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Brief Summary

Jeanneau’s Leader 36 is an express day cruiser built for short, coastal voyages. Two versions are available: the Sport Top, which has an electronic sunroof, and the Open, which comes with a GRP radar arch. Both models share the same layout, which includes a fully equipped galley, swim platform, adjustable sundeck, head and separate shower compartment. This vessel is well-suited for families or couples looking to have fun and spend a few nights on the water in a relatively affordable vessel.

Key Features

  • Two staterooms
  • Joystick steering is standard
  • Electronic trim tabs
  • Spacious cockpit salon
  • Transom deadrise of 16.2-degrees
  • Gas and diesel options for propulsion
  • Specifications

    Length Overall 38' 1'' / 11.62 m
    Beam 11’ 10''
    3.62 m
    Dry Weight 14,586 lbs.
    6,616 kg
    Tested Weight N/A
    Draft 3' 7''
    1.08 m
    Deadrise/Transom 16.2-deg.
    Max Headroom N/A
    Bridge Clearance N/A
    Fuel Capacity 148 gal.
    560 L
    Water Capacity 42 gal.
    159 L
    Total Weight N/A


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    Engine Options

    Tested Engine Currently no test numbers
    Std. Power Not Available
    Opt. Power 2 x 260-hp Volvo Penta D4 Diesel
    2 x 300-hp Volvo Penta D4 Diesel

    Captain's Report

    Contents of Report

    Jeanneau Leader 36 running

    The Jeanneau Leader 36 has Euro styling with a reverse sheer transom. Shown is the Sport model, with the sunroof open.


    Powered with twin sterndrives, Jeanneau’s Leader 36 is a capable cruiser in a well-priced package. Above the waterline the vessel is well suited for relaxation in the sun, and other day-boating activities such as on-board picnics, entertaining, and cocktail parties. The below decks interior living spaces have an innovative, open layout forward that permits multi functions, and a double berth amidships for cruising with two couples or a small family.

    Jeanneau Leader 36

    The Leader 36, which shares the same deck plan as the larger Leader 40, has an open layout designed for enjoying the outdoors. Note the wide swim platform and expansive sun pad on the foredeck.

    Major Features

      • Enclosable space in the below-decks cabin

      • Adjustable backrest on the aft lounge

      • Large head compartment with an enclosed shower

      • Fully equipped galley

      • Large sun pad on the bow

      • Full standing headroom in the cabin


    The Jeanneau Leader 36 has a length overall of 38’1” (11.61 m), a beam of 11’10” (3.61 m), and an approximate dry weight of 14,586 lbs. (6,616 kg). The power plants offered range from 260-hp twin diesels to twin 300-hp in either gas or diesel, all with sterndrives. Her fuel capacity 148 gallons (560 L) and water capacity is 42 gallons (159 L).

    When we compare the Leader 36’s dry displacement with other express boats in class we find that she is about the lightest – usually between 1,000 lbs. and 3,000 lbs. (454 kg and 1,362 kg). Her beam is about the same as others in class, as is her fresh water capacity. However, her fuel carrying capacity is the least of all boats we checked, and many of them carried 100 gallons (370 L) more. This is likely due to the fact that in Europe a gallon of diesel fuel is more efficient than gas, and that Europeans use their boats differently than Americans.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 running

    This model of the Jeanneau Leader 36 has a radar arch and is open overhead. Canvas can be added in the aftermarket which will add utility without much extra cost.

    Performance and Handling has not tested the Leader 36, so we can offer no opinion as to her performance and handling.

    When we compare the Leader 36 with other express cruisers her length and weight, she is in the middle of the class as far as displacement is concerned. With a deadrise at the transom of 16.5-degrees, she is a bit flatter there than most other boats in class which typically have a deadrise from 17 to 21-degrees. Michael Peters has given her this relatively modest deadrise in order to make her easier to push, so she will go faster and use less fuel, than she would with a deeper V aft.

    An equally important aspect of her hull is the deadrise angle forward and amidships which is what will ultimately determine how comfortable she is in a seaway. Peters has as much experience designing hulls in this size range as anyone on the planet, so he knows what the angle should be at every section along the hull. This is every designer’s secret sauce, and we can only hope that Peters has gotten it right for the Leader 36.

    Joysticks are available.


    Jeanneau offers a choice of diesel or gas propulsion for the Leader 36. For diesel, there are twin Volvo Penta D4 260-horsepower to 300 horsepower engines with DuoProp sterndrives lower units. Features of the Volvo Pentas include common-rail fuel injection, double overhead camshafts, a freshwater cooling system, a seawater strainer, and easy access to the impeller pump.

    The other option is twin 300-horsepower MerCruiser 6.2-liter MPI V-8 gas engines, with dual prop sterndrives. These engines have computer controlled multi-port fuel injection, a closed freshwater cooling system and the Adaptive Speed Control (ASC), which holds engine RPM regardless of load.

