23 Jun 2020

I’ve been sailing Robertson & Caine catamarans for over 12 years, so let me share why the Leopard 45L is my 1st choice for purchase right now.

Recently rated as one of the Top 10 catamarans by over 4500 reviewers attending the Annapolis, FLIBS and MIBS shows last year. It scored better and beat out Lagoon, Excel, Nautitech, Fountaine Pajot and Katana in the 40 – 50’ cruising catamaran category. More on this later…

Overall, the features and design of this catamaran make it a favorite. It’s a 4 double cabin all with full en-suite shower / baths, plus a single crew quarter on the port side forward v-berth. With the converted salon the berths total 11. The light oak wood finish is elegant and modern looking, and adds to the openness and airiness of the boat both in the salon / galley area, as well as the cabins. Performance is good for this class of catamaran cruiser and I’ve had it up over 12 knots with a good wind, although 8 – 10 knots is common. The sitting lounge on the top deck on the new model is sweet. There are now so many places to sit, lie down and lounge on the boat, both in sheltered and open areas. When you’re cruising, you are outside most of the time so having various options is ideal. The cabins are comfortable, well ventilated and feel very open, allowing ample light in.

As we go through the boat, let’s start with an exclusive feature I really like on Leopards – the forward lounge and sitting area. This cozy and covered sitting lounging area forward of the main bridge is loved by everyone once they try it. It’s convenient to get to, sheltered, quiet and one of the most comfortable viewing points on the boat. It’s also happens to be my favorite napping spot.

The port side single crew quarter is comfortable and the starboard head / shower works well once you step down into it, as it is spacious and works well for getting ready. Climbing in and out with the ladder steps makes you feel you are dropping down into an engine room or submarine, as you disappear entirely once on the floor. The helm is positioned well for visibility and excellent to stay connected with others on the boat, whether on the adjacent lounge sitting sunbathing area or with easy access to the rear cockpit and somewhat good access to the galley and salon should you need to request a drink. The hard top over the helm is a great feature on Leopards and having good access to all the lines with a powered winch makes this an easy boat for a captain to handle and single-hand.

As a personal preference, I would order the owner version for myself which is a 3 + 1 cabin configurations versus 4 + 1 cabin which is popular for a charter boat. There are many of these boats in charter particularly with Moorings and Sunsail, so they are easy to try out. I find white surfaces on the inside boring, so would opt for Corian or similar counter surfaces. Cushions with top grade upholstery on all sitting areas. Probably a centre console dinghy and the largest Chartplotter available like the Raymarine Axiom 12. It’s also nice to have auto-helm with wireless remote control so I can fix myself a snack while the boat is trimmed out sailing along nicely. The Raymarine wireless remote is meant to be worn and should the skipper go overboard, it kicks off the auto-helm past a 30 ft range which would eventually stall the boat and prevent your love from just sailing beyond your reach. Visibility in the salon and galley area is excellent with an overhead skylight that adds more light, yet pleated blinds easily deploy should you want to keep the sun out.

Looking to partner with this type of boat? If you don’t already know, my philosophy on owning a boat is much like what Richard Branson indicated in an interview a few years ago, aboard his super yacht catamaran ‘Necker Belle’. “Everything I own should earn its keep” he said. Sir Richard indicated he and his family would use the boat as much as needed, but then on the free dates, would make it available for charter under yacht management.

If you have you ever thought about becoming a yacht owner and living the dream like myself, I’m familiar with a few options. A company like Moorings gives you a guaranteed revenue stream and up to 12 weeks annual access to their fleet around the world. Twelve weeks may be a lot for some people, which is why a 50/50 partner would work to achieve this fabulous yachting and vacation lifestyle. YACHT Solutions offers a great try it before you buy it program with this boat which I highly recommend doing, before you enter into a 5 year commitment.

If you want to keep a dream boat like this Cat closer to home, we have a program in the GTA to keep your boat in service for the warmer 5 -6 months as a crewed yacht when you the owner, are not using it. My suggestion is to avoid those nasty tropical storms and then take it to Florida or the Bahamas after hurricane season during the winter. It makes for a really nice floating condo wherever you board it. YACHT Solutions specialty is to put boat owners into an ownership program that is turn-key, no hassles with pure enjoyment, because we do all the heavy lifting and day to day stuff. This type of ownership open the door to some great tax advantages and the have the boat earns its keep (like Sir Richard says). Ultimately, this ownership program enhances your lifestyle, puts you into a dream boat, pays for all the operating expenses and gives you a return. Now that’s like having your cake and eating it too… Who says you can’t have it all!

Here is what was derived from over 4500 participants from the three major shows in the US during 2019. From the Top 10 catamaran review; “In 9th place is the leopard 45 catamaran. Now the leopards are a firm favorite of live-aboard and charters alike, and 32.9 was the score that you awarded it.

The positives for the leopard 45; While the interior you found to be light and airy, the living space was very, very accommodating. It has a forward cockpit that you all said, this is a really useful feature to have especially in the tropics. Forward facing chart table and the sailing characteristics of this boat are remarkably good. We also found the interior fitting to be above average for production quality and the joinery, the level of fit is pretty good. There were some questions about that forward facing door and some other patrons ask those questions. When we were lucky enough to interview leopard management in a test cell after the Annapolis boat show if you want to see that interview the link is above but leopard were gracious and honest enough to answer those questions and we felt pretty reassured talking to delivery skipper about the actual realities of ownership of a leopard catamaran so overall we were pretty please this was the second time we had taken a look at leopard and we were pretty pleased and would be confident in a boat like this to cross oceans or to just cruise the Caribbean islands. Well done Leopard… this is a thoroughly well deserved score in 9th place the Leopard 45.”

Sometimes the big brother in the lineup seems even more desirable, although more expensive. But stepping up to the Leopard 50 is another 30% more money and although larger, does not really have any features that this Leopard 45 does not have. With the additional Top Deck Lounge seating area now available providing a full 360 panoramic view, this catamaran by Robertson & Caine is the one for me. ~ Capt Greg Marlo

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