The leopard family is growing – but not in the zoo, but in the harbor. The Leopard 40 Powercat motor catamaran is the latest baby from South African shipyard Leopard Catamarans. Like its two predecessors, it was designed and built by the Robertson and Caine shipyard in South Africa, which specializes in catamarans.
The launch of the prototype at the largest manufacturer of catamarans in the southern hemisphere was already a moment ago, it happened at the end of last year in Cape Town. In late spring, the smallest leopard to date came to Europe for the first time. And in the U.S., the ship has recently made a stop. On display for the public was the Leo at the Miami Boat Show and Europe’s Multihull Boat Show in La Grande Motte near Montpellier.
The Leopard 40 Powercat is the smallest of the three models in the new design line, which also includes the Leopard 53 and Leopard 46 ocean-going twin-hulls. We recently presented the latter in detail in the float test. The latest kitty completes the new product line of the shipyard, which – interesting to know – claims to produce the most motor catamarans in the world.
Three leopards in different sizes © Leopard
Even with the smallest big cat, the family affiliation is recognizable at first glance. The silhouette of the Leopard 40 is strikingly similar to that of the Leopard 46 in particular, which won the Best of Boats Award in 2022. The common features include in particular the lushly dimensioned side glazing. On the Leopard 40, too, the glass front at the salon extends over the entire side of the main deck.
Largest flybridge ever on a 40ft cat, says shipyard © Leopard
The flybridge above is integrated into the saloon roof. This upper floor is protected on its entire surface by an elongated sun roof. According to the shipyard, we are dealing with the largest flybridge ever seen on a 40-foot catamaran. From both the top floor and the glassed-in salon below, there is an almost unrestricted 360-degree panorama for the crew.
Versatile at 40 feet
On the approximately 12.20 meter long boat you can go well his way, if you want to be for once for themselves. Because the double hull boat has an aft cockpit, two aft decks (on main as well as upper deck) and several sun terraces. “There is always a suitable place,” spoke the leopard.
Naval architect Alexander Simonis, who is responsible for the design for Simonis Voogd Design, explains the concept of the 40-foot cat. As a smaller version in the previous series, the goal was to build a boat that “offers a similar level of comfort and performance” to the Leopard 46 and Leopard 53.
View from the galley into the saloon with steering position to the right © Leopard
In the salon, the L-shaped galley is located on the port side. In front of it is a seating area, also L-shaped. Opposite on the starboard side is consequently the steering position. There is a wide corridor in between. Through a wide glass door the runs to the bow – and there leads over two steps to the terrace with two sun beds on the foredeck.
The real design challenge, Simonis said, was different. “The shorter a multihull is, the more sensitive it is to weight. And the more fragile the longitudinal equilibrium is,” says the con-structor. According to the shipyard, it solved this challenge with the help of flow calculations.
We have not yet been able to try this out in practice. The float test date scheduled for this summer with the Best of Boats Award crews is still to come.
Railing instead of railing around the upper deck
Instead of a massive railing, the entire open-air deck area is bordered by a sturdy railing. This allows an unobstructed view of the structure. At the rear, the central corridor also leads to the cockpit through a glass door. This is shielded from precipitation and sun for several meters thanks to the wide cantilevered roof aft.