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jkd
15th November 2009, 06:24 PM
The following is a review of the new Leopard 38 as seen at the Annapolis boat show Oct. 2009.
This review is solely based on my impressions and I welcome comments from others if they have a different impression of a feature than I do or if they have more information on an area that I have skipped over. Much of the info presented here may be a bit basic for the experienced operator but I think it best if I try to cover as much as I can and let the reader sort out what is helpful to them.
I start at the stern as this is the way my tour took;
The stern of the hulls (which would be a “sugar scoop” on a lot of boats do to the shape) is more of a visual addition to the hulls given it’s longer lower deck area (or bottom step). Initially when viewing the photo’s posted on this site and elsewhere I was less than enthusiastic about them, but after seeing them in person I rather like them. They provide a good wide area to dry off on upon exiting the water or stacking stuff onto when unloading a dinghy. The port platform holds the 4 step boarding ladder which is designed with large handholds built into the hinge/ mount fitting. The attach is robust but a bit obtrusive. Fortunately with the large deck area forward of this there is plenty of room still. The rudder post top fitting built into this deck surface and should be easy to service if needed. I neglected to ask but I suspect an emergency tiller would be easily fitted to the top of one of the posts through the cover on deck. The fuel tank vent is located outboard and just below the next step which has the engine access hatches. (It was reported to me that water ingress through the vent may have been an issue as the loop was not high enough to prevent back filling the tank. The lines were extended and a larger loop was installed, but this may be an area to double check) Another note in this area is a pair of pad eyes mounted though the hulls under the bridge deck for stern lines that you will need to locate by feel as they are forward about a foot and not terribly convenient.
The engine hatches are hinged outboard (nice feature so you don’t need to be standing on the scoop to access the compartment) and are made of a translucent material, dual gas openers and twin latches (in reviewing my photo’s for this, I seem to recall non-skid on these hatches but my photo’s show them see through when opened. I also do not remember the outside levers and whether they were truly flush or stood proud a bit). There has been much discussion about engine hatches located this close to the stern and low thereby exposing them to wave action from behind and I will not go into that here, but would suggest you do further research yourself. (Personally I like the engines outside the cabins and this is one way to do it) The area has drain channels aft of the inboard and outboard edges of the hatches so standing water at seal level should not be a problem. I have some concerns about the material the hatches are made of and their ability to withstand heat short term or long term as I do not know what they are made of but I suspect like all “non fiberglass” hatches these will weaken over time and this is where my concern arises. These hatches are the main stepping point to access the cockpit area and will take the full weight of all crew on a constant basis while boarding the boat or going forward. These hatches were installed as a component, I suspect, to be able to achieve a better seal against water intrusion than a fiberglass hatch added to the deck would have been.
The engines fitted to the boat are installed “backwards”, that is the drive leg is forward of the engine and the accessories are located towards the rear bulkhead of the compartment. This will place the weight aft of a more conventional setup but it allows more room in the aft cabins of the boat. The filters are outboard and easily accessible mounted on a fore aft support. Engine batteries are mounted low and forward (it would be nice to have these a bit higher to prevent flooding should water intrude into the compartment). Access to the internal area of the lower step area is through an inspection plate aft of the rudder post.
