Contents of Report
The flagship of the Leader line, this model combines fast cruising with fun in the sun, easy water access, and a comfortable cabin. Essentially, the Leader 10.5 is a day boat designed for entertaining guests by day, and with accommodations for four adults she can be a fun weekend escape for a couple or a small family. She is also not afraid of choppy offshore conditions.
• Offset console/cabin for wide port side deck
• Twin outboard power
• Cockpit galley with optional grill, fridge, and livewell
• Double stepped hull with a “tunnel” aft
• Central steering station
• Large cockpit seating area
• Privacy curtains close off two bunk areas
• Enclosed head with separate shower
• Sleeps four, converts to 2 double berths
• Large windows with opening portholes
Designed by renowned naval architect Michael Peters, the Jeanneau Leader 10.5 has a double-stepped hull to improve fuel efficiency at planing speeds. Custom-shaped hull windows reduce the visual freeboard while adding light to the interior. The boat’s overall styling is modern and she incorporates aspects of several popular types of boats but is not easily categorized.
She has a cockpit like a center console, but she is not one; she has a bow like a bowrider; but she is not one; she has a cockpit like an express fishboat, but she is not one. Because of her closed bow forward and raised helm, she comes closest to being a pocket cruiser with a 10’6” (3.21 m) beam, also known as a small express cruiser.
We have not tested the Leader 10.5 so can offer no guidance as to her speed, fuel consumption, and handling characteristics. According to Jeanneau, maximum speed varies from 36 to 48 knots, depending on engine, props, and the total load.
The test data proffered by Jeanneau shows a maximum speed of 44 knots with twin Yamaha 350s.
With a full load of fuel and water, 17” pitch 3-blade props, an unreported number of people aboard (but we estimate two to three), for a total test weight of 15,174 lbs. (6,883 kg). Best cruise came at 4000 rpm, where she reportedly went 26.3 knots and had a range of 159 nautical miles with a 20% fuel reserve in her 211 gallon (800 L) capacity tanks.
According to Jeanneau’s data, at 3500 rpm, powered with the twin 350s, the Leader 10.5 goes 19.4 knots.
With the twin Yamaha 300s, 15” 3-blade props, in a fully loaded hull with full fuel, water, gear and an unreported number of people aboard (we estimate 10), Jeanneau says its test boat weighed 16,355 lbs. (7,421 kg) – or, 1,181 lbs. (535 kg) more than the boat powered by the higher horsepower engines. In this configuration, Jeanneau reports a top speed of 36 knots. With twin Yamaha 300s, she reportedly went 10.2 knots at 3500 rpm and 11.8 knots at 4000 rpm – clearly far from planning speeds at each setting.
It is not until the engines rev to 4500 rpm that we see a speed that shows she is solidly on plane, at 24 knots. With the twin 300s, her greatest cruising range was reported to be at 5000 rpm where she went 30 knots and had a range of 124 nautical miles with a 20% fuel reserve.
Again, since we haven’t tested the boat we can offer no comments, other than to say that we do know that Groupe Beneteau, which owns Jeanneau, as a matter of corporate culture, is generally focused on providing as much riding comfort as possible in its hulls. The builder is located near the west coast of France, on the famous Bay of Biscay where rugged sea conditions are an everyday occurrence. For that reason alone, we suspect that the Leader 10.5 hull is designed for snotty conditions. And there is another reason…
The hull shape is what designer Michael Peters calls a “Stepped-Vee Ventilated Tunnel” (S.V.V.T.) hull. Jeanneau says that a version of this design has been used on U.S. Coast Guard cutters. The hull has two deep steps, which at planning speeds create a vacuum which sucks air into athwartships troughs, or channels, and it is then carried aft. The aft step, which is deeper than the forward one, sucks in air and directs it to what Peters calls a “tunnel.” But it is not a “tunnel” as we normally see in recreational boats with a rounded top, as in propeller pockets. We would describe this aspect of the design as more of a “relief” in the middle of the bottom with vertical side walls which contain and possibly compress the air in the center section of the bottom to the transom.
By our measurements, the bottom has a 21.5-degree deadrise (Jeanneau does not publish the deadrise angle), which is not quite as deep as it could be and is probably a good compromise between 24-degrees and something like 17-degrees. There is a wedge-shaped pad right on the centerline of the hull in the bottom relief (aka “tunnel”). The picture here shows it best.
This is certainly a creative hull that utilizes proven designs. For example, the builder several years ago tested two hulls which were the same, one with, and the other without steps, and demonstrated that the stepped hull was noticeably faster and more fuel efficient. (This was not a new discovery as the concept was actually used in experimental hulls in the early part of the 20th century.)
But, what Peters has done that is different, is to make the aft step channel quite deep, thus sucking in more air and then physically channeling it aft in his carved out center section. This certainly reduces the drag of this bottom surface, and Jeanneau claims that it also provides a cushion of air to produce a softer ride.
The Pad. Adding the triangular-shaped flat pad on the keel has also proved to be a good way to boost speed and efficiency. Over the years in bass boats and center consoles, among other designs, pads have proven to be a good way to boost efficiency, without harming the cushioning effect of the V hull. One reason is that this portion of the hull is where the boat rides at high speed.
It should be pointed out that her steps and “tunnel” do not help the boat get on plane, but only provide benefit once the boat is securely planing and able to create a vacuum in her athwartships channels.
The boat also has running strakes on both sides that add lift (and wetted surface) and knock down spray at high speeds. The overall concept of Peters’ design is to maximize the comfort as well as the speed and fuel-efficiency of the bottom.
