French catamaran builder, Lagoon, has been searching for the magic bullet for 20 years. With the new Lagoon 40, they may have found it. The dilemma has been how to replace their uber-popular 380 cat that launched over 800 hulls and is still in (limited) production. Couples loved the layout, size and price point of that model and every subsequent 40-footer has failed to pry that entry-level-seeking demographic fully away from the older design. But with the introduction of the new and agile 40, Lagoon may just be able to retire the old molds once and for all.
Coming on the heels of the 39 and the 400 models, the Lagoon 40 looks more like her newly launched 50-foot sister. Designed by VPLP, the new cat features angular transoms, longer rectangular wrap-around windows and a coachroof that flows into an upwards-angled composite Bimini. Clearly still sporting the Lagoon aesthetic, the 40 differentiates herself from what came before in both performance and interior aesthetics.
Careful attention was paid to keeping the weight low with vacuum infusion construction and balsa coring in the deck and the hull above the waterline. This process is not new to Lagoon’s methods but she is a strong boat at only 24,000 pounds. With the 706-square foot Code 0, we found ourselves sailing at 10 knots in 16-18 knots of true wind on a beam reach off the coast of Miami.
Most cats sail well with the wind abeam or farther aft but this one sails even at 50 degrees apparent wind angle where we still carried 7.9 knots. The upwind sail area is 875 square feet with a self-tacking jib that makes short-handed sailing a snap. A square top mainsail is an option and one I’d recommend to capture the wind up high.
Her agility is noteworthy as pound-for-pound and foot-for-foot she actually seems to out-sail larger cats in her class—even her own siblings. The helm is compact so it’s perfect for couples and with her air draft of 60’ 5” she’s ICW-friendly, so great for jaunts up and down the East Coast.
The Lagoon 40 comes standard with 29 HP diesels but our test boat had twin 45 HP Yanmars and my rule is take the bigger engines on any cat in case you have long stretches of bashing to weather in your cruising future. With Saildrive transmissions and Flexofold folding props, we slipped along under power on lumpy water at 7.5 knots at 2400 rpm. The high bridge clearance did fairly well even in mashed potato seas that swirled along underneath.
One specific change was made on deck to meet industry standards for safety and that is that the engine room hatches on the transoms now open up and aft. This enables inspection of the engines under way without stepping out onto the transoms. The engine rooms are nicely laid out and of adequate size so basic maintenance procedures aren’t downright painful.
Speaking of the transoms, as mentioned previously, they’ve been squared off with two low steps leading up from the swim platforms to the cockpit. The ascent is moderate and easy to manage for older knees and the transoms look sleeker now. In the cockpit, a transom seat was added nearly across the entire width of the boat and the dining table to port was turned 90-degrees, creating more room for people to move about between the outside and the inside.
From the cockpit, steps lead up to the starboard-side helm. From here, visibility is good aft to the twin transoms when you duck under the Bimini but not great forward to the port bow. To see that bow, you’ll need to stand on the molded steps inboard of the wheel. But if you do this, it’s a long reach to the throttles so your choice is to either see well forward or have a good grasp on the engines.
The helm is nicely integrated so the driver is separate but not alone and it opens to the starboard side deck so you step out and lend a hand with dock lines or anchoring. You can also use the steps to climb up onto the Bimini to manage the sail in the bag and then descend to the foredeck via the flip-up ladder. This ladder was present on the 39 as well and it would benefit from wooden treads because after a week of using it with wet feet, I could attest to its lack of friendliness and safety.
Newly added (sort of) is the athwartship sunpad on the foredeck complete with lifting headrests. Without the cushions, this is just hard deck as before that hides two large lockers holding the windlass and the water tanks aft of the trampoline. With the cushions, it makes a lovely spot to curl up with a book or cocktail.
Drinks (or communications) may be passed forward from the saloon via two small opening ports that are integrated into the forward windows. In a pinch, they save a trip back to the cockpit, around the side decks and then forward. Water tankage is only 79 gallons but there is an option to double it, which would be welcome if the vessel were pressed into charter service.
The dramatic change inside was the finish. Dark wood veneers and emphasis on upscale touches like leather accents have introduced a bit of luxury to the grey and white interiors that have dominated cat interiors lately. Available with 3-4 cabins and 2-4 heads, the Lagoon 40 offers an owner’s version with the master suite in the port hull. Forward is the head with a large shower stall and aft is a berth that’s cut away on one side so it’s easier to climb into. The sliding door that provides separation from the saloon also has a built-in bookcase on the inside so every inch of space has been rethought and optimized.
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 and/or freezer and overhead are provisions lockers. A small nav desk is tucked into the forward port corner and has room for a multi-function display and instruments. Everything is at hand and the traffic flow works when there are fewer guests but with a full house of eight, there can be times of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The starboard hull always has two guest cabins that share a head with a large stall shower or each cabin can have its own head without a stall shower. For charter, two equal hull layouts with two heads are available. That may work when you have to accommodate many guests, but for private ownership, it may be too much to ask of 40 feet and I’d say the owner’s version with a 2/1 on the other side would be the best choice.
Will it Work?
We had a romping good time sailing the Lagoon 40 especially with the Code 0 that is a worthwhile option. Will the new 40 finally eliminate the demand for the older 380? Perhaps. Certainly, she’s a solid cruiser that’s good for couples with occasional guests or for small families looking to sail on a large platform. She’s manageable and friendly and that could just finally do the trick for Lagoon.
See Lagoon 40 listings.
|Sail area||875 sq. ft.|
|Fuel capacity||106 gal.|
|Water capacity||79 gal.|