SAIL’s Review

Boat Review: Leopard 45
APR 19, 2017

An unconventional design that works well both underway and at anchor

The new Leopard 45 (also available as the Moorings 4500) evolved from the 2012 Leopard 44 with a number of features that make it an even better platform for charter and cruising. Traditionalists will question the large forward cockpit layout for offshore voyaging, but owners have logged thousands of safe sea miles in similar boats, so it’s a proven design.


Veteran South African boatbuilder Robertson & Caine builds substantial boats, so you will find no shortcuts or questionable practices in the Leopard line. The basic construction, auxiliary systems and powerplant installations are all top grade.

Layup is conventional fiberglass and even hidden areas are finished smoothly. Everything fits together precisely, from molded parts to interior joinery. Engine access is good and common maintenance points are easy to reach.


The foredeck of recent Leopard designs is a bit controversial. Conventional wisdom says that multihulls are sensitive to weight in the ends, especially forward, and that the foredeck should be open, not solid, to allow large waves to pass easily. Staring at a huge foredeck lounge on the Leopard 45 seems to contradict that notion. Not only that, but there’s even more weight forward on the 45, with the water tanks and a generator mounted below a solid deck ahead of the forward cockpit. Videos of the boat underway appear to show the leeward bow plowing through the waves when reaching in moderate conditions.

Cruising World’s Review

Leopard 45
The sight lines from multiple living and social spaces aboard the Leopard 45 let you focus on the watery world around you.

August 2, 2017

In private-owner mode, the square-top mainsail, overlapping jib and screecher provide plenty of power.

Off on a charter vacation, friends want to party together, couples may seek out nooks of their own and families will cherish a place for the kids to romp while the folks enjoy their chill time. Some like to sunbathe, others prefer shade. The skipper could be an old salt or a recent grad of a learn-to-sail program who needs a hand pulling the strings. Some come for the sailing, others for the revelry. And no one, I repeat, no one wants to get stuck in the smallest cabin, with a shared head.

What’s a designer to do?

In the case of the new Leopard 45 catamaran, which made its North American debut last fall at the U.S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, naval architect Alex Simonis carefully considered the design brief put together by the single largest buyer of sailboats on the planet — the parent company of Sunsail, The Moorings and Leopard Catamarans brands — and then he stretched the design envelope to create what CW’s Boat of the Year judges named Best Charter Boat for 2017.

South Africa’s Robertson and Caine is the sole supplier of catamarans for Travelopia Marine, formerly TUI Marine. Charter versions of their boats (four heads, four cabins) are sold into The Moorings and Sunsail fleets worldwide. The remaining 45 percent of the company’s annual output goes to Leopard owners, who overwhelmingly opt for a three-cabin, three-head layout, with the owners suite occupying an entire hull.

Canadian Yachting’s Review

By: Katherine Stone
Photos supplied by Leopard Catamarans except where noted

Fast, spacious and stable – the Leopard 45 is the stuff dreams are made of!

During those cold, cold, sunless, dreary months of January and February, I want to remember the fun I had in the sun on the water. Did someone say charter? In warm weather?In warm waters?

If you plan on chartering when the weather in Canada is less than ideal (mmmmm…that’s two months of bad sledding), then I suggest you charter, purchase to charter, or just buy to own and enjoy for yourself the newly redesigned Leopard 45 sailing catamaran.

Launched at the Annapolis Boat show in 2016, the Leopard 45 was the 2017 winner of both the Cruising World and SAIL Best Boat of the Year awards. The Leopard 45 sailing catamaran has been thoroughly overhauled, with particular attention paid to the exterior styling, forward cockpit, and interior accommodation. It is dramatically and distinctly different than its predecessor with more angular lines and sleek styling,including a new deck hardtop.’s Review

Multiple Choice: The Leopard 45

BOAT TRIALS / April 17, 2018

Leopard 45 sailing (Courtesy of Leopard Catamarans)
Cruising catamarans are the fastest growth category because of their general liveability. The Leopard 45 is a good example of this.

Leopard catamarans are prolific boats with more than 1,500 launched during the 26-year history of the South Africa-based company. A major reason for their prolificacy is the charter market which company owners’ Robertson and Caine supply. For example, the Leopard catamarans are known as the Sunsail 454, should you want to charter one to try it. This market has given them a reputation for robustness and good ergonomic layouts.

We enjoyed sailing several models, including the 40 which was a surprisingly nimble yacht for a dedicated cruiser; and the Leopard 45 was more of the same, as we realized after an enjoyable afternoon sail from Cannes.

Experienced Dutch designers Simonis-Voogd have incorporated three or four cabins into this model and our review boat, hull number 14, was the owner’s three cabin version. The owner has the entire starboard hull with a large double bed aft, a lounge and central vanity with a spacious bathroom forward.

Signature Features

The new boat retains all the signature features of the South African brand including the foredeck cockpit with access directly from the saloon. Other key features include a forward-located galley–now in a U shape–which separates the food preparation from the rest of the saloon. Another good feature is the adjustable dinette table which retracts to become a bed, using the lounge benches and cushions.’s Review

Leopard 45: New Sailing Catamaran from Robertson and Caine
A new cat with sharper angles, more living space and greater visibility comes to town.

By Zuzana Prochazka
November 16, 2016

South African catamaran builder Robertson and Caine just debuted the Leopard 45 in North America, and this new model is set to replace her predecessor the Leopard 44, which is the last of the Gino Morrelli designs in the current line. The 45 carries forward and improves upon a few of the details now equated with Leopards, and highlights some of the new aesthetics introduced last year on the Leopard 40. With her enlarged spaces, refined ergonomics, and a more open feel, the 45 is sure to be a people-pleaser in both charter and private use. But before we get into too many details, here’s an overall look at the boat on video.

Naval architects Simonis & Voogd teamed with Robertson and Caine’s in-house design team to create an angular boat. The 45 has nearly plumb bows for a longer waterline, hard chines down low to keep spray off the decks, and wide, squared-off transom steps that are easy to maneuver from the dock or dinghy. The engine rooms are just below theses steps with good access to twin 45 HP Yanmar diesels and with 185 gallons fuel, this is a go-far cat.’s Review

LEOPARD 45: A proper owner’s catamaran

The Leopard 45/V1 was the first model manufactured in a production run by the South African builder starting in 1997. It has contributed significantly to the discovery of the catamaran concept in Moorings charter bases around the world. Today, its successor has taken the boat of the year title in its category, awarded by Cruising World at the Annapolis Show, and seems determined to get in on the non-charter market.

A South African builder on the world stage.

Best Boats 2017: Leopard 45—video’s Review

A blog about sailboats, voyages we’ve made and yacht design. If you are a designer or builder and would like to have your boat reviewed, send drawings, photos and details to

Sunday, November 20, 2016
Leopard 45 Review

Last spring we joined friends in the BVI’s for a week of cruising among the islands and then a passage to Panama aboard their beautiful Leopard 42, Salida. It’s about a thousand miles from Tortola to the San Blas Islands over what is often a boisterous part of the Sea. We had an average of twenty knots of wind on the port quarter for most of the passage but as we neared the Panamanian coast the wind left us and we motored the last twenty four hours, coming to anchor not far from Dog Island. We spent another week cruising among the San Blas Islands before heading home. It was a wonderful time with great friends aboard a handsome boat. Cruising doesn’t get much better than that.


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