Boat Review by: Richard Crowder
Jeanneau’s new Leader 12.5 WA (Walkaround) is the largest of its five WA models and exemplifies the versatility of this design to maximize both daytime and overnight pleasure boating.
These five Leader WA designs join three Leader Centre Consoles and another two Leader express cruisers in the Jeanneau powerboat lineup consisting of six series and dozens of models. As a bit of background, it was in France where Henri Jeanneau first turned his interest from automobiles and airplanes and in 1957, he built his first powerboat that quickly turned into a full production line. He was one of the first to utilize Kevlar for its lightness and strength and the Jeanneau brand became famous on the European powerboat racing circuit.
In 1996, Jeanneau became part of the Groupe Beneteau family of sail and powerboats, arguably the oldest and largest continuously operating pleasure boat producer in the world. The Jeanneau powerboat lineup has gradually expanded in North America, and specifically in Canada, to become a recognized brand. Jeanneau’s utilization of the very talented Michael Peters Design for many of its powerboats has certainly quickened the brand’s acceptance in the North American marketplace.
The Leader 12.5 WA is powered by triple Yamaha 4.2 L V6 outboards of 300 horsepower each for 900 total horsepower to this forty-foot mid-cabin express cruiser displacing eighteen thousand pounds. Factory testing reports an optimal cruising speed of around 30-35 mph with a top speed of 50 mph, depending of course on loading and sea conditions.
Jeanneau utilizes the latest in fiberglass technology to build the Leader 12.5 WA with one-piece resin-infused vacuum bagged stringers and hull. Built into this is Peters’ renowned deep-vee hull design to create a commendably deep-vee of twenty-one degrees of deadrise for a smooth ride when the going gets rough, and a pair of longitudinal strakes on each side of the hull bottom for ease of planing and running efficiency. The chines are designed to deflect spray to keep the cockpit dry.
All of this power and efficiency is smoothly controlled from a modern and ergonomically designed helm. Three high-back raised helm chairs with forward flip-up bolsters, footrests, and fold-up armrests coddle the driver and two others. Controls come immediately to hand via a sporty tilting and wrapped steering wheel and Yamaha electronic throttle and gear controls.
Yamaha Command Link engine readout screens come standard, and these may be incorporated into the available single or twin navigation screens. Joystick steering control for docking is available as is a bow thruster. Air conditioning at the helm and cockpit is also available. Ahead is a highly raked protective windshield with articulated wiper and overhead, a fiberglass hardtop. The hardtop has an opening centre hatch and lots of room for the available remote spotlight, Garmin radar, and satellite TV, radio, and navigation antennae. A Fusion stereo with multiple speakers is standard.
The cockpit, or rather, what Jeanneau refers to as the twin cockpits on the Leader 12.5 WA, perhaps offers the greatest flexibility for day boaters. “Walkaround” access is available on both sides of the helm area for docking and fender-handling chores, but a wider walkway is provided on the port side, a step up from the cockpit level, which becomes level through to the U-shaped bow seating area. Three high-back forward-facing chaise lounge seats serve this area with bench seating surrounding the forward portion. A footwell is provided and a hi-lo table with filler cushions is available to create a huge sunpad. A large portable sunshade is also available.
Access to the stern cockpit from shore is via a convenient starboard hullside opening door, or via the swim platform extensions and the port side opening transom door to the platform. The real piece de resistance on this boat is the huge electrically actuated portion of the portside hullside that is at least three-persons wide and lays down horizontally and level with the cockpit floor to provide exceptional water access. Jeanneau calls it “the electric drop-down terrace to port.”
Cockpit seating is provided by an L-shaped lounge, the stern seatback portion of which folds down to become a stern sunpad. A fiberglass or optional hi-lo teak table serves this stern lounge to which optional filler cushions may be added to create one huge sunlounge. Aft of the three helm chairs is a full-width refreshment centre or “entertainment island” with electric grill, a pair of sinks (one of which may be opted as a livewell), refrigerator, countertop prep area, lots of storage and available second fridge or ice-maker. An electric remote controlled SureShade sun-awning is available to protect the entire cockpit area. Lowering out of the hardtop is an available TV to serve the cockpit.
A door to the left of the helm leads five steps down to the cabin with a full galley immediately to port. There is lots of storage provided as well as a stainless sink and two-burner ceramic electric cooktop. A microwave is available. Forward is a large U-shaped and comfortable hi-lo dinette table which converts into a full-sized king bed. Storage is provided beneath the dinette seat cushions.
A mid-cabin aft stateroom is equipped with both a double and a single forward-facing bed which may be joined together to make a king bed. Storage drawers and cabinets surround the beds. Hullside fixed windows provide natural lighting. Separate air conditioning units serve this and the forward dining/sleeping area. A large head compartment to starboard and opposite the galley provides a separate stand-up shower compartment with seat as well as a vessel sink, toilet, plus upper and lower storage cabinets.
Jeanneau’s new Leader 12.5 WA maximizes its day boating flexibility while providing most comfortable overnighting attributes as it lives up to its do-everything mission.
|Dry weight:||15,704 lbs (Boat Only)||7,123 kg (Boat Only)|
|Fuel Capacity:||304 US gal||1150 L|
|Base Engine / Drive:||Triple Yamaha Outboard|
|Engine HP:||Triple 300|