Catamarans seem newfangled, but the Polynesians were crossing open oceans on multihulls when the rest of the “civilized” world was still gazing at the sea with fear. Cats have changed the texture of boating in many ways, not the least of which is offering immense space in a boat of reasonable length. A perfect example is the Leopard 43 PC.
Built in South Africa and delivered on its own bottom to North America, the Leopard 43 PC can be found in charter fleets worldwide, where it has enjoyed a great reputation. The owners of our test boat were planning to live aboard in comfort. Let’s see why.
Our test boat was the owner’s version, where the starboard hull is a palatial suite that features a queen-size berth aft; a midship area with bureau, desk/vanity and hanging locker; plus a generous head with stall shower forward.
The port hull has the queen berth aft in a private cabin, with another cabin forward boasting a tapered berth. These cabins are separated by a large head that features a stall shower. A second version, popular for charter, makes both hulls identical for a total of four cabins. Take note: Unlike monohulls, the cabins are well-separated in each corner of the boat, so you won’t listen to your neighbor snore. Or whatever.
The surprise to single-hull skippers is the sheer width: just over 22 feet! This creates a huge salon with an L-shaped galley in one corner, L-shaped dinette in the other, a chart table that can become an inside helm, and an amount of walk-around-and-mill-about space not found aboard monohulls under 60 feet length overall.
The back “porch” has another big dinette, and the foredeck (with a door from the salon) feels like a tennis court. The bridge has yet another dinette, forward sun pad, doublewide helm, and mini galley with grill and fridge. And there is still space to stow kayaks, sun on a chaise, or host a small dance party. The corollary to all that social prowess is that finding privacy aboard is easy when desired.
Powering the Leopard 43 PC are twin Yanmar 8LV 320 hp diesels (widely separated for great maneuvering), and the slim hulls give a fuel-sipping cruise of 14.6 mph at 10.2 gph and a top speed of 23.7 mph.
Tired of owning half a boat? Check out this cool cat.
* Clever transom davit for easy launching and stowage of the tender at the push of a button.
* Wide side decks with welded stainless-steel rails for easy and safe passage fore and aft.
* Well-labeled and illuminated electrical panel is eye-level by the salon door.
* Great stowage in cabins and the salon.
* Wide beam might be too much for some marina slips, forcing the use of end ties.
* No lips to prevent spillage on the galley (or any) counter.
The Aquila 44 (about $835,000) from MarineMax is similarly sized and powered, but with an intriguing layout: a full-beam master suite and two equal cabins in the hulls, all with en-suite heads with showers.
Price: $620,000 (well-equipped)
Available Power: Sterndrive
How We Tested
Engines: Twin Yanmar 8LV 320 hp diesels
Drive/Prop: Yanmar KMH40 21.6″ x 19.9″ 4-blade
Gear Ratio: 2.62:1
Fuel Load: 200 gal.
Crew Weight: 1,500 lb.
Leopard Catamarans – Dania Beach, Florida; 954-925-8050; leopardcatamarans.com