With an overall length of 22'6" (6.86 m) and a CE Category of C-7, the Jeanneau Leader 6.5 can accommodate up to seven people and retain her inshore rating for coastal waters, large bays and lakes. Full, 360-degree visibility from every seat allows everyone to enjoy the scenery or keep an eye on skiers or other towed devices. Dual swim platforms and a boarding ladder provide access for swimmers and other sports enthusiasts. A forward cabin sleeps two. Powered by a single outboard up to 200-hp, the Leader 6.5 can live on a trailer, a rack, or in a slip between outings.
- Large, self-draining cockpit
- High freeboard and closed foredeck
- Cabin with (optional) chemical toilet
- Swim platform and access ladder
|Length Overall||22' 6'' / 6.86 m|
Currently no test numbers
1 x 150-hp Yamaha F150 LB Mechanical
1 x 200-hp F200 XCA Electrical
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Contents of Report
Jeanneau calls the Leader 6.5 “the family boat”. The Leader 6.5 injects a little style and pizazz into family boating. A modest forward cabin transforms this runabout into an overnight or weekend cruiser for those who like a camping out experience.
The runabout category is all about convenience; ease of access and being able to get out on the water in the time it takes to put on a little sunscreen. The 6.5’s mission is to get families and friends out onto the water for a day of fun with the option of dropping anchor and spending a joyful night under the stars for a young couple.
• Robust, redesigned hull line
• Sculpted console
• Enhanced dashboard
• Design elements from the larger Leaders
• Sleeps 2
• Closed foredeck for safety at sea
The Leader 6.5 gets its design inspiration from the Leader 7.5, which the company web site refers to as “distinctly young, dynamic and sporty style.” Jeanneau’s decades of experience in boat production enable the company to exploit relationships with top-tier talent like the Leader 6.5’s designer, Patrice Sarrazin.
Sarrazin has designed boats for Jeanneau for many years, including the Cap Camarat 605 and 705, and the Merry Fisher 805. Sarrazin has been instrumental in writing the history of the Cap Camarat line, which Jeanneau is marketing in the U.S. with the Leader badge.
The Hull Shape
Jeanneau didn’t create the Leader 6.5 as simply a smaller version of the 7.5. The proportionate relationship between the boats’ dimensions is not constant. For example, the 6.5 is about 3’ (.91 m) or 13% shorter than the 7.5. The difference in the beam is only 2” (.05 m) or 2% of the total beam.
The bow section of the hull flares to create more space down below and preview the 8’1’’ (2.48 m) beam. With a length-to-beam ratio of slightly above 2.4, it’s obvious Jeanneau wanted to build in more comfort at slower speeds in protected waters.
We have not tested the Leader 6.5 and can offer no first hand opinion or fact on her performance or handling. However, Jeanneau has supplied to us performance data based on Yamaha test figures with two different outboard engines, the 150-hp Yamaha F150 LB Mechanical and the 200-hp F200 XCA Electrical.
The 200 gets 2.8 knots at idle speed of 600 rpm while the 150 only travels 2.0 knots at idle.
The scale used on both engines tested on the Leader 6.5 jumped about 500 rpm between readings all the way up to 5900 rpm. The exception is from 600 rpm to 1000 rpms and from 5500 to 5900 rpm.
As rpms were added, speed increased at a fairly steady rate. Both the 200 and150 added about 1 to 1.5 knots every time 500 revs were added.
Both engines had a speed jump about midway up the scale, as expected, as the boat got on plane. The 150 sprinted from 9.5 knots to 20.8 knots when the rpm rose from 3500 to 4000. When the 200 went from 3000 rpm to 3500 rpm, speed increased to 19 knots from 8.4 knots.
Once the Leader 6.5 with the 150 planes, each 500 rpm increase results in about 3 to 4 knots of speed all the way up to the top speed of 35 knots at 5900 rpm. The 200 experiences about 5 knots more speed with every 500 rpm increase. Top speed is 40 knots at 5900 rpm.
Lower Horsepower Results in Lower Fuel Consumption. The 150 uses about .4 gph at idle speed while the 200 uses .5 gph. The 500 rpm increase that results in the greatest speed increase on the 150 (3500 to 4000) is the lowest amount of fuel increase for any 500 rpm jump on the scale, about .4 gph.
