Leopard 47' as a cruising liveaboard? - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 20 Old 04-13-2007 Thread Starter
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Leopard 47' as a cruising liveaboard?

G'day all
We are a family of 4, 7yr daughter & 4yr son who are selling up & sailing. We've sold the house!, now need a boat.
The plan is to buy in the Caribbean & get it sailed to the Med where we will start gently cruising 'till we get the hang of things.

So, any experience with the Leopard (Robertson & Caine) 47', she seems solid, seaworthy (by Cat standards), able to carry the weight we will create, and have space to liveaboard.

Any comments/suggestions?

There are related questions re VAT, CE & the Med rules??, length of stay etc etc, but that'll come later. For now i'm interested in the Leopard as a safe familly platform for extended cruising.

Thank you
Jono
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post #2 of 20 Old 04-13-2007
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post #3 of 20 Old 04-13-2007
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While I haven't sailed on the Leopards, I understand that they're very nice cats. I've sailed on a Gunboat 48, which I believe is designed by the same designer as the Leopards, Melvin and Morelli. Is there any particular reason you chose the Leopards?

Weight is always an issue on any multihull.

Are you planning on buying new or used?

It would help if you said where you plan on registering the boat... as that will affect VAT, CE, and Med import rules. It would also help if you said where you were from and what citizenship you hold, as that also has some bearing on the issues you're asking about.

Do you plan delivering the boat to the Med yourself or hiring a delivery captain to do so?

edit: BF- LOL... didn't see your post until after I posted mine.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-13-2007 at 10:25 PM.
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post #4 of 20 Old 04-13-2007
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It sounds like you might be looking at a used charter boat, since you mention buying in the Caribbean. That would be helpful info as well, to give better advice.

John
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post #5 of 20 Old 04-13-2007
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Good point PB..

The charter boats are often in pretty rough shape... since they're often used by less than excellent sailors, who don't have the problem of ownership, so the care they take may not be as careful as it should be. Also, I've noticed that with any large piece of equipment, cars, trucks, forklifts, sailboats, etc, the more operators you have, generally the worse shape it will be in...

The other problem with the charter boats, is that often the gear is minimally sized. Instead of getting a ST48 winch, they'll get the ST40 winch, since it will do the job, but just barely... and they pocket the savings...

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #6 of 20 Old 04-14-2007 Thread Starter
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That was quick!
We live in Australia & have applied for citizenship, but we (adults) are English by birth & the kids Aussies. So we should have dual citizenship by the time we leave (early July).
Registering the boat? We have no firm ideas yet as we don't understand all the implications around this.
We don't necessarily want to import it to Europe, the plan, if we think we are up to it, would be to sail it back to NZ/Oz and sell her there.
It is quite possible we will spend two years in the Med.
Ideally I will sail her over initially with a hired skipper, but there is the work/time mix involved in that!
Why a Leopard: for our budget, they seem the most seaworthy, strong allround liveaboard.
Yes, it will probably be a ex charter boat and we are prepared to spend money bringing her up to our spec. Some of the neglected privately owned boats scare me equally as much. Hopefully the budget will stretch to a later model which will not have had as much abuse.

There are some good looking Leopard 45's which are privately owned and appear to have been well maintained, so they are an option.

Hope that helps some.
Cheers
Jono
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post #7 of 20 Old 04-14-2007
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Jono-

Given the size of the boat, I would go with the smaller 45s, that have been privately owned. The space difference is not going to make that much of a difference once you're up past 40' IMHO... Especially given that your children are relatively young. A privately owned boat is much more likely to have been abused less, have less wear and tear and have better upgrades, as private owners tend to like their toys and put them on their boats, where charter boats usually have the minimum expected.

The problem I see is that you can't stay in the EU waters for two years without paying the VAT and essentially importing the boat, so you'd have duck out of the EU waters for a bit during that time frame. That shouldn't be a big issue IMHO, given the capabilities of the boat.

However, when you bring the boat to Australia, you will definitely be paying the import duties and taxes on it there. I'm sure our Aussie and Kiwi fellows can chime in on this.

If you will have your Austrailian citizenship by the time you are ready to go, I would recommend that you register and flag the vessel in Austrailia. The paperwork for doing that will probably be less complicated that flagging it in another country, except possibly the UK.

However, flagging it in Australia will prevent any problems with VAT and such if you should decide to visit the UK with the boat on your way over to the Med. If it were flagged in the UK, you would then be responsible for paying the VAT and making sure it had EU RCD certification upon entering UK waters. By registering it in Australia, you avoid the EU RCD certification requirement and the VAT problems.

I hope that helps.

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Last edited by sailingdog; 04-14-2007 at 07:19 AM.
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post #8 of 20 Old 04-15-2007
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Hmmmm.. I just found that I had registered here in 2001 and not been back! Okay, a few years ago I crewed on a delivery of a Leopard 47 (Moorings 4700) to Ft. Lauderdale via Cape Hatteras.... I was NOT impressed by the sailing. Off the wind no problem, which is true of most boats. Beating to windward it was very uncomfortable; felt like 100 midgets all w/ rubber mallets were beating on the hulls!
Now, I will admit this was my first (and only) time at sea on a Cat. but I didn't like it. The hefty cross member would slam into waves that weren't all that big (4-5') and just shake the whole boat. I have several thousand miles of blue water sailing, about a third under race conditions, and usually sleep pretty well at sea; I slept like crap the whole trip.
I also did not like the fact that you basically have to leave the "cockpit" and get up to trim the main. I felt very exposed. One good jolt and I'd have been thrown to the hull and it wouldn't have been pretty.


THAT SAID... it was REALLY nice to be able to walk around the cabin, fix something to eat and in general feel comfortable even at sea. And taking a HOT shower underway was reallllllllyyyyyy nice. The model we were moving had the hard top which I would highly recommend.

Think you'd probably do better w/ something a little smaller though. Maybe like 40'. I know too many people who bought too much boat, including a former coworker that bought a Grand Banks 49' trawler w/o EVERY owning a boat before; he sold it a year and a half later at a big loss.

Hope I'm not raining on your parade, have fun and good luck!
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post #9 of 20 Old 04-15-2007
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Slamming of the bridgedeck under rougher conditions is a pretty common problem. The problem a lot of catamarans have is that they have a lot of windage, and that can make their windward performance and their ability to tack less than stellar. Trimarans generally have much better sailing performance, and tack much like a monohull, since they tend to pivot around the main hull.

The motion on a multihull is very different from that of a monohull. It tends to be faster, since the boat doesn't have a heavy keel to give it the inertial mass a monohull has.

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—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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post #10 of 20 Old 04-15-2007
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The motion on a multihull is very different from that of a monohull. It tends to be faster, since the boat doesn't have a heavy keel to give it the inertial mass a monohull has.
Going to windward the Leopard was NOT all that great a performer. Off the wind it was, but so are most other boats. For a Catamaran I would have expected a little more speed. And the 47 has two shallow keels w/ a ton or so of lead in them to keep them from capsizing, but tends to give it some inertia. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing; lightweight boats tend to STOP in heavy seas instead of carrying through.

I PERSONALLY would not want one for blue water cruising. Gunking around the islands w/ some friends it would be one hell of a party platform though!
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