Captain's ReportThe Leader 180 CAT is great for backcountry fishing, canals, and inter-coastal waterways and would make a great tender for large motor vessels. She’s not a deep sea fishing boat like her big sister the 220, but she can hold her own in choppy weather. Leader is one of the first manufacturers to incorporate the catamaran design in an 18’ fishing boat, which is expected to be one of the fastest growing segments in the boating industry. Unlike typical v-hull designs, catamarans ride on 2 hulls, or sponsons, allowing them to react faster to water conditions. This results in a dry and stable ride even in rough waters. Leader uses a foam filled bulkhead for added strength, and there is no wood used in the construction of the hull.The 180 CAT may offer a unique hull design, but when you step in the cockpit, you’ll see it offers the traditional features you’d expect to find in any fishing boat.Functionality is key on a fishing rig, so you’ll appreciate the non-skid molded inner liner and the self-draining cockpit, a feature not normally found on a boat this size. The 180 comes with an array of options such as a T-top, dual captains chairs, and more. This boat is fast, very fuel-efficient, and handles well as a catamaran. We did however notice that the gunwales are low and could present a problem to passengers unaware of sharp turns. The captain should be aware of the way this boat tracks and should make the passengers aware also. Optional twin helmsman seats are available, but we liked the movable backrest on the standard 84-quart cooler seat for when it’s time to relax after catching your limit. There are also four stainless steel rod holders located on the gunnel. The center console has a one-piece stainless grab rail, and a decent storage compartment.The feel of the 180 took a bit of getting used to, but after some water time, it was obvious this boat was not afraid to take on some choppy conditions. Although it had only a 7’ beam, the 180 had the feel of a much wider beat. And with an 8” draft, there isn’t much water the 180 doesn’t like. The 180 planned out in 5.6 seconds and was up to 30mph in 16.0 seconds. Her top speed was 33.3 mph at 5000 rpm, and the 180 comfortably cruised at 20.2 mph at 3500 rpm. With the 26-gallon fuel tank, the 220 can cruise for 113 miles on a single tank. In an effort to maximize the cruising range, we would recommend a 4-stroke outboard for it’s increased fuel efficiency.This 18-foot boat has the ability to handle rough water better than most 22’s or 23’s. She lets you fish the flats and the reefs while maintaining a stable ride and having a little fun at the same time.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Leader 180 Cat is 33.3 mph (53.6 kph), burning 8.20 gallons per hour (gph) or 31.04 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Leader 180 Cat is 20.2 mph (32.5 kph), and the boat gets 4.81 miles per gallon (mpg) or 2.05 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 113 miles (181.86 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 90-hp Suzuki 4-stroke outboard.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!