Being in the sailing industry, you tend to meet some extraordinary people-- our Leopard family is full of them. And Florida-based sea lovers Randy and Lennie Smith are no exception.
With years of power boating and monohull sailing under their belts, the Smiths took the leap to a Leopard. The Leopard 48 was the ideal vessel for their long term sailing goals. The couple is in the Caribbean now, but once they have finished the entire Caribbean they will sail to Panama, then through the canal and up to California (and that is just the beginning). “I didn’t want to be rolling back and forth thousands of miles. Once we got a catamaran, we could never go back. When we wake up it is light, bright and spacious. We have 360 degrees of visibility and we love it.” Randy continues, “It couldn’t be more comfortable.”
As with the purchase of any vessel, finding the one that suits all of your needs can be a long and daunting process. Randy shares, “The best advice I can offer to someone wanting to purchase a catamaran is to go to two boat shows, and don’t be in a hurry. After the first show consider the boats and options, wait six to eight weeks and go to another boat show. At the second boat show the boats will look different than the first, which is why you have to wait to buy.” Lennie adds, “Randy does the research on performance, and I research the lifestyle.”
In the end, the Smiths’ hard work and patience paid off, “As a result of the knowledge obtained from boat shows, boating magazines, sailing blogs, and previous charters, the Leopard 48 was a clear choice. We believe that Robertson and Caine have designed the perfect platform for a cruising couple. The highlights are the modern interior, forward cockpit and speed.” In fact, Randy revealed to us that he has redesigned his office to look like the interior of his Leopard. When inquired as to their satisfaction with Happy Together, Randy confirmed, “We would rate it very high. We have asked ourselves, ‘What are we missing?’ or ‘What should we have added?’ But I cannot think of anything that isn’t perfect. The boat sails fantastic, the storage space is excellent, it’s fast, the accommodations in the master and state rooms are fantastic, and then there is the forward cockpit, the original reason we went for a Leopard… being able to walk forward with ease— now we could never own a boat without that feature.
At the Strictly Sail Miami Boat Show in February we looked at every single boat. If we were going to buy another one today, we would come back to Leopard. We need a boat that is performance and sea worthy. If Leopard builds a 52 sailing cat, we will be the first customers. If we were buying a boat tomorrow, we would buy the Leopard 48 again.
The Smiths are no strangers to anyone who is considering the purchase of a Leopard. They share their love and knowledge of sailing through videos on social media. What started out as a fun hobby has developed into a following of thousands. Randy confirms, “It grew into e-mails with questions about the boat, and then people seeing us at the Miami Boat Show and recognizing us. We make sailing videos that show a little humor and fun, but also the important things like maintenance of the boat. And we have fun while we are doing it.” After watching their short films, fun sounds like an understatement.
Randy and Lennie use the term pre-retirement to describe the adventurous and hardworking, yet still relaxing lifestyle that they live. Happy Together, their Leopard 48, resides in the Caribbean, and the Smiths divide up their time between Florida and whichever island they landed on last. “I had to find a way to spend more time out of the office and Lennie, a General Contractor, had to decide how many houses she could build part-time. Our answer was transition, a simple but powerful word.” Randy continues, “Nine days a month are spent on our boat, and we work three weeks out of the month and two weekends. The goal is to spend four months out of the year sailing.” According to the couple, once they are in full retirement mode eight months out of the year will be spent aboard their multihull.