Leader 7.5 Center ConsoleA fresh and friendly re-invention of the centre console

By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

The Jeanneau Leader 7.5 Center Console is an exciting new model from this major French builder who is famous for innovative designs and in this case, they are offering a fresh new approach to the whole idea of the center console.

The Leader 7.5 Centre Console certainly has equipment for fishing needs, but it’s really focused more on family fun and comfort with a roomy console that includes quite a nice and useful cabin and two excellent and versatile main deck areas for passengers. 

The overall design includes a full bow that flares out to add lots of space, increasing the seating area forward. There is a split bow rail and an anchor in a chute along with a very large anchor locker and a powere windlass. This is great for mooring out or to go swimming and we noticed a bow mounted shower too – great for rinsing off the salt water.

The Bow AreaThe bow area with the removable table in place for dining or drinks.

The seating area in the bow is quite remarkable. It’s very deep for a secure feeling and at the same time, very spacious with probably room for three or more people on the bow seats plus two more facing forward on the seat at the front of the console.

A removable cockpit table occupies the centre, but the bow can also be converted to a full sun lounge using a lightweight folding metal frame (that stows in the cabin) to support another large cushion section. This then makes up a fully upholstered bow sun lounge; a great feature. Five different drink holders are included here as well as a number of hand holds and the bow is not only quite deep and secure feeling, it’s also surrounded by a sturdy welded stainless steel railing.

The ConsoleThe console is a generous size with 5 drink holders, storage cubby, comfortable driving position and lots of places to hang on. This also shows the sliding plexiglass cabin hatch.

There are a lot more hand holds on the T-top frame which is nicely finished in matching white.

The T-top is quite a good size and offers lots of sun protection for the helm and companion seat passengers plus, we want to note that there is also an option for a full Bimini top so that you could have a sunshade out over the cockpit as well.

The cockpit is a real highlight of this boat. You step onboard from the pier at the swim platform, usually on the port side. There’s a small gate on the transom walk-through. 

Because the boat has a lot of freeboard, it’s a bit of a big step down from the gunwale but it’s not a problem. Also, on the port side is a locker suitable for lines and fenders and it has a drain. A transom shower is also included because the boat has a pressure water system.

Swim PlatformThis picture of the swim platform shows the stern walkthrough, pull-out boarding ladder, guard rail beside the engine and a hand hold on the teak upper surface.

As is required for all European certified boats, there is a large manual bilge pump in the walk-through area and big scuppers to drain the cockpit. Remember, the Leader 7.5 was built for fun in the Mediterranean so you get some big water design features with this boat.

Inside, some of the most significant features are the port side and starboard side foldout stern seats and an aft bench seat that pulls forward. This is a super versatile set up. An additional cushion that is stowed in the cabin, enables you to make the cockpit into a full beam sun area where you could have literally a whole gang of people comfortable and secure even while running.

On the other hand, it all folds away easily and leaves the cockpit completely open with the upholstery out of the elements.

The Flared Bow and Split RailThe flared bow and split rail leaves plenty of room for a generous anchor locker with Lewmar powered windlass.

The boat was not intended as a fishing boat however, it does have a rod holders on the port and starboard gunwales, five rocket launchers on the back of the T-top and storage for four rods in the port side pocket, plus a drained box on the port side swim platform. So, yeah…it can fish!

Other notable features of the test boat were the large ski tow on the transom as well as teak trim on the two swim platforms. On the port side there is a pull down boarding ladder and a handhold to help you out of the water plus, there’s a small stainless steel railing beside the engine for safety as well.

We noticed that the anodized aluminum cleats are particularly substantial on this boat and there are fillers for water and fuel on the transom.

Still in the cockpit, a very large section of floor lifts up for access to the batteries and fuel tanks. This space also offers room to carry all kinds of water toys and equipment like dive gear under the floor. In addition, there’s a long locker for fenders and lines on the port side. On the starboard side are the battery controls.

Moving up on either side, there’s a lot of interior depth; the gunwales literally come almost up to my hip and I’m 6 feet tall. You can walk into the bow area from either side and the test boat had filler cushions on the sidewalk as well that expand the bow sun lounge. 

The Leader 7.5 Centre Console is a boat that you will have fun driving. The 300 hp Yamaha four stroke outboard delivers terrific acceleration, quiet cruising and a near 50 mph top speed.

The BowThe entire bow can be filled in with cushions.

Helm

The helm is very nicely done with a wraparound plexiglass windscreen and comfortable standing or seated operation using the flip up bolster bucket seats which adjust fore and aft. There’s a moulded-in footrest and we found that the steering wheel is at a nice angle even though it doesn’t tilt. The Yamaha control for the single 300 horse power engine gives you a secure place to rest your hand for small throttle adjustments while you’re running, even in rough water.

Five different drink holders at the helm will all be useful and Jeanneau has given you a very nice drained cubby for small items with a lid – always appreciated! Instrumentation includes the Garmin GPS screen and Yamaha digital engine controls. The boat also has Lenco LED indicators for the trim tabs. The Fusion stereo head is on the companion side and on the console near the foot rest is another cubby area with a power point for 12 V charging cell phones and other items.

Cabin

Access to the cabin is through a sliding plexiglass hatch that moves easily. The cabin is remarkably spacious for this size of boat. There is a step down as you enter, then you see a sink in the small vanity on your right and a Porta-potti MSD was fitted to our test boat. A porcelain bowl pump out head is also available as an option and the cabin gives you plenty of space for storing cushions and other items to keep them out of the way. You could also use this space to shelter children or pets from the sun, but it should be noted that there is no opening ventilation.

Cockpit Sun LoungeNow, almost the entire cockpit is one big sun lounge - very clever!

Performance

The Yamaha F300 engine is a gem and it’s also beautifully suited to the Leader 7.5 hull design. When you hit the throttle, the Yamaha delivers strong acceleration which would be absolutely great for water sports as well as planning off a big load of family and friends. The boat would be well suited to activities like tubing or wakeboarding and as we mentioned, Jeanneau has given the Leader 7.5 ample storage for those water toys under the cockpit floor.

Out in the bay we were impressed with the boat’s ability to handle tight high-speed turns without cavitation and although we were doing the review in relatively calm water, the boat seemed to deliver a smooth and comfortable ride. Perhaps the most important factor was a subjective one; all the controls and the very comfortable driving position inspired tremendous confidence as we put the boat through its paces.

We hit a top speed of 48.6 mph with the F300 doing 6,050 rpm and just singing a happy song. It’s really smooth and the Leader 7.5 Centre Console felt like it had wings. Acceleration timed at 4.54 seconds from 0 to 20 mph and the most economical (as well as quiet) cruising speed seemed to be turning 3,500 rpm and doing 26.5 mph.

We felt that the Leader 7.5 Centre Console with the Yamaha F300 made a near-perfect package for family enjoyment, water sports activities, day cruising and yes –fishing! Highly recommended!

ENGINE: Yamaha F300, 300 horse power V6

RPM SPEED
1,000 5.5
1,500 7.1
2,000 8.1
2,500 10.3
3,000 14.8
3,500 26.5
4,000 31.4
4,500 35.7
5,000 39.4
5,500 43.5
6,050 48.6

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA w/Platforms: 25’ 4’’ / 7.62m

Beam: 8’ 3’’ / 2.44m

Dry Weight w/o Engine: 3,175 lbs / 1,440 kg

Deadrise: 20.7°

Fuel Capacity: 74 US Gal / 280 L

Water Capacity: 21 US Gal / 79.5 L

Price:

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