Jeanneau’s Leader 36 is an express day cruiser built for short, coastal voyages. Two versions are available: the Sport Top, which has an electronic sunroof, and the Open, which comes with a GRP radar arch. Both models share the same layout, which includes a fully equipped galley, swim platform, adjustable sundeck, head and separate shower compartment. This vessel is well-suited for families or couples looking to have fun and spend a few nights on the water in a relatively affordable vessel.
|Length Overall||38' 1'' / 11.62 m|
Currently no test numbers
2 x 260-hp Volvo Penta D4 Diesel
2 x 300-hp Volvo Penta D4 Diesel
Contents of Report
- Major Features
- Performance and Handling
- Boat Inspection
- The Stern
- The Helm
- The Salon
- Mid Cabin
- Optional Equipment to Consider
Powered with twin sterndrives, Jeanneau’s Leader 36 is a capable cruiser in a well-priced package. Above the waterline the vessel is well suited for relaxation in the sun, and other day-boating activities such as on-board picnics, entertaining, and cocktail parties. The below decks interior living spaces have an innovative, open layout forward that permits multi functions, and a double berth amidships for cruising with two couples or a small family.
• Enclosable space in the below-decks cabin
• Adjustable backrest on the aft lounge
• Large head compartment with an enclosed shower
• Fully equipped galley
• Large sun pad on the bow
• Full standing headroom in the cabin
The Jeanneau Leader 36 has a length overall of 38’1” (11.61 m), a beam of 11’10” (3.61 m), and an approximate dry weight of 14,586 lbs. (6,616 kg). The power plants offered range from 260-hp twin diesels to twin 300-hp in either gas or diesel, all with sterndrives. Her fuel capacity 148 gallons (560 L) and water capacity is 42 gallons (159 L).
When we compare the Leader 36’s dry displacement with other express boats in class we find that she is about the lightest – usually between 1,000 lbs. and 3,000 lbs. (454 kg and 1,362 kg). Her beam is about the same as others in class, as is her fresh water capacity. However, her fuel carrying capacity is the least of all boats we checked, and many of them carried 100 gallons (370 L) more. This is likely due to the fact that in Europe a gallon of diesel fuel is more efficient than gas, and that Europeans use their boats differently than Americans.
Performance and Handling
BoatTEST.com has not tested the Leader 36, so we can offer no opinion as to her performance and handling.
When we compare the Leader 36 with other express cruisers her length and weight, she is in the middle of the class as far as displacement is concerned. With a deadrise at the transom of 16.5-degrees, she is a bit flatter there than most other boats in class which typically have a deadrise from 17 to 21-degrees. Michael Peters has given her this relatively modest deadrise in order to make her easier to push, so she will go faster and use less fuel, than she would with a deeper V aft.
An equally important aspect of her hull is the deadrise angle forward and amidships which is what will ultimately determine how comfortable she is in a seaway. Peters has as much experience designing hulls in this size range as anyone on the planet, so he knows what the angle should be at every section along the hull. This is every designer’s secret sauce, and we can only hope that Peters has gotten it right for the Leader 36.
Joysticks are available.
Jeanneau offers a choice of diesel or gas propulsion for the Leader 36. For diesel, there are twin Volvo Penta D4 260-horsepower to 300 horsepower engines with DuoProp sterndrives lower units. Features of the Volvo Pentas include common-rail fuel injection, double overhead camshafts, a freshwater cooling system, a seawater strainer, and easy access to the impeller pump.
The other option is twin 300-horsepower MerCruiser 6.2-liter MPI V-8 gas engines, with dual prop sterndrives. These engines have computer controlled multi-port fuel injection, a closed freshwater cooling system and the Adaptive Speed Control (ASC), which holds engine RPM regardless of load.
Outboards? With express cruisers this size now coming out with outboard power, the question begs, will Jeanneau do the same with the Leader 36? We don’t know, but our guess is that this boat would have to be completely reengineered for outboards – it is not a matter of just hanging them on the edge of the swim platform.
This boat’s roots are in Europe where diesel fuel is more economical than gasoline, and so diesel is standard equipment there. They also have more torque than gas engines. Further, until recently, gasoline inboard engines were more economical than outboards, and they also have more torque than 4-stroke outboards. So, for Americans, we think the gas MerCruisers are most likely to be the most rewarding engine option.
One of the most interesting features on the Leader 36 is the double wide aft lounge. The backrest can be adjusted to create a variety of seating configurations. We liked the cup holders and adjacent, full-length handrail that aids movement on the swim platform, which also doubles as a footrest when the backrest is positioned so loungers are facing the open water when at anchor.
Reverse the backrest and loungers can sit upright, facing inboard and within comfortable reach of the table in the cockpit.
Swimmers have easy access in and out of the boat via the full-beam swim platform and the stainless steel swim ladder. The ladder is stowed in a compartment built into the starboard side of the platform. This deck space can also double as a place to stow watersports equipment, such as a paddleboard. It is even big enough for a PWC.
