The perfectly sized Leopard 39 Power Cat can just about do it all.
The Leopard 39 Power Cat is a fine example of a modern catamaran motoryacht, and it is perhaps better known as the Moorings 393 PC, a mid-size bareboat charter yacht offered by The Moorings, which was also responsible for the gestation of this product.
There are more than 800 Leopard cats that have sailed more than 7 million miles (7 million!) on all the world’s oceans. They have, according to the builder, more than 4 million miles of transoceanic passages to the Caribbean, Mediterranean, South Pacific, Hong Kong, and the rest of the world, since most of these yachts are delivered to charter fleets and private owners on their own bottoms from South Africa. However you measure it, those numbers put these cats firmly in the passagemaking record books.
When you first step aboard the Leopard 39, the first thing you need to do is put her length (38 feet 7 inches) out of your mind, because nothing you are going to see bears any resemblance to a conventional 39-footer. Even boarding her is different.
Featuring a three-stateroom, two-head layout, each hull ends in a wide, flat platform that makes stepping aboard from dock or dinghy easy. Another step takes you into the oh-so-wide cockpit with a wraparound settee to port clearly intended for alfresco meals and sundowner cocktail hours. Clever touch: one backrest flips forward so you can sit facing aft, either to keep an eye on the kids in the water or just to enjoy a good book.
Our test boat had the upgraded 150-horsepower Volvo Penta D3150/2.43 diesels in place of the standard Yanmar 110s found on the charter boats. These are installed in each hull of course, with access through gas-lifted and heavily insulated hatches under the aft mattresses. Access is OK for the usual service points, although anything more major is going to require some wriggling and a lean mechanic. Fuel/water separators were mounted outboard and were accessible, and the battery for each engine was boxed securely and within reach. Each engine area has its own fixed gaseous fire system.
Underway, the Leopard 39 is nothing but fun. She feels both light and nimble as well as solid, which is an unusual combination, but most pleasant. In all sorts of seas in the Gulf Stream, she was dry and stable, with a motion that felt like a cantering horse. I suspect she’d be easy on the queasy.
And she is silent. At idle inside the saloon, I managed to get a 58-decibel reading, but on the bridge at full throttle, I just gave up. Even shielding the decibel meter barely cracked 60 decibels and the sound of the wind and water was all we heard—a tribute to the Robertson and Caine soundproofing and to Volvo.
We topped out at 16.3 knots at 3000 rpm, which may not seem much compared to some ocean-crushing motoryachts, but this is a speed you can maintain in a seaway. Even better, we were sipping fuel at just 15.2 gph combined, according to the dashboard instrumentation—at full throttle! That’s better than one nautical mile per gallon with the hammers down.
The Leopard 39 is one of those yachts that just seems right. She’s definitely on my short list, and should be on yours, too.