An ocean-proven design converts to a power catamaran.
Video: Boat Brief
An ocean-proven design converts to a power catamaran. As we were leaving Marina del Rey’s harbor, a gentwleman on the dock asked an apropos question: “Where’s the mast?” It’s the same observation that had caused me to do a double take upon seeing the Lagoon 40 Motor Yacht at the Newport Boat Show. The logo says Lagoon. The design says sailboat. It’s a catamaran. But the mast is conspicuously absent. The 40 Motor Yacht is one of two powerboats in the Lagoon family — the other being the 630 — and it is based on a sailing cat hull, naturally. It comes in a couple of different layouts. One includes four staterooms and four heads, two of each in both hulls. That’s the layout the builder had in mind originally, according to Naos Yachts’ Phillip Winter, my host for the test, because Lagoon envisioned the 40 MY in charter duty. Using feedback from dealers concerned about selling the cat to recreational buyers, Lagoon created a three-stateroom, two-head design, which our test boat had. It’s a layout owners are going to appreciate. When I first viewed the boat, I saw it as a family cruising platform, and my conversation with Winter confirmed the family market should be a strong one. Parents and children are going to find plenty to like about the 40 MY.
“Handling was easy from the elevated helm station, and visibility was 360 degrees.”
Anyone who thinks keeping the youngest on the crew occupied on the water isn’t important obviously hasn’t spent much time around kids. The Lagoon 40 has several ways to occupy their time, starting with one of the signature features of the yacht: the trampoline netting in the bow. Sailboats often have nets in the bow, a soft deck from which to view the water running under the boat — and maybe dolphins playing in the wake — and Lagoon’s designers decided to carry the feature over to the power side. The nets make great trampolines when the boat is at anchor. Also in the bow are two small seats, one at the very tip of each hull, for wind-in-one’s-hair exhilaration or to keep an eye on the kids in the net. The next feature — and make no mistake, the adults will love this one, too — is the sun lounge on the roof of the cabin top. Two adults or a few kids can get comfortable in the perch. Call it a tanning bed with a view. A hatch in the bow of the port hull opens to reveal a small berth with a roughly twin-size mattress. Most adults will feel a bit confined, but kids will think it’s Shangri-la: an enclosed, secret space with a hatch overhead and another through a bulkhead to the master head. On our test boat, a similar space existed in the starboard hull, minus the interior hatch, so it’s a storage space. A cruising couple will likely use both spaces for storage, tons of it.
“People with an aversion to the motion of the ocean won’t be as affected by it because they won’t notice it.”
Whether it’s just family or a bunch of friends aboard, entertaining is likely going to be on the docket, and the Lagoon designers assumed as much. Stairs built into each hull lead from a swim platform up to the covered cockpit, where up to eight people can sit around a table on a U-shaped settee and a bench seat. The captain is elevated at the starboard-situated helm but can be part of the social action thanks to the helm’s proximity to the cockpit. The entire aft area was open on test day, but it can all be enclosed with canvas and climate controlled for any less-than-ideal passages. A tinted-glass door slides open to provide easy movement between the cockpit and the main cabin, which includes a dining area, a galley, windows all around and a navigation station (a chart table with storage and a dash with a multifunction display, a VHF radio and a stereo receiver but no steering wheel). A window adjacent to the door also slides open to really connect the outdoors with the indoors, where five or six more people can find a place to sit around a dining table. An L-shaped galley — double-basin sink, cabinet that can hold a microwave or be used for storage, three-burner stovetop, convection oven, refrigerator and overhead cabinets — occupies the aft port corner of the main cabin, between the forward dining area and the cockpit seating, putting the chef or drinkmeister right in the middle of the action. Opposite the galley countertop, along the cabin bulkhead, is another countertop/prep area. A hatch takes up half of the space, and under that hatch is a freezer, a sizeable one. I figure that feature will be the MVP of many a weekend cruise to an island destination that lacks amenities. The aforementioned rooftop sunpad and the bow netting will likely see their share of adult company, too.
The portside hull is where the cat’s owners will find their retreat. A king-size berth is aft, it’s head against the outboard side of the hull. Forward is the head, with a vanity top, a sink, a toilet and a separate shower stall. Between the bed and the bath is a combination desk/sitting area, a vanity mirror, a locker and storage shelves. Most people will have standing headroom under the 6-foot, 2-inch header. The starboard hull holds two staterooms, one fore and one aft, and a head that’s between the berths. (The boat can be ordered with four staterooms and four heads.) All three staterooms have an overhead hatch that opens to the wide sidedecks, and there is a window cut into the inside of each hull that looks between the hulls. Winter called them aquarium windows. It was mesmerizing to watch the water flow past. I’m sure the kids can be occupied for long stretches if they’re told there’s a chance they’ll see dolphins — or a kraken — if they watch long enough.
Cats are wide, stable boating platforms that are safe, easy to operate, fuel efficient and roomy. And in the Lagoon 40 MY’s case, it’s based on a sailing model that has tens of thousands of ocean-proven miles under its hulls.
- Trampoline net in the bow
- Rooftop sun lounge
- “Aquarium” windows
- Wide sidedecks
- Elevated helm
We took the Lagoon 40 MY out on a lumpy day, with four-foot swells coming at about three-second intervals, and the catamaran showed its seakindliness immediately as we cruised along slowly with our beam to the swell. The roll was minimal, like a monohull on a calm day, and there was no snapping back, as the hulls worked together to smooth the ride. The level ride is something Winter pointed to as a feature people appreciate about the yacht. People with an aversion to the motion of the ocean won’t be as affected by it because they won’t notice it. We pointed the bow directly into the waves, moved along them at an angle and put them on the stern, and the boat handled everything without hassle. We touched about 10.2 knots against the waves and eclipsed 11.5 knots for a second while surfing down one. And that’s what this boat is, a 10- to 11-knot cruiser with twin Yanmar 4JH80 diesels, each supplying 80 hp. Down at sailboat speed, about 7 knots, the Yanmar diesels burn only about 1 gph. San Francisco is within nonstop reach from Los Angeles at 7 or 8 knots. Handling was easy from the elevated helm station, and visibility was 360 degrees, though there was a bit of a blind spot to port, immediately against the hull, due to the main cabin top. For folks who get nervous around the docks or in other tight maneuvering situations, a cat delivers peace of mind. With a beam of more than 20 feet, the 40 MY’s engines are far apart, meaning they provide maneuverability similar to a boat with thrusters and/or pod drives. Making our way through the harbor to the dock, I checked the dining table, on which I had placed a full water bottle on the way out to the ocean. The bottle was still dead center on the table, unaffected by the swell, the chop, the hard turns and the figure-eights. That seemed to exemplify what Winter had said about the boat being good for “kids or non-seaworthy guests.” While power catamarans are still searching for widespread acceptance on the West Coast, builders such as Lagoon are banking on that acceptance coming. And it makes sense. Cats are wide, stable boating platforms that are safe, easy to operate, fuel efficient and roomy. And in the Lagoon 40 MY’s case, it’s based on a sailing model that has tens of thousands of ocean-proven miles under its hulls. It doesn’t need the mast to continue that cruising heritage.