A shower wand with hot and cold water comes standard.
The lounge lifts electronically to access the engine and mechanical spaces. Hot water is provided by the engines and by an electric hot water heater. The vessel has both an inverter and a generator, as well as an automatic fire buoy system for the engine room. Just forward of the engines are the fuel tanks, which are accessed through the deck sole hatch.
The Leader 36 is clearly designed for taking in the sun and on-water relaxation and day-boat entertaining. Both Sport and Open versions of the 36 are built with the same, open cockpit layout. Passengers on the Open model, which features a radar arch, can be shaded with an optional Bimini while operators of the Sport model press a button and the electronic sunroof on the hardtop pulls back to let the sunshine in.
Passengers stepping up from the swim platform will find a standard hardwood table with fixed U-shaped seating to port. Here there is space for four, with room for two more if the aft lounge is configured with the backrest positioned aft. When not in use, the table can be folded in half, which reveals a flat steel top with built-in cup holders. This is one of the most compelling features of the boat – seats for six around the table.
On-Deck Wet Bar. Opposite the table is a small galley with a wet bar and storage compartments. An optional grill refrigerator are available. During cocktail parties, this console can be used as a side board for beverages or finger food.
Forward of the galley is the helm station with a single helm seat. A forward-facing companion seat is across the aisle next to the aft-facing chaise lounge.
An optional multi-function display is positioned at the center of the helm station, just above the wheel, with the system switches, engine display gauge and optional VHF positioned close by. Set in a panel above the display are gauges for the trim, RPM, steerage, and fuel with the compass positioned at the top of the panel.
The compass is installed as it should be on the centerline of the steering wheel hub, and there is a standard electric windshield wiper on the starboard side.
Joystick steering is available and there is an option to install a bow thruster to aid docking. Joysticks are expensive, and bow thrusters are much less so. They do a good job of making docking easy and we would recommend them in this application.
The optional electronic package includes upgrading the central display to a 12” touchscreen multifunction screen, autopilot controls dependent on choice of diesel or gas engine, a CHIRP radar antenna, and an AIS transceiver.
The bridge deck’s helm pod is slightly asymmetrical. It is possible to move forward on either side of the bridge, put there is a slightly wider side deck to port. The walkways are narrow, but grab rails are smartly positioned to aid balance.
The foredeck sun pad has space for two or three passengers and has the added bonus of lifting backrests. From the bow, operators can also access the optional anchor and standard electric windlass.
The Galley. Step down the companionway to access the open-plan cabin. To port is the fully equipped main galley with a sink, two-burner gas stove, and refrigerator, all standard. A microwave is optional. Storage is overhead and in a cabinet. Above the sink is a cabinet with all of the electric controls, battery switches, and water levels with a digital display.
The Head. Opposite the galley is the head with a sink, vanity, and separate shower stall with head. We like this arrangement as it makes double use of the shower stall space and provides a seat when taking a shower. A manual head with holding tank is standard. There is an opening portlight and overhead hatch.
Forward, when the settee back rest is in the up position, the forward measures 78” head to foot x 63” wide (2 m x 1.6 m). There is a hanging locker and stowage compartments. For passengers desiring privacy, a sliding door can be pulled across the space, separating the master stateroom from the galley and head.
Standing headroom measures at approximately 6-1/2’ (1.98 m) in the main cabin, and throughout the entire space there are a plethora of hatches and ports providing light and fresh air.
The door to the private mid-cabin stateroom is positioned between the companionway and the galley. The space extends below the bridge deck sole and has standing headroom thanks to the raised chaise lounge above. Inside, the berth can be configured as twins or one large bed that measures 78” head to foot and 63” wide (2.0 m x 1.60 m).
On the port side of the cabin is a dressing bench seat that can double as a third berth. It measures 73-3/4” head to foot x 27-1/2” (1.9 x .70 m). Storage compartments are available under the cushions and there is a hanging locker aft. There are opening portlights for ventilation.
Optional Equipment to Consider
First, we would specify the anchoring kit. Then, we would add trim tabs and a bow thruster. The rest of the options owners might want to consider include a stereo, cockpit refrigerator, and grill for the cockpit and microwave for the galley below. For those into sunning, the sun pads forward are a must.
Jeanneau offers a three-year general warranty on the parts, labor, and majority of components; a five-year warranty against the occurrence of hull blistering; and a 7-year warranty on the hull and deck.
The base model starts at $342,700.
The Jeanneau Leader 36 is a contender for families and couples looking for a boat under 40’ (12.2 m) that can be used for both day-boat entertaining and coastal cruising with two couples or a small family. The vessel certainly has a European aesthetic, especially when considering the airy feel of the Open model. The Sport would probably be more appropriate for boating in Northern latitudes, being more equipped to handle inclement weather with the hardtop.