Review of the new Jeanneau Leader 36

The new Jeanneau Leader 36 has one of the most innovative cabin layouts we have every seen below in a boat that it 32’3 (9.83 m) on deck. Her mid cabin sleeps 3 adults, but the surprise is found forward. There we find a salon that seats 4 to 5 people which opens to the galley that converts into a large master stateroom with privacy door. We’ve never seen anything quite like it.

Key Features

  • V-shaped hull design
  • Electric windlass
  • Electrics trim tabs
  • Pilot bench
  • Spacious U-shaped cockpit saloon converts into sun mattress
  • Cockpit sofa
  • Swimming platform with swim ladder
  • Cockpit table
  • Interior fabrics with standard colors in saloon/cabins
  • 2 single berths convertible into a double berth


The Jeanneau Leader 36 is an express cruiser that has what we like to call classic modern lines, which is to say that she has solid nautical lines that are modern but not flavor-of-the-month styling. She is somewhat conservative looking and we think she’ll be in style for a long time to come.

Her bottom shape was designed by Michael Peters who is well-respected for creating sea-kindly semi-deep-V hulls that are a good compromise between ride and performance. She is intended for entertaining around home and the occasional short cruise with two friendly couples or a small family.

Basic Specs

The Jeanneau Leader 36 has a hull length of 32’3″ (9.83 m) and an overall length of 37’7″ (11.46 m) and is powered by either twin Mercury 5.7 L 300-hp gas engines or twin Volvo Penta D4 diesels from 260-hp to 300-hp. Her beam is 11’10” (3.61 m) and she displaces 15,095 lbs. (6,847 kgs.).

Performance and Handling

We have yet to test the boat so can pass along no hard evidence of her capabilities or empirical observations. At 15,095 lbs. (6,847 kgs.) she is about in the middle of her class as far as displacement goes and at 11’10” (3.61 m) she is also pretty much the same as several other boats in class.

Jeanneau offers the boat with both twin gas and diesel engines. The Mercury 5.7L 300-hp engine should give her a cruising speed in the high 20s and a WOT speed in the high 30s, if not over 40.

Those wanting diesel power have more of an option by being able to select the Volvo Penta D4 260-hp engine or the 300. She will have reasonable speeds and fuel consumption with either set-up.

Where Can She Be Used?

As of press time, her CE rating had not yet been published. Certainly she will be certified for coastal work and we would not hesitate to take to the Bahamas or other offshore locations in the appropriate conditions. As noted above, her styling will fit in anywhere.

Open or Hardtop? We think a better question might be should a consumer buy the open express or the hardtop version? Northern latitudes both in North America and Europe can have fickle summer weather and we like to boat when we plan it rain, shine, cool or hot.

But we know people who would prefer the open model. The open has appeal in places where it’s generally sunny and warm during the season. That includes the tropics and most of the Mediterranean. We like to avoid air conditioning if at all possible and a breeze under a Bimini top is sheer paradise to many people we know.

She is Built for a Cruising Couple…Or…

The Leader 36 is small enough that she could be just the answer for a couple looking for a cruising boat for just themselves most of the time. And don’t be embarrassed about couple-cruising — that is what most people do, despite the fact that virtually every boat is made to entertain a crowd.

Her helm deck is versatile with both a companion seat facing forward, or a chaise lounge on the helm deck facing aft. Once an appropriate cove has been found and the anchor dropped, lunch will be in order at the cockpit table…then maybe sunning on the large pad aft, or on the foredeck, or a nap under the Bimini.

Major Innovation Below Decks

Below the accommodations area of the boat is one of the most innovative we have ever seen in this size and type of boat. The mid cabin is configures so that it can sleep as many people as three, making this a suitable cabin cruiser for the average family. This is virtually unheard of in a boat that is less than 33′ (10.1 m) on deck.

Master Stateroom. But the real innovation is in the forward part of the boat. First, the foot of the forward bed folds down to make a comfortable seatback for the L-shaped sofa in the salon. This makes good use of space and gives the boat lots of extra utility for both day boating and cruising.

But what we have never seen before in any size boat is the two-part pocket door that nestles behind the head’s forward bulkhead. When tucked away, a salon is created with a table and seating for two couples or a small family. With the pocket doors pulled closed, an owner’s stateroom is created. Now two couples or the parents of a family have privacy — and walking around room to be comfortable.

Modern Day Cabin Cruiser

In many ways the Leader 36 will be the biggest competitor to the Leader 40, which is only 7″ (.18 m) wider, 3’9″ (1.14 m) longer and 1,508 lbs. (684 kgs) heavier. The Leader 36 packs in almost of the same utility as the 40, she is just as roomy. So if the size of the monthly payment is the difference between having a new “cabin cruiser” or not, then most young families we know would be thrilled with the Leader 36. Further, a couple really does not need anything larger.

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