This dream catcher takes cutting edge design and performance to dizzy new heights.
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA
From the smallest of sailing skiffs to giant supertankers, boat launchings are always a celebration of both achievement during construction and more especially what’s in prospect once the vessel fulfills its true purpose. In the case of the new Leopard Powercat 53, that purpose is to provide great enjoyment, comfort, style and performance so that those lucky enough to step aboard can fulfil their dreams on the water.
It was therefore with great pride and excitement that Hull No 1 of the new model Leopard 53 Powercat was led out of the factory by the Leopard Catamaran team in October last year to celebrate the formal launch of this exciting new model destined to become a winner for manufacturer Robertson and Caine and its designer Alex Simonis. There’s a compelling photograph of this special occasion that’s well worth a look on the Leopard Catamaran website.
It’s an exhaustive process to take a new Leopard model from concept, through the R&D phase to mock-up, countless refinements and ultimately a completed vessel able to undertake sea trials before final sign-off and
eventual release to the market.
Leopard Australia’s David Flynn and Wayne Richards visited Cape Town soon after the launch ceremony to join Robertson and Caine’s US based Peter Robertson, along with Leopard’s Global Vice President Yacht Ownership and Product Development Franck Bauguil, designer Alex Simonis and others for the week-long program of sea trials off the Cape Town coastline. David says that to describe weather conditions for these sea trials as boisterous would be an understatement.
Torrential rain, gusty winds and an elevated sea state along the rugged coastlinemade for exactly the right conditions to push the Powercat 53 to its limits. “Evolving from the decades-long design and build heritage of the impressive Robertson and Caine and Simonis Voogd partnership, there’s no question that this boat is about to re-write the rule book on performance and comfort when it comes to lifestyle on the water,” said David.
“Tooling and finishes are superb. Robustness and sophistication of the engineering is seriously impressive, its fresh new look and Euro styling and of course, reliability that comes about from built-in quality and smart thinking guarantees it will shake up the market and go hard against any of the fast mono hulls,” David adds.
Pushing the boat to its limits of around 24kts in 20kts of breeze, all on board agreed how smoothly the trial boat pushed through the challenging sea and weather conditions. “There was no slamming and the motion was purposeful. It felt like a much larger vessel ironing out the waves, regardless of their direction in relation to the boat,” said David. It’s where you see the payoff from such a highly evolved hull design,” he added.
These trials were the culmination of all the design and build work that had gone into bringing this model to life. They were also a great validation of the quality of that work and a portent of what’s to come as the Powercat 53 makes its mark in all the world’s great cruising hubs. Oh, and it should come as no surprise that the Leopard 53 Powercat has taken out the 2020 ‘Multihull of The Year’ award for best Powercat in the over 50ft category.
Pleasing news out of the Leopard factory in Cape Town is that production remains uninterrupted by the COVID 19 crisis as they ramp up to satisfy a growing order book.
For a virtual tour of the Leopard Powercat 53 visit: www.leopardcatamarans.com/virtual-boat-show
Rock star debut at Miami Boat Show for Leopard’s Powerboat 53
It’s 2500km or 6650nm as the albatross flies from the factory in Cape Town S.A. to Miami Florida in the USA where the first two Leopard Powercat 53’s (Hulls number 1 and 2) made their debut to great applause at the Miami International Boat Show held in early February this year.
Now celebrating its 79th year in Miami, this annual tradition for more than 100,000 boating enthusiasts continues to be the ideal destination to discover the biggest and best selection of boats and marine products in the world. That the event occurred before COVID-19 travel restrictions kicked in was indeed a stroke of the best kind of good fortune.
Leopard Australia’s Peter Devers and Wayne Richards made their way from the company’s Queensland base to Miami for the North American launch of Leopard’s new Powercat 53 to gauge the reaction from both the US marine industry and potential customers in that part of the world, and of course to witness first-hand the interest in this exciting new model play out during the show. It was also the perfect opportunity to meet with fiercely loyal Leopard owners in that part of the world and catch up with Franck Bauguil, Leopard’s Global Vice President Yacht Ownership & Product Development and to get his views on this ground-breaking new model.
“For two Aussies, visiting this show, we were warmly welcomed by the Leopard family,” said Peter. “The Friday night party was a particularly pleasant occasion, offering a great opportunity to mingle with the owners. I was struck by how much they love their boats. Franck said that one of the defining traits was how vocal owners are about how well their boats sail and how strong they are. Also joining in were very loyal Sunsail and Moorings owners. Many have had more than five boats in ownership programs and some even seven, over 35 years with the company. Franck said occasions like this are a great opportunity to put prospective customers together with current owners to talk about their experience with Leopard or with a charter boat. Naturally, I was impressed with this level of trust and openness,” added Peter. “And as with any event like this, you get to meet some great people, have some fun, take some photos and talk with those who’ve opted for a life on the water. It was especially inspiring to meet Youtuber personalities like Nikki and Jason Wynn with their compelling series ‘Gone with the Wynns’, and Lennie and Randy on S/V Happy Together as both couples travel the world on their Leopard catamarans.”
A total of eight Leopards were on parade across the two show locations. The two Powercat 53’s joined six other models in the Leopard sail and power parade. Six, including one of the 53’s, were lined up at Virginia Key with the other 53 Powercat and a 43 Powercat located at the Downtown Powerboat Show about five kilometres away. A Demo 43 Powercat was deployed as a shuttle to ferry staff and VIP’s between the two locations. This was just one example of how Team Leopard pulled out all stops to ensure the utmost convenience for show visitors. Interestingly, Franck said both the 53 Powercats, making their debut at this show had been sold months beforehand based solely on the drawings and renderings.
