Today we are reviewing the Leopard 51 PC. Leopard catamarans are built by Robertson and Caine in South Africa. They have become quite popular with charter operators, like The Moorings, for their sheer volume of entertainment space and the number of people they can accommodate. Add in a shallow draft, a reasonable cruising range plus good handling characteristics and one can easily see how they would appeal to private owners as well, particularly those entertaining weekend or overnight guests.
- 3 or 4 cabin layout, each with private ensuite heads
- Four distinct entertainment areas
- Optional crew berth and head with private entrances
- Forward cockpit for better ventilation and improved visibility
- Flybridge lounge, with optional grill and galley
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||8.8 sec.|
|0 to 30||12.9 sec. (0 to 20)|
|Props||584mm x 586mm x 4|
|Load||3 persons, full fuel, full water, 50 lbs. of gear|
|Climate||70 deg., 58 humid; wind: 0-5 mph; seas: 0|
2 x 370-hp Yanmar 8LV
2 x 370-hp Yammar diesel engines
Contents of Report
The Leopard 51 PC is a blue-water cruising cat that has plenty of entertainment space, performs well, and is ruggedly constructed as attested to by the fact that a number of them have gone from South Africa to the Caribbean on their own bottoms.
- Stepped hull design
- Forward lounge expands space and enhances ventilation
- Salon open concept to galley
- Entertainment space
- Sleeping accommodations
Engine access is under the aft berths of each hull. It is not expected that one would be sleeping while underway, but we tested the decibel level at WOT just in case - 80db.
The walkthrough cabin has sliding doors on both fore and aft ends which lead to more entertainment areas, but also provide air flow through the main salon.
Performance and Handling
The Leopard 51 PC has an overall length of 51’ (15.54 m), a beam of 25’1” (7.64 m) and a draft of 3’3” (.99 m). With an empty weight of 40,785 lbs. (18,500 kg), full fuel and three people on board, the Leopard 51 PC had an estimated test weight of 45,366 lbs. (20,578 kg).
With a pair of 370 Yanmar 8 LV diesels turning 584 mm x 586 mm 4-bladed props we reached a top speed of 23.2 kt at 3800 rpm. As is typical of a catamaran, the performance is rather linear so there really is no best cruise speed. We found her most comfortable to operate at 3000 rpm and 17 knots, where the 20.2 gph fuel burn resulted in .8 nautical miles per gallon and a range of just under 300 nautical miles. For distance cruising, 1500 rpm resulted in the speed of 8.2 knots and a fuel burn of 2.9 gallons per hour. That translated into nearly 3 nautical miles per gallon and a range of 1027.6 nautical miles, with a 10% reserve of the boat’s 396 gallon (1,499 L) total fuel capacity.
The Leopard 51 PC accelerates on an even keel, coming up to planing speed in an average 8.8 seconds and continuing through 20 mph in 12.9. She’s got excellent turning authority, so those boating in waters heavily laden with pot buoys will have little need for evasion tactics. Of course with a boat that should be rock solid in seas, we got flat calm conditions for our test with nothing but a wake here and there to jump, so we just can’t comment on how well she handles rough water.
The high 6’9” (2.06 m) overhead and panoramic windows make the large salon feel even larger.
An L-shaped settee with swing up tables is flanked by lounge pads to either side.
With a three-stateroom configuration, there is a large light-filled master ensuite head forward. The light comes from a side window and opening overhead skylight. A walk-in shower stall behind a glass door flanks the sink, with its solid countertop. There is storage underneath, a mirrored medicine cabinet, and a full-length mirror on the privacy door.
The double berths of each guest cabin are practically the same size as the master berth.
Equipment Discussion – same price
- Three or four-cabin layout
- 110v or 220v electrical
- Forepeak berth and head with A/C supply
- Cruisair air conditioning
- 9 kW generator
- Electric powered tender/swim platform
- Dive bottle racks
- Flybridge wet bar accessories (grill, icemaker, etc.)
- Liferaft - USCG safety package
- Anchor and anchor bridle, fenders and docklines
- Solar panels
- 110v shorepower pack
- Battery charger, inverter, upgrade to AGM batteries
- Electric flushing toilets
- Composite teak decking
- Exterior color package
- Washdown system
- Select electronics and navigation upgrades
$739,000 base, with above options $972,101.
We are always skeptical of builders’ claims so when the description “blue-water” catamaran was pronounced, we naturally took it with a grain of salt. However, when you realize one of the delivery options from South Africa to the U.S. is on its own bottom, belief is warranted.
Overall, the 51 PC maneuvered easily, turning in its own length without a bow thruster. It’s no wonder that Leopard does so well with their charter partner, The Moorings, keeping these models quite busy. It’s easily an owner-operated boat, but there’s also room for privacy even with a captain aboard.