Southern Boating

Jeanneau Leader 46

Jeanneau Leader 46

Solid performance, thoughtful layout, and maximum livability define the Jeanneau Leader 46 express cruiser.

We idled out of the long, straight channel leading north from Kent Island Narrows into the Chester River on the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay. I pass the No Wake signs, push the throttles forward smoothly, and the boat seems to lift up onto plane with very little bow rise as though it was elevated from the hull’s center of effort. I wasn’t surprised considering that the hull form on the Jeanneau Leader 46 is a collaborative effort between brothers Japec and Jernej Jakopin of J&J Design in Slovenia and the naval architects of Jeanneau Design.

Design Rules

Three pairs of lifting strakes flank a wave-cleaving, sharply raked stem with deep-V forward sections, a significant chine that widens aft to provide an additional lift on acceleration, and a modified-V planing surface beginning well aft of amidships. Additionally, there’s a distinct spray rail that begins at the stem and extends to the transom for a very dry ride on plane.

“It may seem surprising that a global boat manufacturer like Jeanneau collaborates with outside companies like J&J,” said Nicolas Harvey, president of Jeanneau America. “But the reason is sound. Ten years ago, when Jeanneau produced a 45-foot cruiser, the fully loaded boat weighed 10 tons. Today’s fully loaded luxury 45-footer weighs 15 tons, so we asked J&J to design and engineer a hull of approximately the same size that can carry more weight without increasing the weight of the platform.”