The cockpit is well laid out and open to the aft edge of the bridge deck since the traveler is hard top mounted. A raft storage/ seat with back rest that flips forward or aft forms the aft side of a horseshoe seating area. (This seat is the only position I could view forward through the front salon windows. Standing in the cockpit does not allow forward visibility as the coach roof is too high and you need to bend down to see through the forward windows)The back rest has a round cushion and I know many do not like this style for long term comfort at the helm so this may be a concern here as well. The outboard seating has a high comfortable back rest but the forward seating area has none and anyone seated there will be leaning against the sliding door which may be an issue by putting so much weight against the rollers and tracks of the door. If this was against the fixed portion it would not be as big an issue in my mind but the sliding portion is only supported top and bottom not a third side like the fixed door. The doorframe is also aluminum and not stainless so the strength and longevity may be less. The house batteries are located under this forward seat as well. This location has several good and bad points and I have just not decided on what wins out. Good; easy access, easy replacement, no gasses in the cabins if using open cell batteries (these were sealed). Bad; no room for extra batteries here, more exposed to the salt air (corroded terminals), having open cell batteries here would have them gassing next to the aluminum frame of the salon door. The slouch-ability index (places to really get comfortable) here is pretty good in my opinion, several good places to kick back and read a book or watch the world go by. The seating area however is not long enough in any direction to lie down and sleep on.
The helm station is a 2 step up affair with lots of real-estate for instrumentation; all gauges are easily readable with a small splash guard above. The engine cluster is behind the wheel and set back a bit, but does not pose a problem reaching the start/ stop and the gauges are slightly tilted for easy viewing. The small shelf area above the engine gauges and below the other instruments would be nice to add a fid to for holding some small stuff. Visibility when seated is good but you must be tall and standing for docking work here if you are trying to come port side to the dock. The sail controls lead to a pair of Harkin 44 self tailers set at 45 degrees to vertical and offset from each other. The lines lead across the salon roof over a stainless strip to the clutches and then to either winch. This setup is less than desirable to me as it adds friction to the run and will wear out the lines quicker. Some properly positioned rollers would be better. The ergonomics of the winch setup does allow better force throughout the cranking circle than a set of winches on the salon roof at chest or shoulder height like other boats. The inboard (and forward) of the 2 winches is too close to the throttle quadrant to use a standard handle on unless you disengage the transmissions and put the throttles in neutral full forward to gain the area required to spin a winch handle. This would only become a concern if you should forget and leave the throttles in this position and try to start the engines or if at some point you installed an electric fuel pump upstream (for fuel polishing etc) you might be pumping fuel to the engines while sailing, depending on your installation. There is enough room to add a couple of more clutches if you wanted to bring the main halyard and maybe one or 2 other lines back to the cockpit. Line storage is below the winches but would need to be expanded for the halyard and other lines are brought back. Did not try out the slouch-ability of the helm seat but in order to get your feet up and relaxed it might take some doing from the looks of things.
The hard top is a thick foam build up except where the attach points are. It has a cut out above the helm for sail viewing or standing up at the helm but has a zippered soft top close out to keep you out of the sun and rain. As previously stated the traveler is on top, and tied into the aft vertical supports. It is a bit shorter than I wish it were but I suspect this is due to the location of the support tubes being inboard from the edges by a foot and a half or so. The support bases also are the pivot points for the dinghy lift structure, which is basically a horseshoe bent at the closed end to hold the dinghy away from the boat. An electric motor in the bimini hard top raises and lowers the dinghy support structure and dinghy with lines attached to the top of the structure. This is pretty much the same system as the old Leopard 3800 but with the electric motor and bigger hardware/ tubing. I did not ask if there is a way to turn the motor manually in case of failure, hopefully someone else can answer this. I know that this 4 point hard top attachment has been used on various boats but I continue to have reservations about the amount of side loading this style mounting can withstand. This top fortunately has good side bracing at the upper attach points but the lower is only tied into the small tubing associated with the transom gate life lines. (FP and Lagoon do not even have this extra support). I wonder if the stresses will not show up eventually around the deck mount pads as they are only 4x6 inches and no matter what size or strength the back-up plates (I could not see them). Windscreen attach points allow easy install/ removal by way of grooved tracks on the hard top and the salon roof.
