Winning the Boat of the Year Award in 2013, the Leopard 48 set new standards for cruising catamarans by not only offering a large floor plan but also twin cockpits with its sleek design. By launching the Leopard 48 in replacement of its most successful 46-footer, the catamaran company incorporated the feedback received from yacht sailors and paid close attention to improve the seaworthiness of the vessel.
DESIGN – EXTERIOR & INTERIOR
The Leopard 48 catamaran is a product of South African builder Robertson and Caine and naval architects Alex Simonis and Voogd.
Boarding the Leopard 48 from the wide transom platform is easy and comfortable. First witnessed in the Leopard 44, the twin cockpits of the Leopard 48 have proven to be quite popular amongst those who prize the time spent outdoors while underway.
The aft cockpit is spacious and houses a U-shaped dinette to port as well as a lounge to starboard. While its white table and benches give a smooth boat-like impression, the teak wood finishing turns the area into an inviting living space. The aft cockpit is protected from the weather completely with a hardtop and allows easy access to the helm station and the saloon.
Like the aft cockpit, the forward cockpit of the Leopard 48 also offers a comfortable seating area. Entered from either the saloon or directly from the forward deck, the forward cockpit houses two opposing benches and a small table for drinks. It is completely protected from the weather with a fixed hard-top and a sliding shade, offering flexibility for the mood and the weather of the people living on board.
The helm station is situated at the aft cockpit and is reached by climbing three steps or from the starboard side deck. Its raised position enables it to take advantage of the full view of the catamaran. All the lines lead back to two winches and all the electronics, as well as engine controls, are well-placed by the station. Even though the Leopard 48 can be easily sailed short-hand, the helm seat is large enough to accommodate the skipper and a companion. The helm station itself is also protected by a mini-hardtop.
The saloon of the Leopard 48 is accessed via a sliding glass door from the aft cockpit. The fresh white aesthetic of the boat is carried forward into the saloon, making it look bright and modern. The windows in the saloon are angled and offer an almost panoramic view of the outside.
The main living area of the saloon consists of a U-shaped bench that boasts storage underneath it. Comfortable and expansive, the bench wraps around a large wooden dining table. The table is adjustable and can be converted into not only a coffee table but can also be lowered down further to transform it into a large bed.
The saloon also houses a compact L-shaped galley featuring a two-burner stove, an oven, a drawer fridge and freezer as well as a double sink. The position of the galley is ideal as the person preparing or serving the food can easily reach out into the aft cockpit and can also communicate with the helmsperson without leaving their position. The galley itself does not offer any more attractive features other than those that cater to the basic necessities such as storage in the cupboards, drawers, and underneath the flooring. However, the finishing of the countertops is something worth mentioning.
The navigation station is to port and tucked in the very corner of the saloon. It has a large charter desk and a full panel for all the necessary electronics. The navigation station’s seat, however, does not have a comfortable back rest.
The water-tight door to the forward cockpit is placed right next to the navigation station and once open, both the cockpits along with the saloon are integrated into one large living space.
The Leopard 48 catamaran offers either three or four-cabin layouts. Although the saloon and the cockpits of the catamaran are primarily white and modern, the interior of the boat is rich and luxurious. With Austrian walnut laminate flooring and cherry laminate cabinetry, it is very easy to feel warm and at home while living aboard the Leopard 48.
The three-cabin version of the Leopard 48 dedicates the entire starboard hull to the owner’s suite. The master bedroom, accessed through a sleek sliding door, has a large island bed with side access and a long, horizontal window. Outside the bedroom, there is a vanity table with ample storage space in the form of shelves and a big, comfortable sofa. The owner’s suite offers a separate head and a large, walk-in shower.
The rest of the two cabins to the port side of the catamaran also boast en-suite facilities. Both the cabins are bright, well-ventilated, and comfortable but the forward cabin offers more storage than the aft cabin. There is also an option of either a child bed or extra space for storage.
The Leopard 48 catamaran has an overall length of 14.75 meters and has a beam of 7.6 meters. The Leopard 48 has a total fuel capacity of 700 liters and total water capacity of 1000 liters. The total displacement of the catamaran is 14,460 kg and it has a total sail area of 144.5 sq. meters. The Leopard 48 is powered by two 39 HP engines.
The price of Leopard 48 varies from $500,000 to $700,000.
Almost identical to the popular Leopard 44, the Leopard 48 does offer some improved features for even better performance. Particularly noted for reduced noise and effective floor plan, the Leopard 48 seems to meet all the base-line requirements for offshore sailing and cruising.