The Boat (s/v Rover)

For those that haven't read through all my ramblings, the extremely abbreviated version of the boat shopping story is that we looked at a LOT of different catamarans in the $100,000 to $175,000 range (we ruled out traditional mono-hull boats after this experience and the ability to easily compare comfort of the two in adjacent weeks during that trip).  After looking at catamarans from Fountaine Pajot, Gemini, Lagoon, Leopard, PDQ, Prout, Privilege, Victory and I think a few others, we narrowed it down to the Lagoon 37 and the Leopard 38. Each had a number of very appealing features and (as they say, all boats are a compromise) a couple things that weren't our favorite.  After going through surveys on one Lagoon 37 and two Leopard 38's, we finally found our boat.

Our first big boat purchase and our home afloat is a 1999 Leopard 38.  We ended up choosing this boat because we thought it would make a good platform for us and of the Leopard and Lagoon boats available, it was in the best condition for it's price of anything we saw. It has 3 queen size berths, two heads with a separate shower stall. It is a galley up design with a nice size settee and comfortable cockpit area with good deck space.

A Tour of the Layout

Port Hull Interior

Starting at the forward part of the port hull, you will find a queen size berth with a combination hanging locker and shelves, open shelving, an over-bunk hatch with a combination screen/blackout shade, two port lights, two reading lights, a ventilation fan, and access to a large storage area in the forward part of the hull.  

On the interior at mid-ship is a head with a vanity and integrated shower.  It has two port lights to help with cross ventilation.

In the aft part of the port hull is another queen size berth that sits above the port engine. It has a hanging locker, an enclosed shelving cabinet,an over-bunk hatch with combination screen/blackout shade, two port lights, two reading lights and a ventilation fan.

Starboard Hull Interior

Starting forward in the starboard hull, you find another queen size berth with a combination hanging locker and shelves, open shelving, an over-bunk hatch with a combination screen/blackout shade, two port lights, two reading lights, a ventilation fan, and access to a large storage area in the fore-peak of the hull.  Unlike on the port side, this berth also has an ensuite half-bath head with two portlights for added ventilation.  This berth also has a separate air conditioner.

Midship interior in this hull is a small desk and mirror with a swing out stool.  I guess someone could call it a navigation desk, but it seems more like a makeup vanity to me.

In the aft part of the starboard hull is the separate dedicated shower stall with integrated sink. Note that the video below goes in the reverse order, starting in the shower and working forward.

Bridge Deck Interior

Spanning the distance between the hulls you will find the Galley on the port side.  The galley is U shaped with the 2 burner stove and oven on the port side of the U with a counter and small sliding door cabinet above. In the center part of the U is the double sink  with another sliding door cabinet behind. There is a cabinet below the sink that provides access to the fresh water pump and controls. On the starboard side of the U is the large top-loading refrigerator/freezer and a little more counter top with an integrated trash chute that drops into a cabinet below.  Along the back wall across from the U is another cabinet with shelves and a sliding drawer.

On the starboard side of the bridge deck is a large settee with table and seating for 6 to 8 depending on how friendly you are.  Under the benches you will find access to the main air conditioning unit and separate forward berth unit as well as additional storage.  The table also lowers to convert the settee into a huge bed or lounging sofa.

Across from the setee along the back wall is the location of most of the system controls including the electrical panel, main AC controls, system monitors, VHF radio, stereo, and  flat screen TV mounted on a swing arm.  An access door below provides access to the electronics and electrical runs, the power inverter, and the cables and chains of the steering linkage of the helm position outside.


The exterior of the Leopard has a fairly standard catamaran feel with just a few exceptions.  Behind the trampolines that span the hulls at the front of the boat you will find an anchor locker where the anchor is deployed.  Behind that are two larger lockers that hold the two 105 gallon water tanks as well as the the chain and rode locker.  Just behind that and below the mast is a hatch that hides the anchor windlass.

Continuing aft is the salon area with louvered windows that act as steps to get onto the top of the cabin as well as shade the front windows from the heat of the sun.  The mast is easily accessible from the front of the salon between the window steps.

The cockpit is nice and roomy with a table that should be able to seat 4 or more.  It is covered by a soft bimini (the one thing I wish it had was a hard bimini as it is a bit lower maintenance and can be walked upon which makes access to the mainsail and stack pack easier). In the cockpit is a large lazarette bult into the seating on the port aft with a lot of storage and access panels to the main house battery bank.  Another smaller lazarette on the starboard side is the propane locker.  A third hatch in the floor of the cockpit is the life raft storage location (however, our boat does not have a life raft there, instead it is the current storage for life jackets and a few other things). Along the back of the cockpit is an arch that holds the mainsheet traveler overhead and out of the way.

Behind the cockpit is a swim platform with a dinghy hoist (I don't know that you can really call the contraption davits) and the platform accesses the sugar scoop transom steps on each hull.  One minor annoyance of the design is that the swim platform is difficult to navigate when the dinghy is in place. A fresh water shower is also installed on the transom as is the shore power plug.


