Bimini is the closest Bahamian island to South Florida—around 50 nautical miles from Ft. Lauderdale—and offers a sampling of everything the island nation has to offer. So, when I was invited on a short cruise to Bimini aboard Leopard Catamarans’ new 53 Powercat, I quickly obliged.
You may be more familiar with Leopard’s sailing models, which range from 40 to 58 feet, but they also build power cats for both private owners and The Moorings charter fleet. (Leopard Catamarans and The Moorings are part of the same ownership group.) Built by Robertson & Caine in Cape Town, South Africa, the Leopard 53 PC replaces the 51 PC, touted by the company as “the best-selling powercat of all time in its size range.”
Which begs the question: Why tamper with success?
“The 51 Powercat was coming to the end of its production life, so [Leopard] looked to design the 53 PC as a pure motoryacht from the start,” said Katie Baker, marketing manager for yacht sales, who joined us on the cruise to Bimini. The goal, she explained, was to produce a model with accommodations and amenities that would appeal to the owners of traditional monohull motoryachts as well as other powercat owners. “We want to compete with the Sea Rays and Azimuts of the world.”
One of the biggest changes the Leopard design team made in drafting the new 53 PC was to move its front bulkhead forward, eliminating the 51 PC’s foredeck cockpit whereby creating a huge salon and galley area, as well as enlarging the flybridge. “This boat gained 30 percent more volume over the 51,” Baker said.
The 53 PC’s twin hulls are narrow at the bow to slice cleanly through the waves, but flare out above the waterline to provide additional volume for the staterooms. Our yacht offered three staterooms, including a master suite that occupies the entire starboard hull, featuring an island double berth, vanity, head with dual sinks and a separate shower that easily must be the largest I’ve ever seen on a yacht this size. My husband and I were lucky enough to have been billeted in the master.
Three steps down from the salon, the master suite has a cleverly designed pocket door for privacy. Boasting 6 feet, 6 inches of headroom, it is lined with large hull windows (the shower even has one), further enhancing the feeling of abundant space. The Leopard 53 PC’s other two staterooms, located in the port hull with the washer/dryer in the companionway between them, are also good-sized. They each have an island double berth, hanging locker and en suite head with separate shower. The berth in the forward stateroom is positioned athwartships in order to maximize space.
A four-stateroom version is also available, both to private owners and those participating in The Moorings charter yacht program. Based on the portside staterooms in our test yacht, I am sure the 53 PC can provide very comfortable accommodations for up to eight people.
“Private sales of the Leopard 53 PC have exceeded expectations,” Baker said. She added that half of the production of this model at Robertson & Caine would be the private version, and half would be designated for The Moorings charter fleet. This offers a unique opportunity for prospective owners to “try before they buy” while cruising in paradise. —Louisa Beckett
Displ. 41,070 lbs.
Fuel 581 gal.
Water 185 gal.
Power 2/370-hp Yanmar
Price $1.3 million
Cruise Speed 17.5 knots
Top Speed 25 knots
Cruising Range 2,000 miles