Just about anyone who’s chartered a catamaran in the Caribbean or elsewhere will be familiar with the Leopard brand—the South African cat builder supplies the Moorings and Sunsail charter companies and also sells plenty of boats to private owners. Its latest launch is the Leopard 50, a spacious platform both for the charter market and for owners looking to notch up serious cruising mileage.
There are some notable differences between the 50 and the boat it supersedes, the Leopard 48. For one thing, the 50-footer is available in two versions—the 50L, with a capacious flybridge lounge that houses wrap-around seating, a coffee table and a large sunbed, and the 50P—a sleeker, lower-profile boat aimed at private owners rather than the charter market. Both versions have the trademark Leopard forward cockpit as well as a large aft cockpit, both accessed from the saloon.
Some new construction methods have been employed to keep weight down while increasing interior volume, including the use of carbon-fiber ring frames to stiffen up the bridgedeck and other wide-open areas. One visible result is the impressive amount of living space in the hulls, where neither the four- or five-cabin layouts look at all cramped.
Other options include a bigger square-headed main to give a performance boost over the standard sail, and bow compartments that can be configured as extra bunks, storage or heads. Take your pick...
A couple of years ago, a fledgling German company launched the Bente 24, an entry-level boat with excellent performance and an attractive pricetag. With its twin rudders, hull chines and extending bowsprit, along with a clever multifunctional layout, the little cruiser appealed to both young families and older sailors in search of inexpensive fun on the water.
Now Bente Yachts has followed with a 39-footer that borrows heavily from the fashionable Euro philosophy evidenced in boats like the Jeanneau Sun Fast 3600, JPK 1080 and Pogo 12.50—sporty lines, light weight and a beamy, broad-sterned hull form that’s optimized for fast offwind passagemaking—yet with its axe bow and blister cabintop, it also has its own unique style.
The Bente 39’s pedigree is impressive—Bente CEO Alex Vrolijk is the son of Rolf Vrolijk of renowned design heavyweights Judel & Vrolijk—and it is intended to be a fast, safe and affordable ocean-crossing platform. Sailaway price is 145,000 Euros, or just under $170,000 at time of writing. With its T-keel, fractional sailplan featuring a square-topped mainsail and a displacement of around 6.5 tonnes, this boat looks sure to be an excellent performer.
Poland’s Delphia Yachts has been quiet the last couple of years, at least in terms of new-product development. However, veteran designer Tony Castro has come up with two sharp new models that should create a buzz on the boat show circuit.
Details are scant—Delphia has just released the teaser photograph shown on this page, promising more details to come—but it’s obvious that with their twin rudders, chined hulls, integral bowsprits, open transoms and deep high-aspect ratio T-keels, these boats are aimed at owners who appreciate a healthy dose of sporty performance.
Styling-wise, both the Delphia 42 to be launched in 2018 and the bigger Delphia—the builder is being coy, but looking at the renderings, it’s around 58ft—that will follow next year look striking. Light should flood in through the large expanses of dark glass on the cabintops and the elongated, elliptical portlights. Hopefully, we’ll see one or both boats in Annapolis this coming fall.
Bente Yachts bente24.com
Delphia Yachts delphiayachts.eu
Leopard Catamarans leopardcatamarans.com