By Kate Fincham and John Armstrong
Jeanneau’s new beauty queen.
Style, beauty and grace; these are all traits that both pageant queens and Jeanneau’s new Leader 46 have in common. With sleek lines, a chic cream and walnut interior and well-designed spaces for entertaining and relaxation, this yacht is an expression of class and style.
Captain John Armstrong and I had the pleasure of taking this yacht on a two-hour sea trial out of Dania Beach, Florida, in early March. One of the things that initially struck me was the multi-functionality of the design- the boat recommends itself to warm, sunny Florida days as much as it would to a cooler Canadian fall day.
Partly, this depends on your choice of the fully open salon and cockpit, or the optional opening glass bulkhead. The boat is available either way, so the climate-controlled salon (equipped with both AC and heating) can be either fully enclosed or opened up to the air. With the touch of a button, the optional aft bulkhead window can be raised (where it automatically latches to the overhanging roof), seamlessly integrating the salon with the cockpit and stern-facing couch/lounger.
At the same time, the forward third section of the cabin roof retracts to provide ample access to the outdoors, and the helm and passenger lounge side windows slide open. All of these features combined, are capable of completely changing the feel of the main deck area, enabling varying degrees of privacy, wind, sun exposure and climate control.
The helm station, directly underneath the sunroof, has a matte black finish, tilting steering wheel and adjustable seating for two. Across is a passenger seating area that easily converts into an aft-facing sunbed with the addition of a cushion stowed under the seat. A tinted curved partition beside the helm, slides across and latches to seal off the companionway from the lower deck area.
Teak decking extends right from the companionway back to the expansive swim platform that hydraulically lifts and lowers and has a pocket ladder hidden beneath a hatch cover. This allows for ease of access when launching the tender from the wide and deep tender garage in the transom.
One of the great features aboard the Leader 46 is the transom-mounted electric grill and sink located just above the tender locker hatch. This layout is very versatile and multi-functional, where guests can relax on the lounger bed/bench, make lunch, have drinks and go for a swim all in the same space. Dual stairs lead to the main deck, into the salon and up to the side decking.
At the bow there is a large sunbed capable of comfortably accommodating two or three people and this features cup holders and a section which can be raised as a lounge backrest. A small square segment of cushioning on the sunbed can be removed to give the forward stateroom’s skylight access to sunlight.
Moving down into the cabin, aft and to starboard is the main galley with a two-burner stovetop, sink, large fridge, freezer, space for an optional microwave and several cupboards and drawers providing ample storage. Concealed under the companionway stairs is an available washer/dryer combo unit for extended cruising comfort.
Directly across from the galley is a large U-shaped dinette. An attractive system of recessed lighting flanked by two large panels in the ceiling provides unique illumination to the open air dining space (lighting which is also mirrored in the salon). The style is modern and clean, with sleek cream-coloured furnishings and Alcantara faux-suede and textured fabric accent walls which beautifully offset the walnut finishing throughout.
The dinette seating, covered in white stain- and UV-resistant faux-leather, surrounds a large dining table and has a small stool that tucks underneath. It would comfortably seat 5-6 people and faces a large flat screen TV with a storage cupboard for barware underneath.
Forward of the galley is an attractively designed head compartment with a seated shower stall separated by a glass panel and door, with a wooden panel that folds over the toilet for more counter space, indirect accent lighting underneath the mirrored cabinets at face-height and a modern-looking white bowl sink.
The forward guest cabin features a queen bed accessed on either side by stairs. This is a “scissors” design that can be split apart to provide a twin bed conversion. The room also contains two drawers and a good-sized walnut hanging closet with an attractive black leather accent handle.
The aft master stateroom is similarly well appointed, with a king sized bed with a grey suede surrounding (like the guest room). The head of the bed is recessed with a textured fabric backing surrounded by narrow mirrored panels and with accent lighting and side tables.
The master head boasts an ingenious design whereby the frosted glass doors can be closed to section off the entire three-part area (toilet, sink and shower) or the doors can be individually shut on the shower and toilet rooms, leaving the sink and vanity area open to the room and providing direct access to the head porthole. The Fusion entertainment system in the salon is also in the master stateroom, with controls for music located beside the bed.
Not to solely praise the Leader 46 for her beauty, taking the boat out for a test run showcased the ease of handling and comfortable cruising afforded by this yacht. With dual Volvo Penta IPS power (with the option of a 370, 400 or 435HP D6) and joystick docking, the yacht is a terrific combination of power and maneuverability. For the start of our trip, our sea trial Captain Tony Pedraja, was able to smoothly and easily navigate out of the narrow slip and marina area.
Heading up the Florida Intracoastal Waterway, Captain John took over. Here is what he had to say about running the Jeanneau Leader 46.
I was introduced to the Jeanneau Leader 46 at the 2016 Miami Boat Show in Virginia Key during a Jeanneau Press Release Event. Both Editor Andy Adams and I were awestruck with the beauty and design features of this new addition to the Leader line.
Several weeks later I travelled to Inter Marine in Dania Beach, Florida accompanied by Kate Fincham, to sea trial the 46. Captain Tony Pedraja was at the helm and his knowledge and seamanship was most evident during our time on the water. We also had the pleasure of having Billy Black, a renowned marine photographer, aboard for the sea trial and a photo shoot.
We left the dock with the sun shining and the wind blowing, the boat was a dream to handle thanks to the twin Volvo Penta IPS 600’s with Joystick.
We manoeuvred out to the ICW and after opening the large electric sun roof we headed south. When we reached a “no speed restriction” area, the fun started. We were up on plane in no time and put the 46 through her paces. The boat was very responsive and carved her way through a series of 360 degree turns in a very comfortable and flawless manner.
The ride, sound level and comfort were all outstanding.
Putting the yacht through her paces a bit more, Captain Tony did several runs at 35 knots. Exhilarating performance!
With its smooth handling, stylish interior and functional, well-thought-out design, it’s not difficult to see why the Leader 46 was nominated for the 2016 European Power Boat of the Year award in the over 45’ category. The collaboration between the designer Garroni and naval architects J&J Design have made the Leader 46 a yacht that is turning heads and making waves.
Engines: Twin Volvo Penta IPS 600 – D6 435 hp diesels with Joystick docking.
PRELIMINARY PERFORMANCE DATA:
Cruising speed – 29 mph
Top speed – 40 mph
Length overall: 46’10”/14.30m
Fresh water capacity:106gal/400L
Base Price: $579,999 US $
Test boat supplied by: InterMarine, Dania, Florida and pricing supplied by Jeanneau America, www.jeanneau.com
Photo 1 – Striking looks and and industry-leading features distinguish the new Leader 46 by Jeanneau. Credit: Jeanneau / Jerome Kelagopian
Photo 2 – With Capt. John Armstrong at the helm and author Kate Fincham in the companion seat, it’s easy to see the value of the massive electric sliding roof! Credit: Billy Black
Photo 3 – Real teak decking is easy on the feet and on the eyes too. It unites the main deck living spaces and the transom mounted grill is a great feature! Credit: Jeanneau / Jerome Kelagopian
Photo 4 & 5 – The dinette has a wonderful, spacious feel especially with the optional aft glass bulkhead fully opened up. Credit: Jeanneau / Jerome Kelagopian
Photo 6 – in the guest cabin forward, it’s easy to convert the layout from twin beds births to a double. Credit: Jeanneau / Jerome Kelagopian
Other Photo Credits:
Photos 7 – 10 – Credit: Jeanneau / Jerome Kelagopian
Photo 11 – Andy Adams