Moving forward, the side decks are flat with a molded toe rail. A couple of hatches need to be navigated in the deck but good hand holds are provided along the salon roof above the side windows. (these are much better that the molded in versions that FP uses as you can get your fingers all the way around and not just trying to hold on with your finger tips). Jib tracks inboard of the grab rails are short and limited use for sail shape (seen on most small production cats). The forward windows have an eyebrow built in above and the mast goes through this to be deck stepped (an additional wire feed is provided for additional items to be mast mounted, VHF, Radar etc). A curved tube attached to the forward lower side of the mast is used as a foot step to gain access to the cabin top for boom access (this ‘step’ is a bit inadequate for the purpose and will be slippery and uncomfortable for those going barefoot). A boom support is provided, 2 mast winches are located here for halyards and reefing work. No mounting points for additional blocks to lead lines back to the cockpit were noted. Water tanks, anchor chain and general storage located forward of the mast in huge lockers. (This storage area will hold all your fenders etc. with no issues.)
The anchor arraignment is fairly standard aft of crossbeam setup coming up under the tramp in the forward bridge deck area. The channel that the chain rides through is fully molded and should be easy to wash down as the chain is raised. This boat has ONLY a chain vertical windless so rope work will be by hand if you do not use all chain rode. There is an additional anchor roller on the crossbeam but it appeared a little under sized and not very sturdily fastened.
Interior review;
To the right of the sliding doors is the electrical panel/ nav station. The panel layout is clean but adding additional items will be a little tight due to somewhat limited space. Adding additional electronics to the helm position should be a snap with the panel directly behind it. The surface area of the counter top here makes for limited chart holding and will probably be used only for holding items removed from the fridge or freezer below. (Back to laying out charts on the salon table) The fridge/freezer is a built in 2 drawer unit that has good space and feels solid. I think even though the latches are strong looking I would add an additional latching device for heavy weather operation as you would have a lot of weight shifting trying to overcome the latches on the drawers. On the left is the galley which is a little small for counter space but quite serviceable, it has one of the first gimbaled stoves I have seen in sometime on a cat. (I like it). Storage in the cabinets is about the same as other 38 footers I have seen (it is always nice to have more). The salon roof on this boat has somewhat done away with headliners (has inserts that appear to be easily removable) and is a thicker build-up. This is something I first saw on the Voyage boats a few years ago and was noted on the new FP40 and Lagoon 400 at the show. For those with air-conditioning, I don’t know if this is going to cause more sweating issues or not. Anyway as it is cleaner looking and won’t likely bag in a few years, I like it. Now to those vertical windows; this is one of those subjects that has been beaten to death so I won’t linger. Yes they are more windage and could have issues if hit with heavy seas, the view is less obstructed than the old louver style though. I will leave it at that. There is some visual obstruction with the ‘wings’ going forward from the sides of the salon structure that I don’t understand the need for except styling. Salon dining area is sensible and long enough to stretch out on. (Would be nicer with a high low table set up). One note here is the manual bilge pumps attached to the salon seating base at the step down to the hulls.
I won’t spend much time on the accommodations as everyone can see the brochure photo’s and see what I saw on the lay out. A couple of noted items are the ports in the cabins (three opening in the aft cabins and two in the forward). Good airflow should be available. The last noted item is this boat has crash boxes installed in the bows! I have been looking for a small boat builder to do this for some time and scores extra points for me.
Final thoughts; the quality of the interior compared to the new FP 40 and Lagoon 400 introduced this year is astounding. This boat is miles ahead of the other two, this is mostly due to the other 2 being so bad. There are a number of small gaps in the woodwork etc that could be better but overall, truly no comparison. The polar's are listed on another thread here and show a boat that will not set records but should not be an embarrassment to sail either but I have not sailed it and rely on those that have to give us a full rundown. The weight and load carrying capability will be determined better once in service.
All comments welcome,
John