The port swim platform extends just past the body of the outboard engines and houses a storage locker, cockpit shower, and telescoping ladder which faces aft. We’d rather see it facing off to the side, to get the steps further away from the props. There is also a starboard platform accessed by walking around forward of the outboards, holding onto the cockpit settee’s backrest. These two long side platforms provide space to launch watersports.
The cockpit seating area is at the same level as the swim platform, thus avoiding a trip hazard, and has storage underneath. To starboard is an L-shaped bench seat that wraps around a teak table, which is standard. Handholds and drink holders are within easy reach of most seats. The standard starboard settee can be dropped down to open up the cockpit.
A port side fold down seat is available as an option, and we strongly recommend it for those who plan on doing a lot of entertaining. We have found that while men don’t mind sitting on the covering boards, women prefer seats.
Cockpit Sole Compartment. There is a large, deep compartment with a liner in the middle of the cockpit. This space can provide massive storage, or, as an option, can be fitted with a 3.5 kW Westerbeke gasoline generator. And, of course it must be if an owner plans on having the optional 12,000 BTU reverse-cycle air conditioning system in the cabin.
A few steps forward of the table is the cockpit galley. A refrigerator is an option in the lower port cabinet; above it is the optional grill. To starboard are two sinks, with drawers and locker space below. A livewell can replace the outboard sink if desired, or this can be used to ice down beverages.
Since this is primarily a day boat, she needs a dedicated place for a standard-size Igloo or Yeti cooler. There is storage space under the aft bench seat, and this is the logical place for a cooler that fits. The disadvantage of using this location is that people have to get up from the seat every time someone wants a refreshment.
Just forward of the galley, up a step on either side, is helm seating for a skipper and two companions, with the center seat lined up behind the steering wheel and throttles just to starboard. Hydraulic steering is standard; trim tabs, a bow thruster, or a tilt wheel can all be added. Each seat has its own bolster and armrests.
The cabin/console is purposely off-set to starboard, creating a wider port walkway up two steps to the bow. The stainless double railing conforms to CE and ABYC standards, and the wire safety across the bow can be unclipped for docking bow to, and for anchoring. Two optional sun pads lift up at the aft end to form head/backrests, chaise lounge style. They can be connected together with centerline pads.
Safety items up here include navigation lights and the wire to close off the centerline gap in the bow rail. One important item that’s not included is an anchor and rode. Obviously, every boat needs ground tackle, and in order to keep the base price down, and because veteran boaters each have their own favorite anchors, Jeanneau has left that for the aftermarket. Even those owners who plan to do nothing more than marina hop, need an anchor. Frequent anchoring will be eased with the optional windlass and bow roller.
Galley. At the foot of the companionway is the galley to port. A sink with fresh water (42 gallon /160 L) is standard along with two gas burners. A Vitro ceramic version is an option. A 40 L refrigerator comes standard with shelves, not pull-out drawers. A microwave is optional. Below and above the counter is storage.
The forward cabin/salon has a rectangular table, with rounded corners, surrounded on three sides by a U-shaped banquette. This provides a remarkably cozy venue in the evening with family and friends when discussing the day’s activities over a glass of wine. There are side windows and an overhead hatch to bring in light. If there is a breeze at anchor, the overhead hatch can grab it and send it through the cabin, otherwise A/C is available so long as a generator is installed.
By adding optional filler cushions, and installing the optional privacy curtains, which are stored in a designated locker when not in use, the space can be turned into a sleeping location for two.
The enclosed head holds a small sink, counter, and toilet area. A shower is built in, though a seat, which covers the toilet, and sliding plexiglass divider/shower door are both optional. An electric fresh water toilet is also available as an upgrade from the standard marine head.
For all boats purchased after Sept 1, 2018, the company has extended the standard (international) warranty from two to three years. Gel coat blisters are covered for up to five years, and the structural warranty is seven years.
Optional Equipment to Consider
Extras worth paying more for include an anchor/rode, hot water for using the two showers, mooring kit, underwater lights, and a T-top for built-in shade and extra handholds, a bow thruster, trim tabs, and the electric flush toilet. Fishermen may want to add the livewell.
Which Engines? Obviously, the big option to consider is upgrading to the twin 350-hp engines. While Jeanneau’s test data is by no means apples-to-apples because of the 1,181 lbs. (535 kg) difference in weight with the higher horsepower boat pushing the lighter load. It nevertheless appears that the boat needs considerable torque to get on plane, which indicates either a twin large displacement 4-stroke outboards, or 2-stroke outboards, either of which would suite the application best.
In this case, the choice between the two Yamaha engines seems clear – the twin 350s, with a displacement of 5.3 L and 8 cylinders, is a safer bet for overall performance than a pair of 300 V6s with a displacement of 4.2 L.
The Jeanneau website lists a starting price of $181,630 as the recommended retail for this model. US dealers generally do not list prices. New boats in Europe range in price from $190-230,000.
The Leader 10.5 is primarily a day boat for entertaining and excursions, which is why we would like to see provision made for an ice chest or two in the cockpit. She can also be a good boat for two couples or a young family of four interested in fast weekend getaways. There’s enough galley for cooking and enough space for sleeping when needed.
Although we have not tested the boat, we think the Jeanneau Leader 10.5 can be taken offshore with confidence. Because she is not a traditional bowrider with an unprotected open and deep forward cockpit, she has seakeeping abilities more similar to those of a small express cruiser. We would not hesitate to take her across the Gulf Stream in reasonable conditions.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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