Leopard Catamarans – A Lightweight Love Story

We’ve had the pleasure of spending a good deal of time with several Leopards and their owners, and there’s something very special about these boats, the individuals and community, and the cruising lifestyle. Personally, I love a fat cat. They look like space ships, coming around slowly on their mooring balls. In some ways they are spaceships – the ability to cut the lines and sail off, independent of anyone and anything with a destination 10 time zones away is romantic, dream material, and yet, here it sits in front of me. There’s a comfort, poise, and stability that my family appreciates. There are gadgets galore, respectable performance polars, and opportunities for a guy like me to nerd out, design-wise, in every corner.

One of our core competencies here at Teak Mafia is maximizing utility. Finding the sweet spot for function, value, durability and dock appeal has been our mission for 8 years now. Most of what goes out the door these days “does” something in addition to looking good, whether it folds up or extends out or hides an extra dozen cup holders, you know, for the grand kids. With that idea of utility in mind, we’ve been making folding furniture for the newest L45, L50, and 51PC for a few years now. The cockpit really opens up, and it’s been mentioned more than once that the port corner spot, looking aft with both feet up on the stainless bar, becomes the new “best seat in the house.”

We learned a few things along the way, pushing for that perfect balance of practicality and panache. The size of these boats, their use patterns and sensitivity to cargo load really demands lightweight construction, and so it is: hollow core leaves cut the weight by nearly 40% and give up nothing in terms of durability or finish quality. They are unnaturally light – I carry pairs of leaves around the shop under one arm pretty frequently. The preferred finish has been satin, which is easiest on the eyes in the equatorial sun. We’ve developed a waxed satin treatment, much like a sexy surfboard: hydrophobic, UV blocking, non-skid, and easily reapplied in just a few minutes by any member of the crew. The diameter of the stainless bar has increased from 1 to 1.25″ so it’s more comfortable when I put my feet up. I mean your feet up. Details.

In order to better serve the cruising community, we are pleased to announce a partnership with Just Catamarans in Dania Beach, Florida. Consider them your go-to for high performance furniture for your cruising catamaran. They will be the first to offer the newest version of this table, delivered with thick veneers over hollow core construction. This design spec comes from years of interaction with cruising clients, and should address the main problem found in marine furniture: thin veneers look great and make accountants happy but are (nearly) impossible to refinish. Talk to Laurent at Just Cats to get on their install schedule. He can be found at laurent@justcatamarans.net

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