jkd
21st November 2009, 02:37 PM
I have received a note to suggest I correct or add some items on the above report, so I will do so here;

1) The stove is NOT gimbaled.
2) No life lines across the stern of the cockpit presents a serious hazard.
3) The refrigerator/ freezer drawers may become an issue with any rolling motion (trying to close on you while you have an arm in the drawer).
4) My concern about the life expectancy of the engine hatches is probably overblown due to their material.

If anyone else has some remarks for changes please let me know or just jump in here. I would like this to be as accurate as possible for anyone looking to purchase one of these boats.

John

IreAneY
21st November 2009, 04:23 PM
John, Excellent write up (hate having to say it, but credit where credit is due:mad:), I have read with interest your points about the hard top, I have only ever seen the 40 about 3 years ago at the Southampton Boat Show and I had some reservations about it's strength of fixings then, I also recall talking to a guy who had sailed it on a test sail in a decent breeze, said it went well but noticed twisting and flexing of the hard top, which did disturb him slightly:(.
Has anybody else noticed this when sailing either the 38 or 40, I also think they are a little to narrow in design compared to most other manufacturers, I know this has helped improve their performance but I would like a bit more beam and slender hulls.:)

searenitysail
23rd November 2009, 03:00 AM
We chartered a Moorings 4300/Leopard 43 in the BVI last February, while my friend chartered a Moorings 4000/Leopard 40.

There is a disclaimer on both boats re climbing or jumping off the hardtops. My crew adhered to the notice; Bill's crew (which included at least 2 members weighing in at over 200-225 lbs.) did not. While at anchor one day they spent the better part of an hour using the hardtop as a dive platform, with 2-3 on the top at times.

Didn't notice any flexing from my vantage point!

Marshall

JohnT
23rd November 2009, 07:33 AM
The first batch of Leopard 40’s had a 3 piece Targa that displayed severe twisting when the main applied severe side loads to the hardtop. The design was changed to a 1 piece Targa from somewhere near hull 20. This solved the problem of the hardtop twisting under severe side loads.

The warnings not to dive off the hardtop are purely for safety reasons. A wet foot will slip on the smooth GRP side of the hardtop resulting in severe injury to a person as they land on the side deck or safety railing, head first. A little thought needs to be exercised as to why the warning signs are there.

The Leopard 38 has no Targa and the hardtop is supported purely by SS support poles.


John

jkd
24th November 2009, 12:49 AM
Thanks John T.

Anything else you care to offer would be appreciated since you have more sea time in these than anyone else at this point.:)
I kind of skipped over the interior pretty quick on my write up. Did you find it livable for you and your crew?
Any thoughts on where to add the cruisers big items, watermaker, more batteries etc.?

John

paulrack
25th November 2009, 06:15 AM
I received the December issue of my Sail magazine last night. In their boats of the year article it was interesting to see that they chose the Leopard 385 over the Lipari 41 and Lagoon 400 in their cruising multihull section. In their analysis they said they thought it would be between the Lipari and Lagoon, but that was before they saw the leopard.

Careka
15th December 2009, 02:37 PM
paul
December issue of my Sail magazine

:eek: ? give me a name please.

Scott Woodruff
15th December 2009, 06:34 PM
http://www.leopardcatamarans.com/documents/SAILBESTBOATS2010lr.pdf

Scott Woodruff
15th December 2009, 10:24 PM
http://www.cruisingworld.com/boats-and-gear/boat-of-the-year/cruising-world-announces-2010-boty-winners-1000079270.html

JustCatamarans
16th December 2009, 01:03 AM
Our crew is busy outfitting the show Leopard 38 for the new owner, and each and every tech onboard is commenting non-stop that this cat tops the other cats in terms of build quality and design, everything is accesible, every system thought out to the T. I would agree that the 38 is a masterpiece!!

catamangos
28th December 2009, 10:06 AM
So this 384 looks like a successfull new coming !

In front of such a young competitor, I suppose that the good old 40' will disappear ; but Robertson can't build only a small 38' and a big 46' : do someone knows if a 41 or 42' is expected soon ?... Mister Morelli, I hope ?

Happy new year everybody ! Eric .

