Sitting at the flybridge helm station aboard the new Leopard 40 power cat, taking in the view of Biscayne Bay and the Miami skyline, was an excellent way to spend a sunny February morning. It was the day after the 2023 Miami International Boat Show, where the latest model from South African builder Robertson and Caine had made its world debut. I was thoroughly enjoying my allotted time at the helm.
Did I mention that I was a thousand or so miles from the snow and ice back home in New England? Or that the three-person helm seat was far comfier than a similar-size chairlift on any ski hill? Or that the table, surrounded by an L-shaped couch directly behind me—never mind the adjacent chaise abutting a counter with grill, sink and fridge—promised nothing but fun times for both skipper and crew?
With another nine hulls already in the works, and more to come by year’s end when production is fully ramped up, the boat will soon be available for charter vacations with The Moorings. At first, it will be in the British Virgin Islands, the Bahamas, Croatia and Greece, and eventually, it will join the company’s bases worldwide.
Off the Florida coast, we monitored miles per gallon at 500 rpm increments. In slow motion (1,000 rpm), the twin 370 hp Yanmar diesels sipped fuel at an estimated rate of 4.8 miles to the gallon. The boat’s sweet spot—3,000 rpm, where we cranked along at 17 knots—came at a cost of 0.8 miles per gallon. Any more or less, and efficiency dropped, according to onboard gauges. Top speed was a little better than 22 knots.
At cruising speed, the boat’s hydraulic steering felt nimble and responsive as I cranked the wheel into a turn. Conditions were fairly calm, but crossing our own wake, the 40 PC plowed on through the chop without missing a beat.
At low speed, the 40 PC turned easily when I adjusted the twin fly-by-wire throttles and shifted between forward and reverse. The sailor in me wondered if the builder really needed to include a bow thruster in the port bow, though the feature had made getting out of the tight slip at the marina a simple enough maneuver. For extra-tight quarters with a shorthanded crew, cameras can monitor the stern and bow, and deliver the imagery to either of the twin Raymarine displays at the upstairs helm station.
The 40 PC joins a lineup that includes the Leopard 46 PC (also sold as the Moorings 464) and Robertson and Caine’s flagship on the power side, the Leopard 53 PC.
A word of explanation here: Robertson and Caine enjoys a somewhat unusual relationship with Travelopia, which owns The Moorings and Sunsail, and oversees the Leopard sales team. All of Robertson and Caine’s sailing catamarans go into the charter companies’ fleets or are sold to private owners as Leopard Catamarans. Robertson and Caine’s power models are branded as Leopards or Moorings models, depending on how an owner plans to use the boat. All of Robertson and Caine’s current models—power and sail—are developed by the in-house design team, along with Alex Simonis of naval architecture firm Simonis and Voogd, and Franck Bauguil, vice president of yacht ownership and product development at Travelopia. Bauguil also manages sales of all three brands.
At present, he says, approximately half of Robertson and Caine’s sailboats are sold for charter, and half are for private use. The same is expected to be true for the 40 PC. Robertson and Caine plans to build 20 of the boats this year and increase the number to 31 next year. A well-equipped model, delivered from South Africa to the United States ready to go, comes in at under $1.2 million.
The three current power models comprise the fourth generation of power vessels from Robertson and Caine in terms of design. Previous generations shared some furniture modules with boats from the sail side, but Bauguil says that this new line started with a blank sheet of paper. The result is increased volume for interior accommodations without disturbing performance.
The boat in Miami was powered by optional twin 370 hp Yanmar diesels. Charter models are fitted out with 350 hp Yanmars, and 250 hp Yanmars are also available. Tankage is cruiser-friendly, with 370 gallons of fuel and 170 gallons of water.
Aboard the 40 PC, the owner’s stateroom occupies the starboard hull. It has a queen berth aft and a head compartment forward with a shower in the forepeak. Amidships are a desk and television, hanging lockers, and a fair amount of stowage.
The port hull includes guest staterooms fore and aft, each with a queen berth, and a shared head between them.
It’s bright and airy in the salon, thanks to windows that offer a near 360-degree view, a sliding door that opens to the cockpit, and another door forward that leads to the foredeck, where a couple of cushioned sun beds await. The cockpit is shaded by the flybridge, with a cushioned seat across the transom, and a dining table.
The salon itself is well-laid-out, with an indoor helm station tucked into the forward starboard corner. To port, an L-shaped couch surrounds a coffee table (a dining table is optional); opposite is an upholstered chair. The galley is adjacent to the cockpit, with a full-size, home-style fridge to starboard and an L-shaped counter to port that includes an induction stove top, a convection microwave oven, a sink, and a dishwasher.
On deck, a solid stainless-steel rail around the boat provides secure handholds for moving about underway.
Inside and out, the lines of the 40 PC are sharp and stylish. Bauguil says early orders indicate that the boat is appealing not only to multihull sailors who want to make a jump into power, but also to powerboaters looking for the efficiency gained by two hulls. As for charterers, I can state it pure and simple: Put me on a 40 PC somewhere warm and sunny for a week, and I’ll guarantee a good time.
Leopard 40 Power Cat Specifications
|ENGINE||2x 370 hp Yanmar (as tested)|
|DESIGNER||Robertson and Caine|
|PRICE||$1.2 million (as tested)|