THE JEANNEAU Leader 30 hull was drawn by the respected American house Michael Peter Yacht Design which, as well as other Leaders, has also designed the Prestige range for Jeanneau including the 38, 42 and 58.

They have designed a classic sea kindly hull which is sporty, but makes a virtue of keeping the occupants as dry as possible in all sea conditions, really vital in an open boat such as the Leader 30.

The concept is aimed at buyers looking for sporty, social days afloat with perhaps the odd weekend or overnight for a couple or small family. That is pretty much what the large cockpit and spacious cabin provides for. It has one cabin and the bow settee also converts to a double, writes YL boat test editor Andi Robertson. 

The smaller sister to the successful 36 is the only open Leader. It is designed as an entry level introduction to the range, a boat which will ‘lead’ on to bigger Leaders, jumping maybe to the 40 or 46 in time, or to others in the Prestige range perhaps.

The expansive cockpit is where most of the living on board will be done. In wet conditions there is an extended sprayhood cover available, set from the targa arch to the windscreen. The cockpit has a sunbathing pod formed from the table and there is a barbecue and a fridge. One of the cockpit seats aligns with the cockpit settee but can also be converted to a co-pilot’s seat. There is a good, large swim platform with an excellent storage locker for toys and essentials.

In the cabin itself there is good headroom at 1.87 metres and a great feeling of space complemented by a high degree of natural light, not least from the huge, stylish shaped hull ports which give the essential panorama from the dining area. The interior is from regular Jeanneau collaborators Garroni Design. Aft of the main saloon is a decent sized cabin with a transverse double bunk which is 1.9 metres long by 1.3 metres wide.

The Leader 30 is for sporty owners who like speed and are not afraid to press a little harder for fun in choppy waves and more than 25kts of wind. The deep V hull, 24 degrees as opposed to the more usual 20 degrees, was dry but against the wind and waves it was necessary to throttle back a little to enjoy a reasonable ride.

The top speed is close to 30kts but in the waves at the Cannes Sea Trials it was hard to get a real feel, however 25kts was comfortable as an effective cruising speed. Certainly with a triple chine hull the spray was deflected neatly away from the cockpit and considering the sea state it was pretty dry aboard.

With the 4 cylinder Volvo Penta 300hp engine, that cruising speed is achieved at 3,200rpm using about 42.2 litres an hour. At 3,000rpm the speed was about 22kts with diesel consumption at closer to 39.9 litres an hour.

There are different engine packages: Standard is the Volvo D4 diesel configured for 260hp or 300hp. For those looking for petrol engines there are Mercruiser units at 6.2L (350hp) the MPI DTS or 8.2L Mag Bravo (380hp) or twin Mercruiser 4.5L MPI DTS V 6s.

Throttle response is smooth and positive and the steering responsive. The sporty hull was happy to be turned tight and accelerated up onto the plane with relative ease. It is a refined performer which will please owners new or relatively new to this style of boat, but which will grow with them until they have the wherewithal to move up to their next level in terms of LOA and performance.

The boat is really well kitted out with sun pads on the little front foredeck, the pads tilting up into a seating position for when the weather is just right. The cockpit is a proper all weather living space, great for the sunshine days of lazing about, but also well protected. All the required amenities are to hand and there is space for five or six adults to enjoy a sociable day on the water.

Below it is spacious, but very much a weekender at the most. There is a heads to starboard at the bottom of the steps, and a small galley space to port to heat food, make drinks and snacks. There is a decent sized fridge-freezer and excellent storage.

The forward space serves as a good big double berth and there is a curtain to afford some minimal privacy. Meanwhile the main cabin wraps under the cockpit, but is still spacious with a good hanging locker as well as the decent queen sized berth.

Overall, the Jeanneau Leader 30 does all that can be asked of it. It is a quick, sporty pocket sized weekender for those making the first steps into this style of sports cruiser, capable of entertaining a few friends on board and taking the family or close friends away for a coastal cruise.