The same thing happens when the 200 goes from 3000 rpm to 3500 rpm. It only takes an additional .6 gph when the speed more than doubles from 8.4 knots to 19 knots. By contrast, going from 2000 rpm to 2500 rpm results in just under 1 knot speed increase but it costs an additional 1.3 gph in fuel consumption.
At top speed, the 150 consumes 15.4 gph, giving a Leader 6.5 equipped with the F150 LB Mechanical a range of about 82 nm. The same boat with a 200 consumes 20 gph resulting in a range of about 72 nm. Both calculations consider a reserve of 20% fuel capacity, which is Jeanneau’s standard.
Jeanneau has loaded a lot of boat into the Leader 6.5’s 20’ (6.10 m) length. The 6.5 starts its economic use of space by recessing the outboard motor between swim platforms.
Electronics, including stereo (optional) are positioned just below the driver’s line of vision while underway. The angled mounting surface and dark color reduce glare in the windshield.
Each seat has its own molded cup holder prominently placed on the dash. Operators barely need to look away from their course to grab drinks, or to spy the chart plotter.
Throttle and wheel are right where the pilot’s hands can access and operate them easily. Another chrome grab handle offers additional stability for the occupant of either helm seat as well as people going down below. Trim tab controls face the driver beside the wheel.
Jeanneau uses vacuum resin infusion molding, a process used for the entire boat (deck and hull) for superior weight control and a fine finish. For a level rating series (CE Rating), there must be minimal variance in the weight of each piece produced. Jeanneau’s controlled vacuum resin infusion molding yields a reinforced composite for enhanced performance. Each composite element of the deck and hull are weighed prior to assembly. This is unusual in powerboats, but is required in sailboat one-design racing classes.
The Jeanneau Leader 6.5 begins with a basic model, but like most other new boats, the stuff buyers really want comes as add-ons. For example, the Garmin ECHOMAP Plus 72C comes with the boat if you select the Electronics Package, or upgrade to the ECHOMAP PLUS 92 SV.
Jeanneau has bundled some options in what it calls the Premier edition. Premier includes:
• Aft bench cushions
• Aft bench backrest
• Luxury starboard folding side bench
• Side bench seat cushion
• Storage net
• Rod holders
• Cabin cushions
Most of the items on this list relate to comfort. All Leader 6.5s have the option of these individual add-ons:
• Stainless steel pulpit
• Electric windlass
• Fusion audio pack
• Mooring kit
• Anchoring kit
• Steering console and seat covers
• Bolster adjustable pilot and co-pilot seats
• Luxury port folding side bench
• Backrest for starboard side bench
• Folding Bimini
• Front sundeck mattress
• Folding aft sundeck
• Cockpit table
• Additional swimming platforms
• Freshwater system
• Cockpit shower
• Ski pole/arch
• Teak cockpit floor
• Two simple berths
• Double berth complement
• Chemical toilets
Some of these options are things you’d expect on a bigger boat. Adding things like the anchor is a necessity. A toilet, fresh water and shower turn the Leader 6.5 from a daytime sportboat to a weekend cruiser.
Jeanneau does not publish an MSRP for this boat. However, we suspect that it is around $70k for the base boat.
The Jeanneau Leader 6.5 is essentially what Americans would call a “cuddy” sportboat. In the 1960s, virtually all sportboats were cuddys, but once the bowrider concept was introduced it took the class by storm. Today, cuddys account for only about 3% of the conventional sportboat market in the U.S. – which has dwindled to only about 20% of what it was 20 years ago. That is why many American sportboat companies don’t even build cuddies anymore. The ones that do, have only one or two models – and those are usually intended for the export market.
So, why is Jeanneau introducing what amounts to a cuddy to the U.S. market? The answer seems to be that it is taking advantage of the American consumer’s current switch from sterndrive power to outboards, and the Leader 6.5 is an outboard. It is also not exactly a cuddy – because it does not have a traditional crown to the foredeck which made sun bathing problematical. The Leader 6.5’s foredeck is flat and ideal for its function.
Also, this design has proven its popularity in Europe both with Jeanneau and other brands. Sunning has a higher priority in Europe than in the U.S. Perhaps Jeanneau thinks the Americans are ready for a change, and in any case, this boat should appeal to early adopters.
Finally, there are many people who romanticize Italian and French designs because they are different, sassier, and signal that the owner is not one of the pack and likes to own something different.