As if you needed any more reason to love the Leopard 50 Sailing Catamaran, this world-class cruising yacht has just firmly secured its place as a sailing and performance multihull by taking home the win in all three of the Caribbean’s major multihull regattas this spring.
Owner Georges Coutu, on the Leopard 50 La Novia, started off the season in February with the St Maarten Caribbean Multihull Challenge. The season's first regatta saw La Novia battle it out against another particularly fast leopard -and last year’s winner- the 47 Seaduction. La Novia eventually took home first prize in a very tight race.
The next challenge was the infamous Heineken Regatta also in St Maarten in early March. La Novia was tied for points against a very different multihull, the Diam 24, CryBaby. La Novia ultimately took home the trophy for the lowest average points.
The BVI Spring Regatta in April finally sealed the deal for La Novia. Georges explained that they raced the best race they ever had and won first place in their category and second place overall in the race around Tortola! In this particular race, he said that La Novia performed really well upwind.
The boat and crew now claim ultimate bragging rights for winning all three races in their category this season. “We wanted to win the three big regattas: Caribbean Multihull Challenge, the Heineken Regatta, and the BVI Spring Regatta – winning this one completes the dream that I had of winning all three. The competition was very strong, and I liked that every day we had to fight to make it”, said owner Georges Coutu after his impressive hat-trick win.
With multihulls and cruisers-turned-racers starting to steal the show at regattas around the Caribbean, we decided to catch up with La Novia owner and Leopard enthusiast Georges Coutu to talk about his love and history with Leopard Catamarans.
An Interview with the Catamaran Owner
Where did your love for Leopards start?
It started with a Lagoon 380 that I had owned for three years. Then I bought a Lagoon 440. After that, I fell in love with a Leopard 48 that I owned for five years. I was very happy with the 48, but the new 50 was representing a super upgrade for me so I decided to go for the 50.
How do you feel about La Novia’s performance overall?
We have a great team of sailors. We have been sailing all our lives and have a strong background in windsurfing. Also, the boat is sailing very well. La Novia is equipped with North Sails 3Di, main and genoa, and a north code zero. La Novia sails extremely well upwind at 30 degrees with apparent wind. We are also very proud of our starts since nine races out of 10 we started first!
What were some moments during the regatta you wish could have gone differently?
We have learned a lot from the past seven years of regattas. We make sure that nothing will break because we sail the boat very hard! We even flew a hull in 2022 during the Heineken regatta with 18 knots of boat speed with a full main sail and code zero. Sometimes we push too much!
What is a typical race day like for you from start to finish?
We take the start very seriously and have developed a systematic approach to the starting line. Then the upwind legs of the race are our favorite because we sail so well upwind. This comes from all the racing we have done mainly in windsurfing. Our helm man, Gary Eversole, was a windsurfing world champion and Hall of Fame member. After a race, if we make very few mistakes and sail the course well, we are very happy. Then we take the toys out on the water and do some wing foil, kite foil and E-Foil!
Do you mostly use your Leopard 50 for sailing competitions?
No, because regattas are only one aspect of my boat life. We love to sail around the Caribbean islands. La Novia’s main port is Puerto Bahia Marina in Samana, Dominican Republic. We love sailing the Caribbean because it is probably the best playground for sailors with constant winds of 15 to 25 Knots, and warm and crystal-clear waters, surrounded by different countries and cultures. La Novia is also a party boat equipped with a professional Pioneer DJ system for private parties among friends. I would say that I spend about 100 days per year on my boat.
If you want to find out more about what sailing a Leopard 50 is like from multi-award-winning sailor and owner Georges Coutu, take a look at our interview with him after his first sail onboard a Leopard 50 in the British Virgin Islands back in 2018.