    Outboards? With express cruisers this size now coming out with outboard power, the question begs, will Jeanneau do the same with the Leader 36? We don’t know, but our guess is that this boat would have to be completely reengineered for outboards – it is not a matter of just hanging them on the edge of the swim platform.

    This boat’s roots are in Europe where diesel fuel is more economical than gasoline, and so diesel is standard equipment there. They also have more torque than gas engines. Further, until recently, gasoline inboard engines were more economical than outboards, and they also have more torque than 4-stroke outboards. So, for Americans, we think the gas MerCruisers are most likely to be the most rewarding engine option.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 running

    Jeanneau reports that at full throttle, the Leader 36 can reach up to 33 knots, consuming about 30 gallons an hour. A comfortable, efficient cruising speed is usually between 17 and 21 knots, and at those speeds this vessel should have an approximate range of 130 to 150 nautical miles.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 engines

    The engines are under the aft lounge, which lifts electronically at the push of a button. Note that raw water sea strainers are on top for easy inspection as are oil dipsticks and fills.

    Boat Inspection

    The Stern

    One of the most interesting features on the Leader 36 is the double wide aft lounge. The backrest can be adjusted to create a variety of seating configurations. We liked the cup holders and adjacent, full-length handrail that aids movement on the swim platform, which also doubles as a footrest when the backrest is positioned so loungers are facing the open water when at anchor.

    Reverse the backrest and loungers can sit upright, facing inboard and within comfortable reach of the table in the cockpit.

    Swimmers have easy access in and out of the boat via the full-beam swim platform and the stainless steel swim ladder. The ladder is stowed in a compartment built into the starboard side of the platform. This deck space can also double as a place to stow watersports equipment, such as a paddleboard. It is even big enough for a PWC.

    A shower wand with hot and cold water comes standard.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 swim platform

    The swim platform extends well beyond the outdrives which is an important safety feature.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 lounge

    Shown is the adjustable backrest positioned fully forward. Beneath the cushion is a large storage space, which could house a rolled up inflatable dinghy or similar large equipment.

    The lounge lifts electronically to access the engine and mechanical spaces. Hot water is provided by the engines and by an electric hot water heater. The vessel has both an inverter and a generator, as well as an automatic fire buoy system for the engine room. Just forward of the engines are the fuel tanks, which are accessed through the deck sole hatch.


    The Leader 36 is clearly designed for taking in the sun and on-water relaxation and day-boat entertaining. Both Sport and Open versions of the 36 are built with the same, open cockpit layout. Passengers on the Open model, which features a radar arch, can be shaded with an optional Bimini while operators of the Sport model press a button and the electronic sunroof on the hardtop pulls back to let the sunshine in.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 cockpit

    The Leader 36 has a unique seating arrangement in the cockpit. Across from the helm there are options for passengers to sit looking forward or recline facing aft.

    Passengers stepping up from the swim platform will find a standard hardwood table with fixed U-shaped seating to port. Here there is space for four, with room for two more if the aft lounge is configured with the backrest positioned aft. When not in use, the table can be folded in half, which reveals a flat steel top with built-in cup holders. This is one of the most compelling features of the boat – seats for six around the table.

    On-Deck Wet Bar. Opposite the table is a small galley with a wet bar and storage compartments. An optional grill refrigerator are available. During cocktail parties, this console can be used as a side board for beverages or finger food.

    Jeanneau Leader 36

    Here the table is shown fully open and the aft lounge backrest is in an upright position. Notice the boarding gate on the starboard side of the lounge.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 cockpit table

    Standard exterior design elements include premium, and in certain locations, self-draining, foam upholstery. Shown is the optional teak cockpit floor.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 galley

    The galley sink has hot and cold water. This vessel has the second optional grill and refrigerator.

    The Helm

    Forward of the galley is the helm station with a single helm seat. A forward-facing companion seat is across the aisle next to the aft-facing chaise lounge.

    An optional multi-function display is positioned at the center of the helm station, just above the wheel, with the system switches, engine display gauge and optional VHF positioned close by. Set in a panel above the display are gauges for the trim, RPM, steerage, and fuel with the compass positioned at the top of the panel.

    The compass is installed as it should be on the centerline of the steering wheel hub, and there is a standard electric windshield wiper on the starboard side.

    Joystick steering is available and there is an option to install a bow thruster to aid docking. Joysticks are expensive, and bow thrusters are much less so. They do a good job of making docking easy and we would recommend them in this application.

