Having sailed most of my adult life, almost exclusively on monohulls, the notion of a trip on a power cat was about as strange as a dog with two tails. So, when I arrived in the Caribbean with a few friends and a magazine assignment to spend five days on board one, I was skeptical.
But 15 minutes off the dock, I could officially label myself a convert: The sprawling main deck, the absence of rigging and sails to tend, the privacy offered via the four-corner, en suite cabins and the settled ride through the sloppy chop in the Trades quickly convinced me I’d been missing something big and important.
Something big and important in that vein showed up at February’s Miami International Boat Show with the debut of the Leopard 46 PC. Designed and built by South Africa’s Robertson and Caine, the new 46 is an evolution of the company’s successful 43 PC, which was introduced in 2015. It joins the builder’s 53 PC, which arrived on the scene in 2020, as the kingpins of the line.
According to Robertson and Caine, the 46 sports several improvements over its predecessor. They include separate engine rooms, an upgraded interior, additional space at the aft end of the salon, larger cabins, improved interior lighting and revamped styling.
The engine rooms and major systems are completely sealed off from the boat’s living spaces, reducing noise and eliminating odors. The interior, which is broadly based on the 53 PC, features a new matte-beige finish on the galley locker doors and some countertops replacing the previous gloss white. It has a new backsplash around the galley worktop, new soft furnishings and more indirect lighting.
The additional area at the aft end of the salon, which the builder calls the “galley serving area,” contains storage lockers for cutlery, crockery and food, as well as mounting space for an optional under-counter icemaker or wine cooler.
The Leopard 46 PC comes in a three- or four-cabin layout. The three-cabin owner’s version has a master stateroom that runs most of the length of the starboard hull with an enclosed shower, double sink, walk-in closet and a vanity. The two guest cabins are en suite.
On the main level, large, retractable sliding glass doors lead from the aft cockpit to the galley, fusing the indoor and outdoor entertainment spaces. The aft cockpit provides a U-shape settee with a large dining table designed to seat eight comfortably. Access to the foredeck, with its sun lounging area and adjustable recliners, is through a forward salon door.
The flybridge is the action center of the boat. The main helm station is situated at the forward end to starboard and provides a comfortable seating position with a broad view. The flybridge space is protected from the elements with a hardtop and a newly incorporated “spoiler” along its aft end to reduce excessive turbulence from entering the aft flybridge sundeck when underway.
I still love to sail, but these days, whenever I’m in proximity to a power cat, especially one like this, I’m all in for changing my spots.
LOA: 47ft. 5in.
Beam: 24ft. 1in.
Draft: 3ft. 1in.
Bridge Clearance: 18ft. 6in.
Displacement: 36,945 lbs.
Fuel: 489 gal.
Water: 185 gal.
Engines (standard): 2x 250-hp Yanmar 4LV250 (optional) 2x 320-hp or 2x 370-hp Yanmars
For information: leopardcatamarans.com