Jenneau Leader 10

By: Kevin Smith, Photography by: Kevin Smith

Jenneau Leader 10 Jenneau Leader 10
Jenneau Leader 10 Jenneau Leader 10
Jenneau Leader 10 Jenneau Leader 10
Jenneau Leader 10 Jenneau Leader 10
Jenneau Leader 10 Jenneau Leader 10

Sportscruisers can carry a hot price tag but it’s hard to beat Jeanneau’s Leader 10 in the value-for-money stakes. This two-cabin, 36-foot weekend escape machine delivers on luxury, looks, fit-out and sporty pizazz.

Jenneau Leader 10
Jenneau Leader 10

In October we looked at the Cap Camarat 8.5 Centre Console and put it through its paces on Sydney Harbour. Manufactured by European giant, Jeanneau, the Camarat provided an interesting insight into French design and the direction European boat builders are headed.

Stylish and sophisticated, Jeanneau's powerboat range is competing well in home waters – testament to the excellent value offshore production yards can deliver on the back of a high Kiwi dollar – and the slim pickings available here in mid-size composite production powerboats.

Not only does Jeanneau manufacture trailerable powerboats, it's also pushing out some very classy larger vessels up to 36ft in length. The latest Jeanneau model to be showcased down-under is the Leader 10; an absolute head-spinner and a top performer.

A mix of sharp and soft lines, elegant touches and an open layout crammed full of creature comforts – some the reserve of luxury marques - make the Leader 10 a highly desirable mid-sized cruiser that works perfectly across a wide range of applications.

Whether window shopping or in the market for a boat in this category, we tend to look at price before we look too hard at any of the features. That is more or less how we approach the Leader 10.

At first glance the sizeable Jeanneau appears as though it would impose irreparable damage to most buyers' bank accounts, but I was pleasantly surprised when I popped the price question.

I wouldn't have flinched with an answer of somewhere between $500,000 and a million considering the package and it being a French import. My judgement was way off though — the Leader 10 coming in at $A379,000 as tested with all the bells and whistles in place.

More for less

So what do you get for your money? It's definitely not a substandard boat if that's what you're thinking. Rather, it's something quite elegant and classy. It's a boat that is pleasing to the eye and very well sorted for entertainers.

When I climbed aboard the open-plan cockpit and entertaining area that flows through to the helm, I automatically imagined sitting back and relaxing off an island somewhere. The Leader 10 has a huge windscreen and full wraparound side-glass, allowing in plenty of light and keeping it nice and airy. As tested this boat had the electronic sliding sunroof, a really good feature as you can adjust it quickly to suit the conditions.

Another thing that appealed was the social aspect of the cockpit layout: the ample lounge and dining area are under cover, while the transom lounge is only partly covered by the roofline for those wanting to catch a bit of a tan. What Jeanneau has also done is to double-up on galley accessories. Instead of having to go below to prepare food and drink, you have a mini galley on the top-deck, including a small fridge and prep-sink.

Two to tango

The helm has a very comfortable seating arrangement that's spacious enough for two — so the wife might even allow you to sit next her while she's driving. The dash layout is modern and sporty looking and has all the controls and electronics positioned correctly, making driving comfortable and the viewing of electronics unobstructed. Again, the large screen and side windows provide good 360-degree vision for the skipper.

One part of the design that caught my attention was the glass-topped wraparound dash that follows from the screen along the portside windows to provide natural light down below, which is accessed by an adequately-sized sliding door. Here space is abundant and it's a nice social spot where a full galley and lounge/dining area are combined. Once again, more light and ventilation than usual stem from the dash-glass above and the multitude of full-length side windows.

There are two cabins fore and aft of the saloon, however the single bathroom is not an en suite and functions as a day head which can only be accessed from the saloon. As per usual though, this is an important room for the ladies and it's a decent enough size.

Up front the master suite features a queen-sized bed, plenty of light and ventilation, and is spacious with loads of storage. The second suite doorway is next to the galley and is situated directly below the helm and cockpit area. It's also roomy and like the master cabin has a queen bed and plenty of stowage.

The trimmings and finishes are beautiful throughout the interior and exterior layout, with a combination of teak and classy upholstery. There is no lack of storage throughout the boat and, as mentioned, heaps of light and ventilation too. Another nice touch is the clip-in carpets; if you want a softer touch you can have them in, or simply take them out for the teak-floor look.

Overall, the Leader 10 has an ergonomic layout indeed, and despite having plenty packed into it, Jeanneau has managed to maintain spaciousness throughout.

Perky performer

Fitted with twin 260hp Volvo Penta D4s and a joystick there's most certainly no shortage of power. You can opt for 300hp but personally I don't think it's necessary. When knocking down the hammers, the hull planes fast and when the turbos kick in the Leader 10 accelerates up to high-speed instantaneously.

The controls are comfortable to drive and very smooth. Having the joystick option fitted is not necessary but I would definitely go for it — it makes driving that much more pleasant and even better when it comes to docking in tricky areas or conditions.

Within the Gold Coast's Broadwater, which was flat for our test, you can cruise at any speed, but we did take the boat outside for a spin too and the conditions, to say the least, were not the norm for an offshore cruise. The ocean had a fair swell on it, with a gusty 25knot southeaster puffing and turning the sea upside down — quite angry indeed.

Offshore the Leader 10 sat quite comfortably at around 20kts which, considering the conditions, was good. Speeds above that were achievable and even when pushing above 30kts the boat still maintained a good ride. In fact the Leader 10 sort of had a combination between a decent trailer boat's ride and a cruiser. Let's not forget she is quite a big boat and shouldn't really be driven like it's been stolen offshore. Regardless, it handled well and was impressive.

Even low-down, cranking it out of the hole on a relatively tight turning circle, the Leader 10 basically does what you would normally do in a smaller trailer boat. If anything, you do lose a bit of side vision hard into turns but that's really not the norm for this style of boat.

In my opinion it's the kind of boat that you sit back at 20 to 25kts and just cruise with. The motors' run quiet and economical at average cruise speeds, and if needs be you have the extra grunt to get you to your destination faster, or out of trouble just as rapidly.

The wrap

The Jeanneau Leader 10 is definitely a pleasant-sized boat to operate; not too small and not too large. The overall finishes and decor are classy and to top it off you have sporty looks and sporty performance combined.

With all the above mentioned features onboard, there is no need to stress about not having the creature comforts of home; it has the majority of them to keep you contented. Besides being comfortable to spend a weekend on, I would be quite happy to stay aboard for even longer.

For the dedicated fisherman it may not be the perfect fishing boat, but with a few add-ons you can adapt the Leader 10 to suit. Soon enough you'd be fishing in style.

This is one of those boats that you have to see for yourself simply because there are just way too many features to mention. Once again, I'm certain that we are going to see more and more of the Leader models — like the sister Cap Camarat range —on our waters in the near future. The boats are classy and pretty good value for money in my opinion.

By the way, within the next 12 months around another 16 models are scheduled to be added to the Cap Camarat range, so if this is anything to go by, we're definitely in for a few more treats from Jeanneau.

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