    The optional electronic package includes upgrading the central display to a 12” touchscreen multifunction screen, autopilot controls dependent on choice of diesel or gas engine, a CHIRP radar antenna, and an AIS transceiver.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 helm

    The boat shown here has both a joystick and a bow thruster, and we can easily imagine circumstances when the current is strong and the joystick simply takes too long to twist the stern in the desired direction and needs the help of the thruster. The all white helm may cause a bit of glare on sunny days.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 joystick

    To the right of the wheel is the joystick, bow thruster control, trim tabs, and thrust controls.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 windshield

    The express windshield offers a wide field of view, and the mullions are narrow providing good visibility. The sliding window to the right of the helm is welcome, but this boat is designed to be steered while sitting down. To stand up and drive, the sun roof has to be open on the Sport model. Many European express cruisers are built this way.


    The bridge deck’s helm pod is slightly asymmetrical. It is possible to move forward on either side of the bridge, put there is a slightly wider side deck to port. The walkways are narrow, but grab rails are smartly positioned to aid balance.

    The foredeck sun pad has space for two or three passengers and has the added bonus of lifting backrests. From the bow, operators can also access the optional anchor and standard electric windlass.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 sun pad

    The sun pad backrest can be raised to a 45-degree angle.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 safety rails

    High safety rails make maneuvering around the boat a little safer.


    The Galley. Step down the companionway to access the open-plan cabin. To port is the fully equipped main galley with a sink, two-burner gas stove, and refrigerator, all standard. A microwave is optional. Storage is overhead and in a cabinet. Above the sink is a cabinet with all of the electric controls, battery switches, and water levels with a digital display.

    The Head. Opposite the galley is the head with a sink, vanity, and separate shower stall with head. We like this arrangement as it makes double use of the shower stall space and provides a seat when taking a shower. A manual head with holding tank is standard. There is an opening portlight and overhead hatch.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 head

    The standing room head has a compartmentalized walk-in shower with a Plexiglass door. Here we see the optional electric toilet.

    The Salon

    Jeanneau Leader 36 layout

    The cabin on the Leader 36 is all about utility. By day, the space is wide open to facilitate cooking, socializing, and relaxation in the L-shaped sofa around the table. By night, the partition creates a sense of privacy, the seat back at the foot of the bed flips up and a standard size bed appears.

    Jeanneau Leader 36

    Here we see the foot of the bed folded down to provide a back rest for the bench seat. This arrangement makes a cozy place for four people. Note the opening portlight on the starboard side and the indirect lighting in the soffit on the overhead.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 stateroom

    It feels like every inch has been maximized for utility. Small, but noteworthy features are the storage cabinets set into the bulkheads, the steps leading up to the berth, and the cup holders that are revealed when the table is halved.

    Forward, when the settee back rest is in the up position, the forward measures 78” head to foot x 63” wide (2 m x 1.6 m). There is a hanging locker and stowage compartments. For passengers desiring privacy, a sliding door can be pulled across the space, separating the master stateroom from the galley and head.

    Standing headroom measures at approximately 6-1/2’ (1.98 m) in the main cabin, and throughout the entire space there are a plethora of hatches and ports providing light and fresh air.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 salon

    Looking aft from the forward bed to the salon, galley, and companionway to the cockpit and the door to the mid cabin.

    Jeanneau Leader 36

    Shown is how the retractable door neatly closes off the galley, head and mid-cabin, allowing for greater privacy in the master stateroom.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 door

    Here we see the forward sliding door from the galley.

    Mid Cabin

    The door to the private mid-cabin stateroom is positioned between the companionway and the galley. The space extends below the bridge deck sole and has standing headroom thanks to the raised chaise lounge above. Inside, the berth can be configured as twins or one large bed that measures 78” head to foot and 63” wide (2.0 m x 1.60 m).

    On the port side of the cabin is a dressing bench seat that can double as a third berth. It measures 73-3/4” head to foot x 27-1/2” (1.9 x .70 m). Storage compartments are available under the cushions and there is a hanging locker aft. There are opening portlights for ventilation.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 mid cabin

    The two berths in the mid-cabin can be converted to a double berth by placing a filler board and cushion between the beds.

    Optional Equipment to Consider

    First, we would specify the anchoring kit. Then, we would add trim tabs and a bow thruster. The rest of the options owners might want to consider include a stereo, cockpit refrigerator, and grill for the cockpit and microwave for the galley below. For those into sunning, the sun pads forward are a must.


    Jeanneau offers a three-year general warranty on the parts, labor, and majority of components; a five-year warranty against the occurrence of hull blistering; and a 7-year warranty on the hull and deck.


    The base model starts at $342,700.

    Jeanneau Leader 36 running

    Jeanneau has packed a lot of utility in to their Leader 36 sterndrive.


    The Jeanneau Leader 36 is a contender for families and couples looking for a boat under 40’ (12.2 m) that can be used for both day-boat entertaining and coastal cruising with two couples or a small family. The vessel certainly has a European aesthetic, especially when considering the airy feel of the Open model. The Sport would probably be more appropriate for boating in Northern latitudes, being more equipped to handle inclement weather with the hardtop.