lagoon 440 An Amazing World Cruiser
Reviewed Feb 2018
So why do we love our Lagoon? Well first and foremost it is a very safe boat, the underside ‘nacelle’ – a large bullnose protruding between the hulls toward the trampoline area tapers, as what I can only describe as a ‘third suspended hull’ – do not think Lagoon build this in as a beautiful looking feature , for it certainly is not – it is undersold and holds a phenomenal ‘secret’ to safety at sea. Let me explain.
We were sailing around the southern tip of South Africa when a storm descended upon us ... the waves were breaking to the extent that the surface became filled with foam and soon we were dropping down these colossal monsters doing 17 knots bare poles (without any sails). Every other catamaran there had to make head out to sea, since dropping down these waves would see the bows dig into the back of the wave ahead and they feared pitch poling (capsizing). Impi was the only boat to successfully round the Cape that day for shelter in the anchorage – why?
We soon learned the magic trick of Lagoon ... as the bows descended into the wave ahead, that ‘bull nose’ of the nacelle would make contact with the water surface driving the bows upward, time and time again. The suspended hull effect would assist with keeping the boat steering straight down the wave, where catamaran skippers fear the boat broad siding down a wave face. This feature alone (we owned a different styled catamaran before Impi) ticked a huge box for us ... a major point of safety that was going to prove to be invaluable in some pretty ferocious storms we would encounter crossing many oceans of the world.
In the catamaran sailing community, we often hear sailors measuring the success of a boat by the height of bridge deck clearance – ‘the higher the better’, they would say. This is the clearance or height from the surface of the water to the underside of the boat between the hulls. Now whilst a certain amount of height helps in lighter weather conditions, many sailors do not realize that in heavier sea state conditions, too much height has a negative effect in that the wave energy under the boat gathers more momentum before hitting the underside of the bridge deck. Too little clearance is also not good as the boat can feel unstable, but in our opinion, Lagoon have cleverly found the sweet spot between.
Another incredible attribute to the Lagoon 440 is how the boat sails on different points of sail. The Lagoon 440 surprises so many fellow sailors and especially mono hull sailors, who do not want to believe a catamaran can sail past them to their windward side, on a close ‘point of sail’. Yes, thanks to the two shorter spreaders on the mast, the Lagoon 440 sails very well upwind since the leech of the genoa can be hauled in closer before being obstructed by the spreader tips. This feature, together with the genoa car tracks, that are positioned closer to midship than many other models of catamarans makes the Lagoon 440 a terrific boat for sailing ‘close hauled’ (close to the wind). In fact, the Lagoon sails well on all points of sail when using a variety of sails along with a barber hauler configuration for wind astern of the beam.
We can store an asymmetric sail, spinnaker, storm sail and extra genoa with ease and all concealed below the deck in lockers and not stored inside the living area of the boat.
When it comes to speed, of course the Lagoon is not a racing boat as ours is loaded with all sorts of home comforts, but it moves on average 150 to 240 nautical miles per 24 hours depending on the winds, currents and the sails rigged. For example, our previous passage from New Caledonia to Australia was a easy 4 day passage, which for many catamarans is a 5 day passage, and again, weather and currents do play a significant role here.
The Lagoon 440 leaves the factory at around 12.5 tons, but loaded weighs 16 to 17 tons depending on water and diesel on board. A far cry from the ‘ultra light ‘ catamarans that bypass us during a weeklong crossing and arrive maybe a day earlier at destinations.
Of course speed is great while sailing, however, for us arrivals and the time spent at our destination are more important. Let me explain ... we arrive with our boat clean, all salt washed with fresh water from our 900-liter water tank and 12V water maker that produces around 60 liters per hour for the 20amps that drive it.
The solar input via our 5 Kyocera 135w each panels (675w total) sees us topping up the batteries, up to 50 Amps, and plenty enough to run the Spectra Newport MKII.
Arrival also sees us with all washing clean, dried and ironed with our normal household ‘6kg washer dryer’ fitted into an outside cabinet, next to a sink and cockpit fridge.
Inside the boat, our fridge may be nearing empty but the freezer will often be loaded with fish caught en route. Thanks to the outside basin, those can be cleaned and filleted outside ... a very cleaver and well thought through feature by the Lagoon designers who make Impi as close to a home on the ocean as one can get.
