under the floor in all cabins. The port forward cabin also features a child berth in the forward peak. When not in use by little ones, it can also be used for storage of snorkeling gear, “floatees”, or pool noodles.

Galley 1Even in such a well-equipped galley, the main attraction here is the abundant counter space for food prep and serving.

Any way you look at it, this boat exudes exceptional quality and good value. Customer feedback and focus on elegance, comfort, performance, and continuous innovation have helped to develop blue water cruising catamarans that are fun to sail, easily maintained anywhere in the world, and aesthetically pleasing.

There are multiple ways to enjoy a Leopard 45. You can buy one yourself through Leopard Catamarans, now offering free delivery to the United States East Coast with your purchase of any 2017 model at an approximate cost of under $600,000 US for a well-equipped model. You can also own her through the very popular charter yacht ownership programs offered by The Moorings or Sunsail;these programs pay you revenue and take all the hassle out of traditional yacht ownership. Of course, you can also take her on a memorable charter vacation through either The Moorings or Sunsail at locations across the globe.

Sheet Tails

A great look at the rig 

Credit: Katherine Stone

SPECIFICATIONS

Length Overall: 45’ {13.72 m]
Length Waterline: 42’ 11” [13.72 m]
Beam: 24' 2" [7.35 m]
Draft: 5' 1” [1.55 m]
Sail Area: 1,328 ft.² [123.4 m²]
Displacement: 31,967 lbs. [14,500 kg]
Water Capacity: 206 gals [780 L]
Fuel Capacity: 185 gals [700 L]
Holding Tank Capacity: 45 gals [170 L]
Mast Height: 69' 10" [21.28 m]
Mast Height Above WL: 70’ [21.34 m]
Bridge Deck Clearance: 2’ 9” [.83 m]
Load capacity: 10,141 lbs [4,600 kg]
Engine: Twin 45 hp Volvo Yanmar

Price: free delivery to US East Coast with your 2017 model purchase for under $600,000 US for a well-equipped model.

The South Florida Leopard Catamarans office is located at 850 NE 3rd Street; Suite 201; Dania Beach, FL 33004; 954-925-8050 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


The South Florida Leopard Catamarans office is located at:
850 NE 3rd Street, Suite 201
Dania Beach, FL 33004
Phone: 954-925-8050
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For charter ownership information through The Moorings or Sunsail,call 888-952-8603.

 

 

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