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Is it a stick? Is it a tree? No it’s a Supercat! (Pt. II)

by John Curnow on 19 Oct 2012
Slipping along peacefully under the Screacher, as mentioned in article. Nicolas Claris
In Part I, we saw how the Lagoon 450 slots into the range, what the cats are all about and maybe a little about the owners who have kept this brand strong, despite the malaise the world’s economies may be experiencing. Right. On y va…

If we have done what and whom, then it has to be time for how, right? Comment ça vogue… OK. It is beamy. It is bulky and you will do a bit of motorsailing to hold it at around 40degrees, unless there is a solid and consistent breeze blowing. Good news is that you will only need the leeward donk and with 1000 litres of fuel on board, it will not matter too much, as the 54hp Diesel will only burn between three and six litres and hour. You can get to 38 if you try, but you are better off chasing a bit of speed, as it slips quite badly when you are too aggressive with it, for remember that it has fin keels, not daggerboards and it only draws 1.3m. That will help with close inshore work, however and the screws are also only at that draft, so you wont wipe them off.

There are couple of rules of thumb I had explained to me by Brendan Hunt of Vicsail, whilst testing the Lagoon 450. 'You do about half the wind speed in boat speed on a reach. We really recommend the Screacher for less than 10 knots and you can take that up to about 60 degrees. It is on a single line furler, much like a code zero, so it is really easy to operate and gives such a performance boost. You will also be able to cruise without ancillary power. If it blows up, drop the mainsail straight in to the boom bag and think about reefing in the headsail,' said Brendan, really showing how simple it all is. Powered winches and clean, easy to use and well laid out vectors for the running rigging do make it so, I can vouch for that. I like the fact that the kite sheets run up the flying bridge companionways and directly on to the primary winches. Couple that with everything being at your fingertips or one to two steps away at worst and you can sail the boat yourself, especially uphill. Also noteworthy, is that you can take your Lagoon in to a fair breeze without reefing, which is why the standing rigging is the way it is and they are a lot easier to handle in a blow than any monohull.

There is also an asymmetric kite that flies off the small bowsprit and you can take that from maybe 80 through to about 160 degrees. Given its versatility, ease of use, that you have ample storage room for it and the extra weight will not even register on the scales, I think you would regard it, along with that Screacher, as a fait accompli. The symmetrical kite will take you through to 175 degrees, but who could be bothered with all the extra accoutrement required to fly one, especially when you have these other options for most of the times you’ll be thinking about it.

There are some other little nuances to take note of with Lagoon. Ladies. If the vessel is moored side to and you are using the gunwale steps, then it is a shorts or pants day. If it is not, please use the transom steps. You’ll be far happier.
Safety is important and there are watertight bulkheads fore and aft to ensure the lagoon has the maximum rating. On another safety angle, you have four to five spaces on a cat to live in, whereas a monohull has just the two. This will help to keep people out of each other’s pockets and any recalcitrant crewmember can have some time in the cooler, up in one of the fo’castles.

The beam and inherent longitudinal buoyancy of the hulls means you can carry a suitable tender and not require guests to get aboard a bathtub type toy to go ashore. Keeping it to a certain style requirement and given the amounts of harsh sun to be had in Australia, Vicsail can arrange for a custom bimini to cover as much or as little of the bridge as you require, even with clear vertical covers if you are a live aboard owner. Whilst talking of the niceties of life, that nacelle will take care of the spray coming back forward and thence over the deck, at the same time as removing the slam, as water punches in to the bottom of the trampoline. Like all cruising cats, it will not fully lift a hull and the angle of heel is always more suitable than a monohull. As mentioned earlier, a Lagoon also does not tramtrack and that all makes for very peaceful travelling.

Talking of peace, you will be happy to know that Lagoons sell in the first place and resell just as well. Vicsail are always being asked about second-hand models coming on to the market, but if you become one of the 15 to 18 people buying a brand new Lagoon from them each, then you’ll have total piece of mind about your purchase. Whether you are part of the half that takes delivery overseas or the other half who sees their boat for the first time here in Australia, you get the same service. Obviously Vicsail are there, legals are covered and then a one week handover commences, where sailing reefing, setting up and just about everything is covered off. One third of new owners come from powerboats, another third played with tugboats in the bath and the final third are coming across from monohulls and all of them appreciate the attention to detail. As Brendan says, 'If the first five days are fun and enjoyable for the entire family, then next three years will go down well and be fun and enjoyable for us, too!'

The penultimate point is not so much a nuance as an aide memoir, so to speak. If you are not ready yet, but soon, do not fear. Whilst the 380 and 421 have newer siblings in the 390 and 400S2, the former pair still have a huge forward order book and will be around for a while yet, which is kind of cool when you do 250 units of each a year, worldwide. If the aura of the new excites you, then the 400S2 will be the first to come with what is effectively, two owner’s hulls. There will be three and four cabin versions for charter companies, but this sounds interesting and kind of Frenchy, Citroën and well, now we add Lagoon to that small, but memorable list. The 400S2 and the new 52 will also bring new Nauta Design theories on the interior treatments and the latter is said to be kind of edgier… Hhmmmm. Could be good. One thing that is good to see, is that it is hard to get several Lagoons in the one spot for a Rendezvous – their club type events. Apart from seeing them in some of the best cruising grounds around the world, Lagoons are one of those rarer types of vessel - the kind that really gets used. Indeed more than a few owners actually live on board.

C’est combine? Well, as tested, there is a bit of change from AU$800,000. Like all the European bands now, in just about every asset category, there is the base and then the there is plus, plus. What you choose in that way is entirely up to you in terms of electronics and fit out. You might think the price is healthy, but I tend to think for a spacious apartment it is pretty good. Also, when you get as much room as say a 62-foot monohull, well it is a bit of a lay down misere. Add to that what you can do with this apartment and it is easy to see why Lagoons stayed constant in terms of sales during the prolonged global downturn, whilst monohulls had a hard time of it. If you are going to be a live aboard owner, then you could well be keen to start the negotiations now.

Do yourself a favour and go and try a Lagoon on for size. They have them from 38 to 62 feet and the only sticks you’ll be thinking of are the ones that form flotsam jetsam on deserted beaches. The only trees on your mind will be the ones you see appear over horizon as you sail up to a new location. Simply visit vicsail.com or contact Vicsail on +61 2 9327 2088, for more details.




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