Ok, this isn't the "eye candy" part, but there are a couple things I particularly like about this boat.  The Leopard 38 is powered by two 42hp Westerbeke engines which give it plenty of power.  Attached to those engines are straight shafts to the propellers.  While many seem to like saildrives, I see the added complexity and maintenance.  Shifting the weight of the engines further aft is also not good for the performance of the boat.

The boat is equipped with a Northern Lights 5.5KW diesel generator and there is enough space for 3 group 4D batteries (540 Ah or more depending on installed batteries) to provide plenty of power.  There is also a 2.5KW inverter so US AC devices also have power. We are still investigating how to install solar and/or wind to bring us a more eco-friendly off grid power option.

The main cabin has a 16,000 BTU AC with reverse cycle heat and the starboard forward berth has a separate 5,200 BTU AC with reverse heat.  I hope we won't have to use these much, but it is nice to know they are there.

Here are a few other boat specs:

LOA (length overall): 37 ft (11.28 m)
LWL (length at waterline): 33 ft 9 in (10.29 m)
Beam: 21 ft 3 in (6.48 m)
Draft: 3 ft 7 in (1.09 m)
Mast Height above DWL 59 ft 6 in (18.14 m)
Windward sail area: 1012 ft² (94.01 m²)
Displacement (empty): 6.93 tons (7045 kg)
Fuel (Diesel): 66 gal(250 liters)
Motors: 2 x 42hp Westerbeke
House Batteries (12V): 696 AH (old: 594 AH)
Generator: 5.5 KW
Fresh Water: 211 gal (800 liters)
Holding Tanks: 2 x 18 gal (2 x 70 liters)

More Pictures

For those that don't want to read, here are some additional pictures (more to come...).


  1. Hi Mike, I have enjoyed your blog and actually found my buyer broker (Peter Gulick) from your blog. I am under contract for a 99' Leopard 38' in NJ and will be traveling there Jan.7 for the survey. I am in Tampa Bay now, but will be volunteering at a state park in the keys starting Feb.1. I will likely leave the boat on the hard until first week of May then either head south with it to Florida or spend the summer in the Chesapeake and then head south learning the boat OJT. Also, have had some contact with the individual who I believe is buying Cats Paw unless he changed his mind. Post me if interested in discussing any aspect of our in common vessels. Best regards, Tom Conover.

    1. Hi Tom.
      Glad you enjoy the blog. Pete is a good guy, seems to genuinely have the customers best interest at heart so I hope he has done well by you. I did see a L38 come on the market in that area around the time we were closing on our boat, it looked like a nice one. Hope your survey goes well.

      Our current plan is to be heading up the coast chasing the cold weather back north. Maybe we can meet up sometime and compare experiences over sundowners or something.

      Always glad to talk about boats or whatever. You are welcome to drop me an email as well. My email address is the name of the blog (all one word, not including the part) followed by the at symbol and ending in

      Sounds like you will have a busy winter and spring. Good luck!

  2. Hi Mike,

    I had not been keeping up on your blog (for some reason it got kicked out of my "blogs I follow" list on my wordpress account).

    Congrats on the boat! Can't wait to read more about it.

    Fair winds,


    1. Hey Jesse,

      Wordpress get mad at Blogger/Google maybe? Or from your post...maybe Wordpress only likes west coast blogs. ;-)

      In any case, yep, got a boat and am now living on it as I fix it up.

  3. Hi Mike, congrats on your purchase. I am just putting my Lagoon 37 on the market, so if you know anyone that wants one, mine is in great shape. Has everything you were looking for. It has fairly new 29 hp yanmars with 1000hrs. The inside is in GREAT shape. New main in 2012. It actually is on the hard right now getting new bottom paint.

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks. The Lagoons are good boats, it is unfortunate we couldn't find one in decent condition when we were shopping. I think I may know someone that might be interested...I'll reach out to them and see. If so, I'll see if I can get you guys in touch.

    2. Hey Steve,

      Shoot me an email and I'll see if I can get you in touch with another reader that is interested. Email is the name of this blog as a single word (at) (sorry for a bit of a riddle...trying to avoid excessive spam so I don't publish the email address verbatim).

  4. Hi Mike,

    I've been working my way through all of your posts for a while now and I'm finally caught up. I really appreciate your candidness around the trials and tribulations that you’ve gone through. My wife and I are in the very early stages of the same dream. Our next step is ASA 114. Thanks for being a great resource!

    1. Hi Jacob, Thanks! Glad you have been enjoying the blog...or at least learning from my mistakes. :) Good luck with your ASA courses...and all the fun that follows.

  5. Years later your blog still is helping people. We picked a 2000 Leopard 38. Sea trial in 3 days!

    1. Thank you Jim. Hope your sea trial goes well!