|I had the good fortune to spend a “day at the office” sailing the new Lagoon 50P in the trade-wind-swept waters off Ft. Lauderdale on Tuesday. The sun was out and the temperature in the low 80s. It’s one of those jobs that someone’s got to do, right? Might as well be me. Aboard were Katie Baker, pictured above, who is Leopard’s marketing manager, and Calvin, who is a professional skipper and knows all thing Leopard and all things catamaran. The point of the day out sailing was to get a feel for the Performance equipped version of the Leopard 50. Unlike the Leopard 50L, the P does not have the raised lounging area mounted atop the hardtop Bimini over the cockpit. Instead, the P has a wide flat area which is useful for handling the main sail and sunning. Without the lounge up there, Leopard has lowered the height of the main boom, which adds sail area in the main and makes handling the main—hoisting, reefing and furling—much easier than on her sistership. It also lowers the weight and cost of the boat.
Out there in the turquoise water close to the Gulf Stream, we put the 50P to the test and were not disappointed. In 13 knots of steady breeze, the boat sailed at 7.5 knots close to the wind and added a full knot and a half when cracked off to a broad reaching angle. The feel on the helm was positive and the boat was simple for me to tack by myself – no mean feat in a 50-footer with 25 feet of beam.
I really was impressed by the 50L when it came out since it made great use of the Bimini top for an added lounging area that linked the helmsman to the rest of the crew while under way. But, it seems more of a coastal cruiser or charter boat than a couple’s cruising boat. How many lounging areas does a couple or family need when they already have three at deck level? By reducing weight aloft, windage and lowering the boom, Leopard creates a boat that looks, feels and handles like a proper offshore passagemaker. And I think there will be many experienced cruisers who will like the sleeker look of the 50P, too. Check out the website for more information here.