Ever since we first met, my husband and I have been talking about buying a catamaran and sailing around the world.


The Leopard 44 has a distinctive forward cockpit and is part of the Sunsail charter fleet.

For the past seven years, we've never missed a boat show—or any other chance to walk aboard catamarans and daydream about what our lives will be when we can finally take off on our adventure.

One option we've been considering as a way to speed up that date is to buy a catamaran and put it into charter. Any boat we buy would be both a charter investment and a vehicle for our future sailing plans, so it would need to be livable, easy to sail short-handed, and sturdy enough to travel across oceans.

I’ve lived aboard catamarans before, and in looking at many models I've noticed that most have the same general layout.

Until recently we had narrowed it down to one boat, the Leopard 44 in the Sunsail charter program We love this boat for its distinctive front cockpit, which creates an extra covered outdoor living space. The helm station is set up for ease of sailing, with all lines and sheets within arms reach of the helm. The only thing I’m not a fan of is that there is no navigation station in the main salon.

But now that we’ve moved within a stone’s throw of Annapolis, another charter boat buying option has crested the horizon. Dream Yacht Charters offers an interesting program that would give us local access to our boat, and we’d be able to send it down to the Bahamas for the winter  for  use in a tropical paradise!

Here, the boat we’d be considering is the Helia 44, which does have the nav station—but no forward cockpit.

There’s a lot more we need to compare bewteen these two: the construction of each boat, resale potential, and overall durability, especially if we follow through with our plan to put the boat into charter. Luckily, the Annapolis Boat Show is in October and we can do some more serious comparisons.

Stay tuned! And if you've owned one of these boats, please share your thoughts.

Written by: Leah Kaiz Fellows
Leah Kaiz Fellows is a former sailboat captain, PADI dive instructor, and avid traveler. She currently runs her own marketing company on land, Blue Gypsy Inc. Future plans include buying a catamaran and sailing around the world.