Scott Woodruff
28th December 2009, 03:42 PM
Eric,

It is our plan to introduce a new model in between the Leopard 38 and the Leopard 46. We have already started on this project but by the time that the plans are finalized, molds are built, the line is tooled etc... we do not expect to see this model in the water until the Miami Boat Show in 2011. As far as the design, this will be the same design team as we have used for the Leopard 37PC, 38, 40, 46 and 47PC, so yes Gino Morrelli will be involved in the design of this new model.

I hope this information is helpful. If you have additional questions, please do not hesitate to ask.

Kind Regards,
Scott Woodruff
Leopard Catamarans
Sales Manager
swoodruff@leopardcatamarans.com
Cell: (727) 366-1703

Tom and Maje
31st December 2009, 02:32 PM
Scott,
It will be interesting to see what they come up with.....

Tom

solarbri
3rd January 2010, 02:17 PM
Bump.
Anyone have a sailing review of this new boat?

brogan007
3rd January 2010, 04:24 PM
I'm 6ft 6" ..........anyone have an acurate headroom figure for the new 38?

JustCatamarans
3rd January 2010, 05:21 PM
I can measure the boat on Monday if you want those dimensions.
Kent

jkd
5th January 2010, 12:59 AM
Our crew is busy outfitting the show Leopard 38 for the new owner

Kent,

I assume you are working on the 3 cabin model from the show. Are you fitting the generator in the forward port locker and how is getting plumbed up for water cooling etc.? Is it going to pose any problems with the extra tank that boat had fitted? Any photo's and a run down of options being fitted would be great and probably a good showcase for the shop.;)
Any additional info you can provide is appreciated even if to correct my original post, as I would like to get as much info on file as possible.:)

John

JustCatamarans
5th January 2010, 01:30 AM
Kent,

I assume you are working on the 3 cabin model from the show. Are you fitting the generator in the forward port locker and how is getting plumbed up for water cooling etc.? Is it going to pose any problems with the extra tank that boat had fitted? Any photo's and a run down of options being fitted would be great and probably a good showcase for the shop.;)
Any additional info you can provide is appreciated even if to correct my original post, as I would like to get as much info on file as possible.:)

John

We have installed the genset where the water tank was in the port deck locker, outboard side. This was plumbed to a gas/water seperator that has the exhaust gas run aft and discharge alongside the stb engine discharge, the water drains inbetween the hulls stb mid. Racor 500FG fuel water/seperator and a dedicated start battery. we install the upgraded panel with oil/water gauges. The install is extremely quiet.
Also installed are pullpit seats, C120 widescreen with digital scanner,AIS,Sirius,TVdome,DSM500,Xantrex battery monitor,dimmers,Stidd double helmchair(alittle overkill). Removed the factory canvas helm bimini and fabricating Nomes hardtop for helm area 6" higher than cockpit hardtop.
Bimini enclosures/windshield/cushions.Lead main halyard aft to helm
I will take some updated pictures
Kent

JustCatamarans
5th January 2010, 01:31 AM
I'm 6ft 6" ..........anyone have an acurate headroom figure for the new 38?

From the salon sliding door to the salon table - 6'7", 6'4" going fwd around table.
port cabins 6'3", I did not get to measure the owners cabin but will do when I get a chance.

Kent

TYRNTLZRDKING
19th January 2010, 10:44 PM
Eric,

It is our plan to introduce a new model in between the Leopard 38 and the Leopard 46. We have already started on this project but by the time that the plans are finalized, molds are built, the line is tooled etc...

SHAFT DRIVE like the older 42 and 43's would be great option to have! Let me know it is available and I may sign up.

Brightside2
25th February 2010, 06:23 PM
Hi Kent.
I would be interested to see your updated pictures.
Regards
Mike

jkd
26th February 2010, 02:15 AM
Hi Kent.
I would be interested to see your updated pictures.
Regards
Mike

Me too. Also have you gotten any farther with estimates on the 4 to 3 cabin conversions for the older Leopards?

