La­goon 40

A new en­try-level cat de­liv­ers the goods By Zuzana Proc­hazka

SAIL - - Under Sail -

French cata­ma­ran builder La­goon cre­ated an unimag­in­able fol­low­ing when its launched its 380 nearly two decades ago. With over 800 of the boats built to date, it ap­pealed both in size and price to cou­ples with cruis­ing dreams. No model launched since has been suc­cess­ful in push­ing the queen off her pedestal. But that may change with La­goon’s new­est in­tro­duc­tion, the La­goon 40.


The La­goon 40 re­places the pre­vi­ous 39 and 400 mod­els. De­signed by VPLP, the new cat adopts the styling of her larger sib­lings, in­clud­ing more an­gu­lar tran­soms, longer rec­tan­gu­lar hull ports to let light stream in be­low and a coach roof that flows into an up­ward-an­gled com­pos­ite hard­top. The wrap­around win­dows are still ver­ti­cal, but their elon­gated pro­por­tions gives this 40-footer an el­e­gant, al­beit still rec­og­niz­able pro­file. Ex­tra at­ten­tion was paid to keep­ing the weight low, with vac­uum-in­fu­sion con­struc­tion and balsa cor­ing in the deck and the hull above the wa­ter­line. The mast is po­si­tioned well aft in an ef­fort to make the main that much smaller and eas­ier to han­dle for short­handed crews.


The changes on deck were made mostly at the aft end, where the tran­soms have been squared off, and there are now just two shal­low steps lead­ing up from the swim plat­forms to the cock­pit. A tran­som seat was added in the cock­pit it­self, and the din­ing ta­ble to port was turned 90 de­grees. This re­sults in a more open flow, so that nu­mer­ous din­ers can gather round while oth­ers still move about freely.

To star­board, a set of steps leads di­rectly to the helm, a nicely in­te­grated sta­tion where the driver can still be a part of the con­ver­sa­tion in the cock­pit while stand­ing watch. Vis­i­bil­ity is good aft to the twin tran­soms when you duck un­der the hard­top. How­ever, you can’t re­ally see both bows from the wheel un­less you use the built-in step on the in­te­rior bulk­head where you man­age winches. Un­for­tu­nately, from that van­tage point, the en­gine throt­tles are hard to reach, so while dock­ing port-side-to you are faced with the choice of ei­ther see­ing the bows or hav­ing a good han­dle on the propul­sion.

The helm is open to the star­board side deck, mak­ing it a snap for the driver to lend a hand with dock lines or as­sist with an­chor­ing. You can also climb up onto the hard­top ei­ther from here or via a flip-up lad­der at­tached to the for­ward cabin top. This lad­der is a sim­ple so­lu­tion if you need to quickly ac­cess the mast from the fore­deck. How­ever, with wet feet on a bounc­ing ves­sel, it may be a chal­lenge to use.

An athwartships sun pad with lift­ing head­rests was added to the fore­deck just abaft the tram­po­line. The cush­ions also lie over two cav­ernous lock­ers hold­ing the wind­lass and wa­ter tanks. Two small open­ing ports in­te­grated into the for­ward win­dow make it pos­si­ble to pass a drink to any­one loung­ing up by the bow, sav­ing a trip out back to and around

the cock­pit. An­other nice fea­ture is the op­tion to up­grade the wa­ter tank­age by dou­bling the stan­dard 79 gal­lons.


In­te­rior changes to the La­goon 40 haven’t been dra­matic, but the tweaks add a feel of lux­ury. With the up­graded in­te­rior pack­age, in par­tic­u­lar, the 39’s stark aes­thetic of white fiber­glass or gray/beige cab­i­netry is gone, re­placed with richer shades of dark brown Alpi wood and plenty of leather ac­cents.

The sa­loon and gal­ley lay­out on the main deck re­main pretty much as be­fore. Most of the gal­ley, in­clud­ing an Eno three-burner stove, an un­der-counter front-load­ing re­frig­er­a­tor and am­ple cook­ware stowage, is still in the aft port cor­ner. To star­board is an ad­di­tional Isotherm re­frig­er­a­tor/freezer and plenty of over­head pro­vi­sions lock­ers. A small nav desk is tucked into the for­ward port cor­ner and in­cludes room for a multi-func­tion dis­play and other in­stru­ments. Ev­ery­thing is at hand, and the traf­fic flow works, es­pe­cially if there are fewer guests.

The La­goon 40 is avail­able with three to four cab­ins and two to four heads. With the en­tire port hull ded­i­cated to the mas­ter suite, the own­ers’ ver­sion is quite posh. For­ward is the head with a large shower stall, while aft is a berth that’s cut away on one side mak­ing it eas­ier to climb up into at bed­time. Amid­ships, own­ers will be able to re­lax at a desk and ac­com­pa­ny­ing set­tee. The slid­ing door that pro­vides pri­vacy also has a built-in book­case on the in­side. Both ends of the cabin are well lit by over­head hatches, open­ing ports and long fixed hull win­dows.

To star­board are two guest cab­ins that share a head with a large shower stall. For char­ter, two equal hull lay­outs with two heads are avail­able. For the truly am­bi­tious, four heads can be wedged in so that each cabin on char­ter has its own en suite bath. UN­DER SAIL

2 The key to sail­ing the La­goon 40 is the 706ft Code 0. With romp­ing fun con­di­tions out­side Gov­ern­ment Cut just off South Beach in Mi­ami, we un­furled the large head­sail and soon found our­selves touch­ing 10 knots of boat­speed in 16-18 knots of true wind on a beam reach. As we hard­ened up to 50 de­grees and the true wind dropped to 15 knots, we still held onto 7.9 knots. The im­por­tant thing to note here is that this cat will keep her speed even at a 50 de­gree ap­par­ent wind an­gle, mak­ing her more than just a down­wind cruiser.

2 Up­wind sail area is 875ft with a self-tack­ing jib that makes her easy to han­dle. A square-top main­sail is an op­tion and pro­vides even more horse­power for sail­ing to wind­ward.

With an air draft of 60ft 5in, the La­goon 40 is ICW-friendly, and with her agility, pound-for-pound and foot-for-foot, she ac­tu­ally seems to out-sail larger cats in her class. Her com­pact helm also makes for easy short­handed sail­ing. We be­came so en­thralled by our spir­ited ride back in­side the cut, we lost track of time and even our way for a mo­ment.


Our test boat was equipped with twin 45hp Yan­mar diesels (the stan­dard is 29hp) with sail drives and Flexo fold fold­ing pro­pel­lers. In lumpy seas, we slipped along at 7.5 knots at 2,400 rpm. To sat­isfy in­dus­try stan­dards, the en­gine room hatches are now hinged aft so you can in­spect the diesels un­der­way with­out step­ping out onto the tran­soms. It’s nice to see en­gine rooms of adequate size so you don’t have to origami your­self into ridicu­lous shapes to con­duct rou­tine main­te­nance.


Only time will tell if this will be the magic model that will fi­nally re­tires the 380, which is still in lim­ited pro­duc­tion. With its up­dated ac­com­mo­da­tions and a good turn of speed, the new La­goon 40 is cer­tainly a vi­able can­di­date. Even if she doesn’t dis­place the beloved 38-footer, she should still be on ev­ery cruis­ing cou­ple’s short list as a modern ex­am­ple of what a small cat can be. s

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