“To see this many Leopard catamarans lined up in show mode was a real eye-opener,” said Peter. This was especially so with the new Powercat 53 distinguishing itself as such an exceptional looking boat with its cutting-edge styling and so many enhanced features so perfectly suited to cruising in our part of the world,” Peter added.
Leopard Australia’s commissioning manager for Leopard catamarans arriving in the Australian and New Zealand markets, Wayne Richards especially liked the engineering and layout upgrades in this new model. “Huge locker spaces, proper bulkhead separation and easy access to the engine compartments, serious engine noise attenuation, all electrics located on one side and the shore power retrieval system all make so much sense,” says Wayne. “Everything has been finessed to an extraordinarily high standard,” he added.
“The shore power cord electrical retriever is a motor yacht feature that is both practical and very useful, especially with the big 50amp shore power cord of the 53PC. The port engine compartment comprises the genset with its own battery and charger, along with chilled water, air conditioning and heating systems. The starboard engine compartment accommodates the transformers, inverters, house batteries and watermaker. Each engine has dedicated starter batteries. And the 53PC shore power system can plug into either 110v or 220v shore power supply,” says Wayne.
With production at the Cape Town factory uninterrupted and ramping up to respond to the rapidly growing order book, delivery of new models to Australian and New Zealand waters is now slated for calendar 2021 and 2022. This is great news for Leopard fans where this new model will feel right at home in our part of the world blessed with so many splendid cruising destinations.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has been a threat to much of what we value, it has also given us opportunities to reinvent livelihoods and lifestyles by reconfiguring work and family relationships. It has offered a stimulus to a reconstruction of what makes life worthwhile. When times have been tough, there seems to be a keener interest in, and appreciation of quality. There’s also time for research, reassessment and recognition that we can take our work and lifestyles anywhere, far away from busy cities to places where the natural world nurtures. And the psychology of optimism is vital to allow the dreams and visions of today to become the reality of tomorrow. What better way to align concepts of quality, renaissance and lifestyle than by stepping aboard the magnificent Leopard Powercat 53 and calling it home!
LET ME BE FRANCK ...
Franck Bauguil, Leopard’s Global Vice President Yacht Ownership & Product Development has a global line of sight across the full range of Leopard catamaran models, ownership options and chartering programs throughout the world’s most exotic sailing grounds including the US East Coast, the Caribbean, Seychelles, Mediterranean, South East Asia, Australasia and the South Pacific.
He was front and centre at the recent Miami International Boat Show to welcome the arrival of the first two stunning new Powercat 53’s from Leopard’s Cape Town factory, and here he offers his perspectives and insights on what he believes will be a genuine game changer for those wanting the ultimate combination of style, performance and value on the water.
“The Miami Boat Show is without doubt the best way to introduce a new model to the North American market and the recent 2020 show was no exception. This year across the range, we sold 22 boats worth more than US$20m. This was up 11% on the previous year and included orders for six of the new 53 Powercats, referred to within the Leopard family as the 53PC.
This new model is very special for several reasons says Franck. Firstly, it’s the remarkable level of comfort both at the anchor and at sea. It’s an incredible feeling to sit in a plush couch while going at 23kts in a 3m swell. This is what the 53PC can do, and it does it with a feeling of ease. The design combines the comfort and features of a motor yacht with the stability and efficiency of a catamaran.
Secondly, a massive gain in efficiency has been achieved over and above its predecessor, the 51PC. To design a boat that is 31% larger and 3 tonnes heavier, while delivering the same performance with the same engine, the twin 370hp Yanmar was an incredible achievement by respected naval architect Alex Simonis. His challenge was to work out how to design a hull shape which is less sensitive to trim over a range of loading conditions at different speeds. Following an extensive Computational Fluid Dynamics program with NUMECA in Germany, Alex was able find the perfect balance between the trim generated by the bow wave and the downward force of the propellers. The tunnel design on the 53PC works to keep the boat level over a range of speeds and conditions. The resulting speed and fuel efficiency dividends can be as high as 22% when compared to vessels with similar Power to Weight ratios.
And thirdly, the efficiency gains, along with a raft of class-leading new features have been achieved above deck as well. The massive, easy access engine rooms now accommodate all systems behind the main bulkhead, dramatically minimising noise levels inside the yacht. The level of finish is of the highest standard and the feeling of spaciousness on this boat is exceptional. Extra attention has been given to the owner’s cabin that includes a large wide island berth, generous storage, a sofa, a walk-in closet and a large head and shower.
In the shared living area, Leopard has created the perfect blending of lounge and galley space. The galley is outfitted with full size premium refrigerator/freezers with purified water and ice dispenser, Staron® worktop surfaces, four-burner stove, microwave oven, sink and tapware, and there’s ample amounts of storage.
And finally, there’s the new inside steering station, more lounging space in the aft cockpit, and on both the fly bridge and foredeck. All in all, it’s an absolute rock star of a boat.
Unsurprisingly, the general reaction to this model and feedback from show goers was outstanding, reflected in the six orders taken at the Miami Show and an additional 11 confirmed private orders during the following few months. And we’re now looking forward to seeing this outstanding gamechanger win the support it deserves in the cruising world, particularly in Australian and New Zealand waters where it is so well suited to their climate, conditions and cruising opportunities.”