By: Phil Kaberry

Leeder’s 22ft Wildcat looks to be every bit as good as its larger 24ft sister, writes Phil Kaberry

Wild at heart



While east-coast fishos mightn't be familiar with the Leeder brand, the fibreglass boatbuilding company is making steady progress into the offshore fishing market in its home state, WA. And it's not hard to see why it's winning so many loyal fans when you examine models like its brand new 6.75m Wildcat.

The company has cornered a share of the market simply because it builds boats that deliver a mix of handling and performance, which also have serious fishing layouts, tough build and, importantly, affordable pricetags.

With its gently tapered bow and 18° of deadrise at the stern, big shoulders, prominent chines, a whopping 2.5m of beam and a good compromise between cockpit area and cabin, Leeder seems to have found the right formula. The quality of the fittings and standard of workmanship on Leeder's boats are, by all accounts, of high quality.

The 6.75m Wildcat is available with a number of power options depending on your preference and budget - from a 225hp Volvo sterndrive with duoprop ($79,990) down to a 150hp two-stroke outboard ($69,990), which compares pretty well to boats of similar design and length.

Based on our recent test of Leeder's 240 Tomcat, the interior layout, driving position, passenger ergonomics and finish should be above average. It's safe to assume that being a relatively small yard, its builders can afford to invest the time and attention to detail on each boat that perhaps larger companies with very high production volumes mightn't be able to match.

Internally, the designers haven't re-invented the wheel. The boat features an anchor-carrying bowsprit and fairlead, spacious anchor locker with an optional windlass, opening front hatch, Vee-berth with infill over a chemical toilet, lined lock-up cabin, wide walkarounds traced by a thick stainless-steel bowrail, spacious self-draining cockpit with underfloor drained killtank and livebait tanks, and intelligent storage areas about the whole rig.

It's a wide, deep cockpit with optional padded coamings for comfort, and when combined with the boat's great stability, it adds up to an exceptionally good fishing platform, the company says.

Again, depending on the buyers' budget, the Wildcat can be optioned up for additional comfort and fishability including bimini tops, full storm covers, cockpit courtesy lights and carpet, factory-fitted marine electronics and more.

But as is, the standard boat makes an excellent base platform for offshore work, whether you like reef fishing or trolling for pelagics like tuna and marlin. And it's got a lot of standard items that are sometimes listed as options on competitors' products: things like marine toilet, twin batteries, deck-wash hose, cabin lights, padded parcel shelves, windscreen wipers, a good spread of instruments, hydraulic steering, 12V power outlet, bunk cushions, 27-Meg radio and so on are included in the price. These things tend to add up once you start ticking options boxes!

Leeder currently has dealers in Western Australia and South Australia, and?the company is planning to expand its dealer network in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria this year. For the moment, though, the Leeder Wildcat is bound to become a respected name among fishos in the know.




Specifications: Leeder 6.75 Wildcat




Priced from: $69,900 with 150hp two-stroke outboard




Hull type: Monohull
Material: Fully-moulded GRP
Length: 6.75m
Beam: 2.5m
Deadrise: 18°
Weight: 1580kg hull only (dry)




Fuel: 220lt
Passengers: Six adults
Accommodation: Sleeps two
Rec/max hp: 200/250




Contact Jim Hilder or Murray Piesse at Leeder Boats,
Bayswater, WA, tel (08) 9377 2955



Originally published in TrailerBoat #188


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