Leisure17 & 17SL

The Leisure 17 is one of the most successful small yachts ever built. It normally has four berths (two in the forepeak and one either side in the main cabin).  The hull is built in solid GRP. The cabin top and sides have GRP linings. This construction provides great strength and maximum insulation.  

Leisure 17 'Tadjoura' under full sail in Switzerland

Leisure 17 'Tadjoura' under full sail in Switzerland

Back in 1968, one of the first L17s crossed the Atlantic single handed.  Later the Leisure 17 gave way to the Leisure 17SL. This has the same hull as the Leisure 17, but has a redesigned coachroof to give a more modern, wedge-shaped look.

The Leisure 17 stands up well to her canvas, is light on the helm and  a very easy boat to handle. She is ideal for short-handed and family crews. The Leisure 17 was designed by Arthur Howard and the new coachroof  of the  17SL was designed later by Cobramold founder, Brian Meerloo. 

Fin or twin keel configurations are available. Keels are cast iron, the twin keel version having a high aspect ratio hydrofoil section.

Rudder and skeg are glassfibre with stainless steel framework and fittings. Auxiliary power is normally provided by a 4 or 5hp, long shaft outboard on a transom hung bracket.

The deck has moulded non slip areas for safe working. The spars are in aluminium alloy. Originally gold, the spars of later boats are black or silver. Halyards are internal.

Standing rigging and rigging screws are in stainless steel. The large self draining cockpit has a transom locker for outboard storage (when not in use)  and a gas bottle.  However, the larger four stroke, long shaft outboards of today would be hard to fit in this locker.

Down below, a four berth arrangement is standard with bunks that run down the whole length of the cabin on each side. An alcohol or gas hob and grill is normally fitted under the companion way.

Alternatively a three berth arrangement is possible, with a large cockpit sail locker replacing one of the quarter berths.

The Leisure 17 & 17SL sail very well, and are often quite successful in club racing. Either model has a Portsmouth Yardstick rating of 1285 (twin keel configuration, with outboard lifted out of the water).

Leisure 17SL 'Shearwater' on Strangford Lough

Leisure 17SL 'Shearwater' on Strangford Lough

Specification Detail

  • Length overall 5.18m. (17 ft)

  • Length waterline 4.27m (14 ft)

  • Beam 2.13m (7 ft)

  • Draft Fin keel 0.97m (3 ft 2 in): Twin 0.65m (2 ft 2in)

  • Total weight Fin 727 kg (1602 lbs) : Twin 670 kg 1476 lbs

  • Keel 250 kg (550 lbs)

  • Ballast Ratio 37%

  • Mast 6.1 m (20 ft): Lake rig 6.6m (21 ft 6 in)

  • Mainsail 7.7 sq. m (83 sq. ft)

  • Working Jib 6.0 sq. m (65 sq. ft)

  • Storm Jib 3.7 sq. m (40 sq. ft)

  • Genoa 9.3 sq. m (100 sq. ft)

  • No. 1 Spinnaker 19.3 sq. m (208 sq. ft)

  • No. 2 Spinnaker 13.9 sq. m (150 sq. ft)

  • The Leisure 17 is sloop rigged with a 7.7 sq.m (83 sq.ft.) mainsail and 6.0 sq.m (65 sq.ft) jib as standard.

  • 5Kg Bruce anchor, 14m of 6mm chain and 18m of warp

  • Engine 4 or 5 hp, long shaft, outboard

Leisure 17 Brochures

Click on the following thumbnail images for a full size PDF of the brochure. The PDF will open into a new browser window. You can then scroll around the image, and/or select to save it to your own machine for later use.  

