European boats consistently wow us with design, but most often in the larger, more expensive sizes. In the Leader 9, Jeanneau has applied the same sun-drenched aesthetic to both the exterior styling and the interior decor of this 32' express cruiser. The Leader has angular hullside windows to brighten the cabin, but to admit enough daylight, the windows need to be relatively large compared to her length. The Garroni Design Group pulled this off well, in our opinion: Although large, the windows don't jump out at you, and their shape fits in with the boat's lines, and even helps to create them.
The helm and on-deck lounge areas are enclosed on three sides by what Jeanneau calls a Sport Top, with an opening panel overhead; an aft enclosure is optional. The top's large areas of glass all around let in light, deflect UV rays and provide protection should the weather turn foul. We think an enclosed pilothouse like this one is a good choice: Not as confining as a Downeast style with an aft bulkhead, but way more protective than a folding soft top and side curtains.
Thirty-two feet of overall length mean lots of living takes place on deck if there are guests aboard, so the Leader 9's cockpit is set up for dining, cocktails, general socializing and sunning. The "U-"shaped lounge converts to a sun pad by lowering the dinette table. There is a mini-galley under a counter to port that has a sink and a refer. The fridge is standard in the U.S. with Trim Level 2012, included in the retail price. The hardwood cockpit sole and swim platform are optional.
Elegant Decor Belowdecks
In the cabin, the decor is as nice as we've seen in a boat this size, with a minimum of embellishment and a maximum of utility. The styling is clean, with just enough varnished joinery to remind folks they're aboard a boat; too much can soak up light and make the cabin unnecessarily dark. The hullside windows and raking windshield let in daylight, helped by a small fore hatch and secondary skylights on deck; recessed and overhead lighting illuminate the space at night. The galley is equipped with a stainless steel sink, water heater, microwave oven, stove, and 80-liter refrigerator (standard) – nice plus, the space can be ventilated through an opening porthole.
Gas Or Diesel?
The Leader 9 can be ordered with twin gas or diesel engines. "Standard" power is a pair of 280-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 Gi Duoprop gas engines; a bow thruster is also standard. (All engine options are Volvo Pentas, and all are Duoprop sterndrives.) According to performance numbers provided by Jeanneau – we haven't tested the boat ourselves – top speed with the twin 5.7s is 39.8 kts. (45.8 mph), best cruise 31.95 kts (36.7 mph). Range is 122.5 n.m., according to Jeanneau. This is ideal for making it from St. Tropez to Monte Carlo and back for the day, and sure beats sitting in Riviera traffic.Diesel enthusiasts can order a pair of 200-hp D3 Duoprops, at the cost of speed: Again according to Jeanneau, top speed with the twin D3s is 33.7 kts (38.7 mph), cruise 26.05 kts (29.9 mph). But thanks to the diesels' efficiency, cruising range is bumped way up, to 216.8 n.m. (Joystick control is optional with the D3s; the price wasn't available at press time.)
Frankly, most people really don't need any more boat than the Leader 9. This is a good-sized boat for going 90% of the places that most of our friends cruise each summer in boats 10 to 20 feet (3 to 6 m) larger costing 4 or 5 times more. People moving up from a smaller boat will find her easy to handle and have the thrill of moving up to a more rarified level of boating. Retiring folks looking to downsize into something which doesn't wrap up so much of their net worth, yet is still acceptable to the crowd at the yacht club bar, will find that the Leader 9 cuts the mustard and it's Grey Poupon. (Let us tell you a little secret: Half of the guys in red pants at the bar own a Jeanneau sailboat as well.)Clearly, the Leader 9 is intended primarily as a dayboat, with long weekend capabilities. We think it makes a versatile cruising boat for a couple and with the diesel option has the range for serious coastal cruising.
The boat is simply quite versatile -- use her as a day boat or be as adventuresome as you dare cruising down the coast. We think this boat will serve you well in either capacity.Americans will put a rod holder in the coaming of the port quarter and stick a BBQ grill there and cook up some steaks at anchorage. Europeans will back her into a slip and enjoy the local wine and some light hors d'oeuvres in the cockpit with friends, or stroll to a nearby bistro or trattoria. Either way it's living about as good as it gets and with the Leader 9, you still have money left over to send your children or grandchildren to private school.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!