leopard 45 catamaran at sea with cape town south africa in background

Can This Floating Apartment Sail? (Sailing Cape Town, South Africa)

Sailing means different things to different people.  Hence the never-ending debate over which boat is the best.  We honestly don’t get too hung up on it all.  Any boat that stays afloat and gets you to your destination could be considered a good boat.  I would venture to say that any boat that gets you motivated to get out on the water and explore is a good boat.

But, opinions are like birthdays; everyone has one and thinks theirs is important.

When it comes to catamarans, many a sailor will scoff at the major production boats and label them as floating apartments or condomarans.  Ya know, big, boxy things not meant for sailing.

I’ll admit that I have thought the same when looking out at raised flybridges with hulls twice the width of ours.

But, once upon a time, our sailboat CURIOSITY was the production catamaran or “floating apartment” of her day.  Designed for comfort and space but with decent performance.

Now, here we are, boarding the Leopard 45 which is the modern-day “floating apartment” version of our CURIOSITY.  It’s way bigger and there have been more than a few design changes over the past fifteen years.  So the question that begs to be answered…can it sail and is it a better boat?

I honestly didn’t expect to be so impressed.  I really thought this would be confirmation that we already owned the better boat.  I thought it would be harder to handle (windage), less agile, more bouncing (wider hulls), and more…well…bulky.

Instead, it was a responsive vessel with a smooth, relaxed vibe.  I don’t think any of us could quite get over just how damned comfortable and quiet everything was.  It may be loaded with all the comforts of an apartment, but it was still just as much fun to sail.

After touring the factory where Leopard Catamarans are made (very impressive) and having sailed on the 2020 Leopard 45 I feel I can finally answer the burning question “is a newer Leopard better?”.

Yes and no.  Because we live in reality and try not to think in hypothetical dream worlds.  Because in a dream world we wouldn’t be looking a Leopard, we would be looking at a custom-built, sustainably made, alternatively powered multi-million dollar vessel.  (queue angelic music and sexy dream sequence)

But back to reality, where it boils down to price.  What can you afford?  Sure, I would 100% consider the new Leopards if I were in the market for a boat and it were in my budget.  It’s a very comfortable boat with a strong build made to last.

But, scaling back 10 or 15 years can mean 50-60% less money.  Which can mean the difference between sailing now or when future you can afford that new boat.  I will always choose sail now.  Because the older leopards, like our Curiosity, are still considered some of the best production catamarans out there.

jason and nikki wynn at the helm of a leopard catamaran in south africa

nikki wynn on the bow of a leopard catamaran with cape town south africa in background

jason and nikki wynn at the helm of leopard catamaran in cape town south africa

leopard 45 test sail with jason and nikki of gone with the wynns in cape town south africa

That said, we are writing this post from Fiji…so we didn’t steal the boat and sail off (but we did consider it).  We’re still locked down waiting for borders to open so we can get back to our CURIOSITY.  She may not be the modern-day luxury that is the new L45 but she is still one helluva catamaran.

This whole experience has made our love for our proudly South African built boat stronger.  Her story became deeper with the factory tour, we shook the culturally diverse hands that spent months building her and listened to tales of delivery captains sailing Leopards to America.

Add that to the years of memories made with her original Canadian family, the 13,000+ miles of adventures we’ve had and the ones we still have to make.  As far as boat lifetimes go…her adventures are in their infancy.  We’ll be back CURIOSITY!  We’ll swim if we have to!


Thanks to Marcel, Valentine, and the Leopard crew for hosting us in your beautiful home of Cape Town.  Thank you to our new friends Michael and Tammy, for joining us on the adventure and helping capture some fantastic shots!

And Thank YOU!  Thanks for reading, watching, commenting, and sharing.  If you like what you see, there are lots of FREE ways you can show your support.




Hello there! I honestly don’t know what to say, so I am going to tell you a bunch of random facts instead. I'm a fish eating vegetarian who hates spiders and loves snakes. I almost never took vacations growing up. I wanted to be Pippi Longstocking (still do). I misspell about every other word I write and still struggle with grammar. I love splurging on a good high tea (which is really hard to find these days). And whatever you do, don’t tell me I can’t do something, because then I'll HAVE to do it!

Comments (39)

  • Linda Levy

    We rented a catamaran from moorings in the Caribbean and it had the front porch. We LOVED it. With a group of 9 on a 4 cabin boat, the extra “escape” space made things a bit more relaxed. Fortunately there you don’t normally hit any sort of heeling, because the kitchen is way too open for bracing..

  • JUDY Goodson

    Seeing a ape town again was awesome! It’s been 18 years since I’ve been there. So many wonderful memories!

  • Deborah Kerr

    That was fun! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  • Carol

    Beautiful video as always. I found it amusing that you would doubt the Leopard 45’s sea worthiness considering what you’ve been sailing in. I just can’t imagine a company putting all that time, money, expertise, not to mention labor into something that wouldn’t perform. I expected it wouldn’t be a question of whether it could but how much better? I think I would have to agree about the galley! Bigger isn’t always better!

    • nikki wynn

      I didn’t doubt the seaworthiness but I was uncertain how well it would perform. There have been other brands of new boats we have been out on that did not perform well (slow and a terrible beat when sailing into the wind), which is why I was uncertain. The hulls have become much wider and hull shape affects performance greatly. Our 15-year-old 43 ft boat can get the same speeds as the new 45 and our boat is much smaller. So you do compromise speed for all that space and comfort. Do I think it’s worth it? It all depends on the sailor and where they plan on sailing. It would be a dream in the south pacific and the route we have taken so far!