Brochure probably dating from about 1972

Brochure probably dating from about 1972

Brochure probably dating from about 1978

Brochure probably dating from about 1978

Leisure 17SL Brochure

Leisure 17SL Brochure

Cost 1983

Cost 1983

Spec 1983

Spec 1983

Spec 1986

Spec 1986

Order Form & Extras

Order Form & Extras

Typical Leisure 17SL Specification (by R Russell)

  • Overview - A lightweight trailer sailor with masthead rig. Four full length berths. Twin keels and skeg mounted rudder. LOA 17ft Beam 7ft LWL 14ft Draught 2ft-2in Displacement 1475 1bs. Ballast 550 1bs. Sail Area 148 sq. ft. (main and working jib)

  • Construction - One piece (white) moulded GRP hull with cast iron twin ballast keels and skeg mounted rudder which allows the boat to take to the ground safely. Shallow draught for easy launching and exploring shallow creeks. GRP deck moulding with non slip surface, encapsulated reinforced plywood pads beneath fittings. Hull to deck joints bonded with GRP and fitted with teak gunwales bolted through hull and deck joint.

  • Accommodation - Internal GRP moulded, forming 4 full length settee berths/seating. Area lit by perspex windows both sides and forward, with vented cabin top. The mast support accommodates an adjustable height, pivoting table with fiddles. Under berth stowage areas have loose ply covers supporting 3" fabric covered tailored cushions. Backrests in matching 2" fabric, velcro fixed to glove box type stowage space, with shelf over. Bulkheads trimmed in teak ply. The aft berths continue below cockpit .

  • Cooking - A two burner hob with grill is situated centrally below the gangway and is powered by gaz stored in the aft locker.

  • Toilet - A portable chemical toilet is located forward of the mast support in a GRP moulded stowage compartment, concealed beneath a matching fabric covered, lift off hood.

  • Electrical System - Are fed from a 12V (44 amp/hr) battery fitted in the externally vented aft locker. Wiring is led to the cabin via conduit to a key operated isolating switch. There is a fused 3 way supply and switched feeds to a radio/cassette(!), a depth sounder, twin cabin lighting with twin cigarette lighter socket outlets for accessories, VHF Handheld, and GPS Handheld.

  • Rigging - Aluminium mast and roller reefing boom, stainless steel inner and outer shrouds with raked back spreaders, single forestay and split twin backstay. The mast contains 4 internal halyards each has its own cleat. The mainsheet is 4: 1 and traveller mounted aft of the cockpit. Optional roller furling headsail, sheets led via travellers to jamming cleats with integral fairleads.

  • Guard-Rails - Are 7 x 19 stainless steel and run between pushpit and pulpit rails supported by two further intermediate stanchions providing continuous protection. A link rail is provided aft centrally over the transom to assist boarding access.

  • Anchor Locker - Is self draining, and is forward within pulpit area and contains a 5Kg Bruce anchor, 14m of chain and 18m of warp, which can be fed through the bow roller/fairlead and attached to a central mooring cleat.

  • Aft Locker - Full width/depth of transom contains 12V Battery, Camping Gaz bottle and vacuum lift fuel tank, vented externally and lockable via a warp led into the cabin with cam-cleat. Stowage also for fenders, warps etc.

  • Engine - 4 or 5 hp outboard mounted on folding O/B bracket with an integral charging system. Morse remote controls are mounted on the starboard pulpit rail.

  • Boarding ladder - is situated to the portside of the transom with a centre clip on guard rail to assist boarding access.

  • Sails - Main, Genoa, Storm Jib and Spinnaker

  • Cockpit - Moulded seating for four persons with waterproof vinyl covered cushions. Self draining sole (crossover outlets). Access to the cabin is forward and central via a sliding hatch and two loose washboards one of which is vented. Spray dodgers protect the cockpit. A boom tent attaches to the mast and the guard rails and is fitted with side windows and integral blinds. Depth sounder display and compass mounting are fitted. A mooring cleat is mounted on each quarter.


The Leisure 17 is quite often raced, with significant sucess in small cruiser classes. The only yardstick information we have are a PY (Portsmouth Yardstick), SY (Secondary Yardstick) and various Recorded Numbers (RN) and Club Numbers (CN) as follows.  RN Recorded Numbers are published by the RYA on the basis of limited information. CN Club Numbers are allocated by Clubs.

  • Twin Keel, Outboard Engine, PY1285 (2000), SY1280 (1999), RN1290 (1996), RN1360 (1988), PY1340 (1983)

  • Twin Keel, Outboard Engine, CN1263 (from Byron Software)

  • Fin Keel, Outboard Engine, CN1166 (from Byron Software)

More up to date information may be obtainable from the Byron web site.