A well positioned galley ‘upstairs’ not only ensures the chef is part of the party – well stocked it ensures that in countries like Fiji and Cuba, we can spoil the customs and immigration people with cappuccino from an authentic Gaggia espresso machine upon arrival. Always, this brings a joyful smile to their faces, especially when there are home baked gifts to take home to the family.
As soon as we are cleared, we are ready to explore the delights of islands unlike some of our co-cruisers who are hunting around for laundries, water, and electricity and stay stuck in marinas for days, sometimes weeks on end. Usually a one-day turn around is all Impi needs before heading out to those ‘paradise like anchorages’. With 80 meters of 13 mm chain, 20 meter of rope and a 33 kg Rocna anchor, a Delta stern anchor with 20 meters of chain, we can anchor just about anywhere, and the Lagoon carries the weight with ease.
Our Lagoon 440 has enough space for all our dive gear, dive compressor, the heavy dinghy with its 30 HP engine which the davits carry comfortably, makes it a breeze to immediately be exploring those delightful underwater corals whilst some who have sailed on those ultra ‘light’ catamarans are still getting their washing done ☺
Of course it all comes down to preference and what one wants to get out of a boat – for us it is more about a home which has the ability to carry all the home comforts safely and at fair speed from one destination to the next.
We live for extended times on anchor and our air conditioning, heating and refrigeration facilities ensure that we make plenty of friends! It is not unusual to hear : “Let’s all meet on Impi, because they have space to seat 10 round the table, enough plates and cutlery, air conditioning and a lot of space to store cold beers!”
Folks always ask why we chose Lagoon over some other brands ... well the best things in life are French for Brent: his wife and his boat...
But seriously, Lagoons are sturdy boats developed not just for a charter market, they are usually baptized in rough seas - they need to cross the Bay of Biscay on their maiden run and that sea can get seriously upset with tremendous wave action as it is very shallow. The design with the gull wing at the front enables us to surf down waves without digging in the hulls.
Our patio is similar to that of a mono hull turned side ways, protecting us from large waves from the stern. In extreme weather conditions, catamarans should not as a rule, be pointed toward the weather as one would in a monohull. Moreover, we would not ‘stall’ our catamaran in a wild ocean by means of a para anchor or similar – we would instead deploy rode (ropes sometimes knotted) ... we carry a lot of it ... and with stern to weather we slow the boat enough by the length of rode we deploy, hoping to also break the surface tension of the ocean well behind the boat so the highest energy of the wave collapses there, and not at the boat.
Well, for the odd wave that may escape and descend on the boat, we do love the high back of the Lagoon 440, which provides some protection from a wave otherwise finding the aft door into the saloon.
The bridge, a feature seldom found on any other brand for a 45 foot catamaran, gives excellent visibility when cruising through reef-infested waters and is always the place our guests spend most of their time when cruising the islands. In bad weather it is comforting to be up there as one can feel the wind and the ocean away from the noise below and inside – it brings a new perspective and certain control in what otherwise one perceives to be life threatening conditions ... it is also the area where with wind from astern, we would sleep during crossings wearing our life jacket and harness, mostly because the motion is less aggressive up there.
Another feature we loved about the Lagoon when shopping for catamarans, is the strength and thickness of the ‘fiberglass ‘ – the coach roof is solid and sturdy ... it feels safe and offers living room upstairs, something much needed when sailing for years on end.
Well, for us having sailed the ‘Owner Version Lagoon 440’ for years on end - every day and night for all those years – truly our home on the sea ... we believe we discovered a boat that ticks all the boxes for a great lifestyle onboard. The room around the sides of our queen size beds, an abundance of storage space and the ability to pack it with weight, the ability to load the Lagoon catamaran with home comforts and toys and lets not forget superior visibility through safely placed vertical windows – the well priced and affordable Lagoon catamaran – search as we have, the Lagoon 440 remains for us the ideal affordable home and cruising catamaran on the sea.
We do believe the Lagoon 440 is a terrific deep ocean sailing catamaran - we have never regretted our choice of boat to circumnavigate ... the boat keeps amazing us – we are hard pressed to find another to replace Impi – our plan to replace and upgrade every 5 years has yet to have us find a catamaran in the price range and many beyond, that matches the features our Lagoon 440 offers.
Thank you Lagoon!