Barry 2019-02-21

Leopard was an early adopter of the power catamaran concept and it's experience clearly shows in its flagship 51PC, writes Kevin Green.  

Dealers are always happy with popular models so with hull number 100 launched the Leopard 51PC (15.54m) is a well proven boat with four already in Australia since its 2015 inception. Along with the smaller sibling the 43PC these boats represent the South African builder's offering for both the recreational and the charter markets.

Three levels of living space plus cockpits fore and aft means you could invite your local footie team for a barbecue and still have room for the opposition as well. Towering over proceedings is the huge flybridge that extends to the aft of the 51PC. Climbing up here via the wide and gently inclined stairway from safely inside the aft cockpit brings me to a covered area with lounge that seats eight, along with wet bar. Offset to port at the front is the steering console, with a lip ahead that is a sunbathing platform and also shades the forepart of the saloon and front cockpit.

Apartment like living is revealed when you enter the saloon thanks to the 7.64m beam creating a vast space to relax, cook and navigate in. The galley adjoins the aft deck so ideal for serving the outside diners while at the front is the navigation station and lounge offset to the right. Versatility is feature of these boats and demonstrated well on the 51PC with the U-shaped saloon benches that lower to become a day bed.

Stepping down into the starboard hull brings me to the owner's suite, which has a spacious bathroom with shower cubicle separated by a perspex door and electric saltwater head. Portside, the layout has two bathrooms central and berths fore and aft. Both 3-cabin and 4-cabin versions have space in the fore peaks to take additional single berths or heads.

On deck, the entire aft cockpit is sheltered by the flybridge and the elongated hulls create bathing platforms on both quarters. For outside dining in the aft cockpit there's the U-shaped bench with fibreglass table plus another bench to starboard; and swinging backrests give access to lockers The sliding doors allows food to be quickly passed out from the adjoining galley. Forward in the saloon is a sturdy door leading to the bow cockpit, which is a signature Leopard feature intended to fully utilise all deck space safely.

The Simonis-Voogd design is very similar to their previous work with the company so continues with the tall narrow hulls, optimised to reduce drag, (20 knots top speed) especially at the fine bows where there is fairly high bridge deck clearance to reduce wave friction.

My conclusion is the 51PC is a strong contender in the competitive power catamaran market. To read a full review check out the Mar-Apr 2019 issue of Pacific PowerBoat (On Sale Feb 28th)


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