  • Jeanette Brennan

    Terrific video! So glad you got to sail in this beautiful Cat. Great to see you out on the ocean once again. Hope you get back to Curiosity very soon. Stay safe and well and keep cleaning up the beach! Great role models!! 💝⛵️🙏

  • Alan Solomon

    I am not sure if you got my comment about this video and if there is any news on you getting back to Curiosity soon? Here it is again!

    Awesome boat for sure. It is just newer and bigger. Definitely more roomier than Curiosity but, Curiosity is a great boat too, especially after 15 years. Thanks for the tour and the experience.

    Are you guys going back to the apartment that you were in before you went to South Africa or are you still waiting for the 2 week or 1 month quarantine to be over with? Any news on you getting back to Curiosity anytime soon?

    • Curious Minion

      Hey Alan. The Wynns are still stuck in Fiji. Tonga has announced the border opening won’t be until mid-June at the earliest. You can follow them on Facebook or Instagram for real-time updates & stories. They post often there. Cheers!
      Curious Minion

  • Alan Solomon

    What an awesome boat. It is just newer and bigger. Definitely more roomier that what you have now but, what you have now is still pretty good, especially after 15 years. I see what you mean in the kitchen Nikki. Too much space but, the front porch is way cool! Thanks for the tour and the experience.

    Are you guys going back to where you were before South Africa? To the apartment, still waiting for 2 weeks or 1 month of quarantine to be over with?
    Is there any change on you getting back to Curiosity anytime soon?

  • Robin

    Do you ever think of remodeling parts of the interior of Curiosity? Sometimes I make sketches of an improved (for me) version of our Lagoon 380, but then I think ugh tearing stuff out always opens a can of worms, fiberglass is gross, and we can’t sail while we do it.

    Then I start thinking of a newer boat, but those are expensive (and probably have their own issues that I’d have to figure out), and I come right back around to “leave well enough alone”. But boy would I like to tinker with my galley and reconfigure the countertop…

  • Stephen Bradshaw

    As always beautifully written and entertaining, Hope you get to curiosity soon as our Yacht and going sailing at weekends in lockdown has been our sanity check, Thanks for the wonderful entertainment hope to bump into you one day on the high seas.

  • Michael Emerson

    Sweet Boat, hope you get home soon.

  • Nancy W.

    Love your videos! Have been so inspired by the places you’ve been~
    Happy continued travels~ BE SAFE!

  • rj

    howdy guys, been looking at cats for 2 years now. love the front cockpit with the door. and i don’t care what the “real” sailors say, give me a floating apt. any day! and hey Jayson, south Africans say that’s your uncle bob?? my mind is thinking all the ways that can be dirty now. lol

  • Kimberly Watwood

    That “front porch” is ideal!

    • Yea, super nice because you have shade options throughout the day! It does create some extra windage but it should be worth it 😎

  • Annelise Dubose

    Was so happy this morning to see a new post, feed our Wynn addiction 😬. I agree with Julie, it is a wonderful escape to watch your adventures.

    • Glad you enjoyed this little sail in Cape Town, it seems like so long ago but it was less than 2 months! What a different world it was.

  • Lucy Armstrong

    Hello Nikki and Jason, back in late 1950’s, I was about 15 years old, my mother and her boyfriend (at the time) bought a 17-foot catamaran. We lived in Long Beach, California. He was an airline pilot. We went to Avalon, Catalina Island and back. Looking back, it seems that was crazy. We had no communication and I can not recall any safety equipment. Just thought I’d share.

    • How neat is that story! That’s a bit of a sail on a small cat…but it goes to show with a little planning anything is possible! And who knows: maybe he filed a sail plan with the coast guard?

  • Anita

    I felt a pang watching that video knowing what the whole world was about to be facing, including you and Jason. Hope you are still well in Fiji. Please provide a video from there soon too.

  • Bernie Vielwerth

    Enjoy but be safe
    Cheers Bernie in Palm Springs ca.

  • Steven

    How fantastic!! Well done editing and producing a sailing adventure.
    Great entertainment.

  • Roy Hardcastle

    Hello enjoyed our visit this morning. I had nice surprise visit with your Mom Sat & Sunday. Enjoy your self.
    Roy Grandpaw

    • So happy to have you on board with us! It’s nice to see family out here in the great wide world of the internet. See ya next week.

  • Mary

    What a beautiful boat! Clean, white, and new could be nice knowing all the work you ahead of you in Tonga! I know that you’re anxious to get back so that you can continue your adventures. However there is something to say about an old gal. They are tried and true and do know their way. It takes a lot of maintenance to keep her looking good and operating well and even more through the years.

    I woke up thinking about how nice it would be if the boat fairies came and took care of all the maintenance while you were away. I wish I could wave a magic wand!

    This old gal loves you both dearly! Safe travels.

    • Oh man would that be amazing if there was some magic fairy to do our boat work! That would make me sooooooooo happy! The good news is we know the work will pay off with amazing adventure…assuming we can get to Tonga. Geeze, what a world.
      Love you too mom & Happy Mother’s Day.

      • Mary

        Big hugs from Texas!!

  • Glenn Adams

    Great vid… like kids in a candy store. LOL

  • Marjorie Nehlsen

    Once again, another awesome video meeting my Sunday expectations 🙋

  • Howard Brooks

    Love your videos.

    • Julie Nalletamby

      Keep clicking in and willing you to be out of lockdown and back on Curiosity. Thanks for all your videos which are a brilliant escape at the moment. I have only done a few little flotilla sails and am in huge admiration of your adventures. Hope you get home soon. Julie.

  • Louis Miller

    Nice boat and I looks like you two are still having fun 😇

    • We had a BLAST sailing…can’t wait to be back on the water.


Post a Comment