John

03geek
25th March 2010, 02:02 AM
We have installed the genset where the water tank was in the port deck locker, outboard side. This was plumbed to a gas/water seperator that has the exhaust gas run aft and discharge alongside the stb engine discharge, the water drains inbetween the hulls stb mid. Racor 500FG fuel water/seperator and a dedicated start battery. we install the upgraded panel with oil/water gauges. The install is extremely quiet.
Also installed are pullpit seats, C120 widescreen with digital scanner,AIS,Sirius,TVdome,DSM500,Xantrex battery monitor,dimmers,Stidd double helmchair(alittle overkill). Removed the factory canvas helm bimini and fabricating Nomes hardtop for helm area 6" higher than cockpit hardtop.
Bimini enclosures/windshield/cushions.Lead main halyard aft to helm
I will take some updated pictures
Kent

Kent,
Love to see some of those pictures of the cockpit hardtop, pullpit and helmchair upgrades, Bimini enclosure, as well as the re-routed main halyard-
Appreciate your sharing your experience!
Glen

03geek
15th April 2010, 05:09 PM
Photos of the latest 38 leaving Cape Town.
-Bowsprit
-Code 0
-Flat-top Main

http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?pid=11924291&id=145592030712

jkd
15th April 2010, 06:07 PM
Recently read that 2 L38's were de-masted during delivery. One happened on the way to Europe from Cape Town and the other was from China factory to Asia.
Anyone with any info or rumor control on these?:confused:

John

paulrack
16th April 2010, 02:08 PM
I asked around today and do not think it is true. There was one caught in a 100kt monsoon, but came through OK and carried on with the delivery. That is an extreme test for the boat.

jkd
16th April 2010, 02:30 PM
That is an extreme test for the boat.

I would have to agree with that statement!:D

Is the story posted anywhere? I'd like to read about that trip!;)

John

paulrack
16th April 2010, 02:54 PM
Here is the story


M&M-designed Sunsail 384 Survives 100-Knot Winds and 30-Meter Seas (http://morrellimelvin.wordpress.com/2009/12/03/sunsail-384-typhoon-mirinae/)

December 3, 2009



http://morrellimelvin.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/undersail.jpg?w=254&h=254 (http://morrellimelvin.files.wordpress.com/2009/11/undersail.jpg)The Sunsail 384 Catamaran survived typhoon Mirinae during delivery

Johann Spies, Thomas Donaldson and Mike Allan lived to tell the story of surviving typhoon Mirinae on a Morrelli & Melvin-designed Sunsail 384 in the middle of the South China Sea. The South Africans were making one of the initial deliveries of a Sunsail 384 when they were caught in a typhoon. They remained aboard the stable cruising platform rather than abandon ship with their survival gear and life raft.
Following the ordeal, Donaldson wrote, “We were on the verge of abandoning ship. I was just waiting for the boat to go over but for some reason it seemed to defy the laws of physics. We had only 29 horsepower to push a nine-ton boat with two more tons of water and fuel, and I honestly can’t believe that it saved us. I really thought we were done for.”
Donaldson continued, “All you could hear besides the howling wind and rain was the prop coming out of the water, and then smashing back in again as the pontoons jumped up and down. At full power we were doing less than half a knot against the swells, if not backwards, and more than 16 down the other side. Which is pretty fast when you consider that the boat can only do six knots in flat water with both engines running.”
After making minor repairs, the delivery team persevered with their delivery.
Mirinae claimed at least 57 lives, 20 of them in the Philippines and even more in Vietnam. It left thousands homeless.

cezary
12th February 2011, 04:26 AM
I am about to delivery a Moorings 3900 to Greece and i am apprehensive that there are 'No life lines across the stern of the cockpit which presents a serious hazard'. My delivery takes in the southern and Northern Atlantic where the seas can be quite hectic. The skip says he is going to lash a safety rope across the stern. An oversight by the manufacturer's no doubt in thinking this cat will only be sailed in calm seas.