The Leopard 42 is the new “baby” of the range now that Leopard have stopped producing the 40. Designed by Naval architects Simonis Voogd and built by South Africans Robertson and Caine, the new 42 sports the new boxy, muscly look but still manages to look sleek even with that forward cockpit overhang.
They have done a great design upgrade job here, and this new model is proving to be wildly popular with buyers. In a competitive market between boats like the Lagoon 55 and the Fountaine Pajot Isla 40, Leopard are punching above their weight with this cat.
This boat has evolved from the Leopard 45 and 50 models.
As well as the ever popular forward cockpit that is accessible directly from the saloon, the 42 has a fly-lounge (“coach-roof lounge”) with an L-Shaped setee and back-rest, plus a table giving you the benefit of an additional relaxation area without pushing the boom too high. This has inspired other manufacturers to follow suit (like the Excess 14 for example, which also has a lounge option).
Sun Downer anyone? I don’t mind if I do…..
- Good value for money for a design that has evolved from years of customer and charter feedback
- The connected forward cockpit is a game changer for accessing the foredeck and windlass safely
- The fly-lounge is a neat compromise. More living space and the boom is still kept low
- The living space is huge. The Leopard 42 feels like a 48 footer.
- Decent performance for a cruising catamaran when the breeze freshens
- The Leopard is sluggish in light airs and will slip sideways close to the wind. You might need an engine to help if the wind drops off
- This yacht is definitely sleeker than her predecessor, but that forward cockpit overhang lends the boat a chunky look.
- There are some blind spots from the raised helm. You will need to duck and dive a bit coming in.
- With the overlapping genoa, she takes more effort to tack than other yachts that fly self tacking jibs.
This boat, like the 50 and the 45, looks like it could handle a sea and like a Fountaine Pajot, she is powered with a 110% overlapping genoa rather than a self tacking solent. What you lose in ease of tacking, you win in lighter airs. The mainsheet is configured in a bridle set up like a Catana (no traveller) which gives you lots of control in setting your sail shape.
The helm station is raised on the starboard side with all lines easily accessible. Visibility of all 4 corners of the boat is good from up here.
The sail plan should get you punching through the waves at 8 to 9 knots in a decent breeze, and with a Code 0 or gennaker flying off the bowsprit, she’s lively enough in calmer conditions. In a really light breeze, you might need to stick the leeward engine on like many cruising catamarans. That is your space/performance trade off.
If you opt for the Performance Pack (bigger Square Top Mainsail, Folding Props), you should squeeze an additional 1-2 knots out of her.
The Leopard 42 comes into her own when we start talking about living space. Up top, you are on one level all the way from the aft dining area through the saloon and into the forward cockpit through the forward door. The aft seat back-rest can be switched so that you are facing forwards or aft- a nice touch.
There are no seats in the 42 forward cockpit area unlike the 45, but big sunbeds with storage below for sails or a generator.
Up front, the 42 has crash-boxes in the hulls with watertight bulkheads forwards of the cabins.
The helm is situated on the main starboard bulkhead like many South African cats. There’s a hard bimini with a window overhead, so you can trim the mainsail. Head up from the helm at anchor and you are in the L-shaped fly-lounge.
The saloon has big wrap around windows and a skylight strip. The saloon sofa is set aft so that you are connected with the aft dining area, and the galley is placed forward. There is a nav station to port
The space and light continues down below. Like many production cats, the Lagoon 42 is available as a three-cabin owner’s version, with the master suite to starboard. The space down here is huge, from the wide berth all the way forward to the shower. Fibreglass bulkheads ensure a strong open structure in the hulls.
The cabins are larger and lighter then her predecessor.
There is also the charter configuration with four cabins and four heads. The Leopard 42 is big enough to soak up the extra berths and heads.
The saloon is also spacious with sofas, a forward galley to starboard corner and a nav station to port.
Headroom is now just over 2m, or 6ft 7in in the saloon.
One nice feature is the purifying tap in the galley which will help keep your plastic bottle count down to a minimum. Options include lithium batteries, a generator, air conditioning, fresh water maker, solar and so on. You’ll have all of the usual difficult decisions to make when balancing your budget.
The standard set up is twin 45hp Yanmar diesels with sail drives that give a cruising speed of around 8-9 knots in flat condition.
Leopard 42 Polar Diagram
This is a strong design update from Leopard and Simonis Voogd. It’s prettier than her predecessor, a solid looking boat that moves well in a decent breeze with market leading living space.
What is the price of a Leopard 42? How much does this catamaran cost?
We will qualify this with the usual “it depends on your options”, but to give you a ball park sail away price with an average fit level, you are looking in the region of €600k ($700k) plus taxes. You get a lot for your money with this cat.