Jeanneau has made a push into the market for outboard-powered runabouts in the past few years, with family/fishing models like the NC 795 and 795 Sport, but their Leader line has always featured cruisers with inboard power. Just in the past year, they introduced the Leader 30, the Leader 33, and the Leader 36. This summer, however, a new set of Leaders—outboard-powered Leaders—is hitting the water. We had the chance to take a Leader 7.5 walkaround for a test run, and discovered one stand-out feature other runabouts of this size don’t offer. Jump aboard with us, for a quick peek at the Leader 7.5.
For sun-worshipping, that forward sunpad is going to be very tough to beat on a 23’ walkaround. And there’s enough cockpit space aft for casual angling, entertaining a couple of friends on the water, and jaunts across the bay with a handful of friends.
Even though this boat is the smallest in the line-up, it maintains the Leader’s cruising attitude. The fully enclosed stand-up head is a big perk on a boat this size, and lots of seating in the cockpit makes for comfortable runs. The boat’s fuel efficiency (matched with the standard Yamaha F250 power package) is a strong point, too, and with 74 gallons of fuel capacity, it provides a cruising range of around 200 miles with a 10-percent reserve. Weekending and exploring new ports will not be a problem.
The hull design comes from Michael Peters, and we liked the way the 7.5 felt underfoot. There were plenty of boat wakes churning up the river when we ran the boat, and it handled them well. The 7.5 didn’t throw any spray, and although we weren’t thrilled by the Bimini arrangement (the straps tied off on the windshield grab rail flap around and get in the way a bit) we were quite happy to have the cockpit completely shaded as the sun beat down.
All in all, the Jeanneau Leader 7.5 makes for a nice little package that families, weekenders, and occasional anglers are going to enjoy. Add in the optional ski tow bar and watersports become part of the mix, too. Clearly, building a Leader with outboard power makes sense—and if you’re in the market for a 20-something walkaround with a huge sunpad, we think you’ll agree.
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