JOY Rides

Cruising World - - Editor’s Log -

Per­for­mance and speed? Com­fort and lux­ury? I fell firmly into the lap of both ways of think­ing last win­ter when I hitched rides on a cou­ple of the multihull flag­ships on their way to and from Strictly Sail Mi­ami. Talk about a fan­tasy-sports ex­pe­ri­ence. The La­goon Seventy 7 and the HH66, both $4 mil­lion-and-change be­he­moths, push their re­spec­tive de­sign con­cepts to their log­i­cal ex­tremes. In other words, they’re both pretty amaz­ing ves­sels, each in their own way.

Let’s be­gin with life in the cushy lane. In La­goon’s video in­tro­duc­ing its largest cata­ma­ran to date, a dap­per gent strolls barefoot to the sea, climbs into his sin­gle-seat sea­plane and soars off to the yacht, where he’s wel­comed by a stun­ning beauty. With the plane safely stored on the hy­draulic swim plat­form aft — yes, it’s that big — the per­fect cou­ple stroll to the bow to watch the sun­set and then re­tire to the aft cock­pit for cham­pagne and, as the French would say, je ne sais quoi.

I did a lit­tle walk­ing, too, on my way to the Seventy 7, only it was along a busy Florida street and then the length of the dock at Co­conut Grove Ma­rina. It was pretty easy to spot the boat; its 120-foot-tall mast tow­ered over any­thing else in the area.

La­goon builds some fine-look­ing cats, but for the Seventy 7, de­sign­ers VPLP (naval ar­chi­tects), Nauta De­sign (in­te­rior) and Pa­trick le Qué­ment (ex­te­rior) raised the bar con­sid­er­ably. The sense of open­ness is over­whelm­ing stand­ing in the cock­pit and gaz­ing through the saloon, past the glass door that opens onto the fore­deck and then across the ex­panse be­tween the cabin house and bowsprit. In­side, light oak wood­work and shaded up­hol­stery make the most of the light that pours in through large ver­ti­cal win­dows that pro­vide 360-de­gree vis­i­bil­ity.

There are many places to gather: a for­mal din­ing ta­ble, couches and lounges. Over­head, there’s the fly­bridge, where guests can kick back on yet more com­fort­able couches and watch the ac­tual sail­ing that takes place for­ward, where twin car­bon wheels, sail con­trol lines and re­dun­dant en­gine con­trols are lo­cated.

And then there’s the “pri­vate beach” in the own­ers cabin, lo­cated for­ward in the star­board hull. In ad­di­tion to el­e­gant ac­com­mo­da­tions, a large panel in the hull folds out to make a sun deck, dock and swim plat­form.

A bow thruster tamed the dock­ing ma­neu­vers, and twin 230-horse­power en­gines pro­vided all the nim­ble­ness we needed for a short day­sail on Bis­cayne Bay. In about 15 knots of breeze, the Seventy 7 com­fort­ably sailed at 9 knots. The crew who’d been with her since her launch in France said they saw the speedo pushed into the teens in the Med and cross­ing the At­lantic.

But re­ally, if you were in a hurry, I’d rec­om­mend tak­ing a look at the HH66, be­cause sail­ing on the edge is what that boat is all about.

De­signed by Mor­relli & Melvin (creators of the early Gun­boats) and built by Hud­son and Hakes in China (builders of the same), the HH66 is a resin-in­fused, car­bon-fiber-and-foam rocket ship.

Sure, the cruis­ing ne­ces­si­ties of fridge, freezer, dish­washer and ice maker are all in­cluded, but the hulls are nar­row, and in the four-cabin, four­head lay­out I vis­ited, the ap­proach to fur­ni­ture was min­i­mal­is­tic. While the Seventy 7’s dis­place­ment-length ra­tio of 138 al­lowed for an ex­trav­a­gance of lux­ury, the 66’s D/L of 61 promised pure speed. Hulls one and two both were built with so­phis­ti­cated load sen­sors in the rig and an au­to­mated dump tech­nol­ogy for the main for when things get too squir­relly — some­thing that hap­pens quickly when a hull pops out of the wa­ter in about 15 to 16 knots of breeze. I hopped aboard hull three for a too-short de­liv­ery from Mi­ami to Fort Laud­erdale. The owner of this boat opted to keep things sim­ple, so rather than au­to­ma­tion, one of the crew stood with main­sheet in hand the en­tire way, ready to slow things down in a hurry, if need be.

Bar­rel­ing up the coast, I got a trick at the wheel for a few min­utes, and it was pure de­light: but­ter smooth at 14 knots over the ground in about 16 knots of wind. Cap­tain and crew promised that a lit­tle far­ther off the breeze and with a bit more sail up, the HH66 would eas­ily beat the true wind speed, rid­ing a sin­gle hull.

It was an ex­cel­lent lit­tle ad­ven­ture.

Speed and com­fort aren’t mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive; there are touches of both in the HH66 (top) and the La­goon Seventy 7.

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