Mallorca by Land, Air and Sea

South Africa. New Leopard 37 Powercat completes crossing to Tortola

Tuesday, 03 March 2009


Delivery captain, Piet Schepers and two crewmates have been putting the new Leopard 37s to the test delivering the Morrelli & Melvin-designed recreational power catamarans from Robertson & Caine’s Capetown, South Africa production facility to the Moorings Village in Tortola, BVI, on their own bottoms.

Loaded with 633 gallons of fuel, 32 gallons of water and additional gear, the crew left Cape Town in early in December. On its maiden transatlantic crossing, the Leopard 37 traveled 1,740 nautical miles (2002 miles), before stopping to refuel at the remote island of St. Helena in the South Atlantic. The Leopard 37 sprinted another 2,559 miles to make landfall in Fortaleza, Brazil.  Rested and reprovisioned, Schepers and the Leopard 37 crew headed 2,335 miles north and to celebrated the New Year in Tortola, BVI.

The Leopard 37 encountered winds from 0 to 35 miles per hour and seas from every direction during the crossing.  Waves broke over the boat and showered Schepers on the bridge deck, but that did not stop him from going back for more.  No sooner had delivered the Leopard 37 to the Moorings charter fleet than did Schepers return to South Africa to repeat the performance. He reported, “The fact that I am sitting on another Leopard 37 on my way to Tortola, speaks for itself.  This is a lot more boat than meets the eye.“

Schepers and his crew also found the Leopard 37 to be very fuel-efficient.  At the outset of their voyage, they encountered winds of 35 miles per hour across the beam and 12 to 15-foot waves.

With one motor averaging 2,200 rpm, they cruised along at 8 miles per hour and consumed 0.3 gallons of diesel per mile. The pleased captain reported topping 17 miles per hour at times when the Leopard 37 surfed down waves.

Eventually, they settled into their groove with their engine revving at 1,800 rpm, and the boat clipping along at 7 miles per hour and consuming a quart per hour. Late in their transatlantic crossing they encountered more pacific conditions and found “motoring in flat water with the wind from the stern to be comfortable and a breeze!”

Comfortable with the seaworthiness of these cruising powercats, Robertson & Caine has two other Leopard 37s en route from South Africa to Tortola in time for the peak Caribbean charter season

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 03 March 2009 )