Multihulls Match

Match - Sail or power?

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Getting to grips

Sail or power, there are always two engines for maneuvering... Aboard the Moorings 4500 (the charter version of the Leopard 45) we had at our disposal, the 45 HP motors were always more than sufficient for maneuvering, turning on the spot or heading straight into strong winds. The throttle levers seem a little rustic, as are the screens, but we never missed not having a bow thruster. It’s worth noting that the bows and deck are so high up that it’s not easy to pick up a mooring without the help of the dinghy. From the elevated cockpit, there’s a good view of the water. The Leopard 46 PC differs from its sailing sibling in that its engines are far more powerful - our Moorings 464 PC version is powered by twin 320 HP motors - that’s seven times more power available! Thanks to the electromagnetic throttles, management of the 640 HP remains smooth and easy. We also liked the interface, which controls almost everything from the navigation screens. However, at boatspeeds under 4 knots, trajectory control is very approximate due to the small surface area of the rudders, which is where the autopilot comes in handy and why the bow thruster is indispensable. The 46 PC offers two control stations: one on the flybridge and one inside the nacelle, where it’s well sheltered. Once under way, apart from furling the lines and stowing the fenders, there’s nothing left to do but enjoy going along on the 46 PC. Aboard the Leopard 45, on the other hand, you hoist the mainsail, unfurl the jib, trim the sails, tack, and so on. For some, it’s a chore... for others, it’s the pleasure of sailing. It’s worth noting, however, that setting the sails prohibits going up any long creeks you might be tempted to do under power. And if you’re tempted by an anchorage 10/15 miles away with only an hour of daylight left, that’s fine on the powercat, but not on the sailboat.

Cruising program

The Leopard 45, with its 185 US gallons (700 liters) of fuel, has 70 hours of cruising speed, or a range of 525 miles. But as this catamaran is capable of sailing, it has an ocean-going range. This is not the case with the Leopard 46 PC: even at 8 knots with one engine, it will not exceed 2,000 miles. At full load with both engines at 8 knots, we’ll be happy with 1,500 miles. On the other hand, with an air draught of less than 20 feet (6 meters), including antennas, the powercat can sail up rivers and waterways unhindered by bridges. Its draft of 37” (94 cm) enables it to venture as close to the shoreline as possible, which is particularly interesting in shoal draft waters such as the lagoons of the Bahamas. The Leopard 45 is logically more limited in such approaches, with an air draught of over 69 feet (21 m) and a draft of 5’3” (1.6 m). The pleasure of being aboard the Leopard 46 PC is that you can almost ignore the weather - almost because, in reality, you’re avoiding any head-on seas. Conversely, aboard the sailboat, you set your course according to the wind and ...

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