6,000M Lagoon 400
Well itís been a year and around 6000 miles now we've been living aboard
and sailing our new L400 so hereís a short review of our experiences to date, the good, bad and ugly!
Thanks to Javier of catamarans Barcelona
, and Oliver and JC from Lagoon
, the handover went smoothly and without a hitch. After a quick test sail with Javier we returned to the Lagoon dock
in Les Sables and made some notes of items to be attended to before leaving. Its a good idea not to be in a rush at this stage and mid May is a good time for delivery
as the weather
is warming and theres no rush to be out of the Biscay area till late August. This gave us ample time to sail to La Rochelle to have additional items fitted by Pierre and crew at Uchimata, such as solar
a new production boat
they are generally priced as 'base', 'essential' or 'comfort' price
points, with additional upgrade options. These all need to be selected when the initial order is placed and thanks to having two years on board our lagoon 380
, we pretty much knew what we needed, what we wanted and what we didn't need. Most upgrades supplied by Lagoon were close enough to the aftermarket price
or not feasible to install aftermarket. This included AIS
, folding props, larger 40hp Yanmar
engines, squaretop mainsail
, lazybag, cockpit cushions
, teak cockpit
floor, cockpit fridge, helm bimini
and additional handset.
The few items we had on our fix it list were promptly taken care of by Oliver and staff. They included a missing curtain tie back, a drip under the owners vanity unit, a cupboard knob (and a few spares thrown in), an under helm storage
bag listed in the specifications but not originally supplied, a small crack in the engine
compartment (we were concerned it may be a laminate fault but turned out to be just a too thick flow coat. This was ground out for inspection
, filled and flow coated again)
The overall quality of the L400 is excellent and we havenít had any issues with things breaking or falling apart.
Jen and I hadnít been on board a L400 for more than 1hr prior to ordering (same with our previous L380). Just for a quick visit and coffee with some cruising friends. So we had never sailed one or had a chance to go over the systems. All in all the systems were as good as or an improvement on the L380 except for one glaring omission, bilge
pumps! I'm fussy when it comes to bilges and bilge
pumps. On our 380 our bilges were always bone dry. If any water
entered the bilge I wanted to know how and why immediately. This is essential on any boat
. Occasionally guests would use the port shower
on the 380 and some water
would flow under the door and into the bilge. This would start the bilge pump
if enough water entered and the light would come on the panel as well as an audible alarm
. Not ideal but at least I knew the how, why and when of it. So when I discovered the L400 had no visible or audible alarm
for the bilge pumps this was unacceptable. Add to that the fact that the bilge pumps don't pump directly overboard
, but tee into the shower
waste with a non return valve in line and its even worse. As the shower is used some water makes its way backward through the non return valve and into the bilge, leaving it wet with at least an inch of water as the pumps cant extract the last of it. Fortunately this was an easy fix, adding piezo alarms and an additional through hull
to give the shower and bilge dedicated outlets each. Mathew of Uchimata did this fix in La Rochelle for us, cost was under EUD300 and at least its right now. What were Lagoon thinking!? Since then we have had dry bilges except for a couple of occasions when the water heater pressure relief valve has released water into the bilge. Without the modifications we wouldnít have even realised there was a potential issue with the water heater.
One item which was discovered on closer checking was that the autopilot
originally requested wasnít installed (Raymarine Evo) and the older model was installed in its place. We had confirmed prior to purchase
that the Evo would be installed so were disappointed to see they hadnít done so. After compiling our order documents and associated emails and email
discussions between ourselves and Lagoon we still wern't getting anywhere, so we rented a car and went to the Beneteau head
office in search of some customer service
. We laid out our claim to FranÁois Picot, Lagoons Customer Service
Manager who promptly pointed at some fine print at the bottom of the page "Descriptif sujet ŗ modification sans prťavis", translates to "subject to change without notice"
We followed through with our complaint as far as possible but any fair result was not going to be entertained by Monsieur Picot. He did tell us that ours was the last L400 with the older AP and the more recent builds had the newer AP, as if that was any consolation. Obviously they were advertising new equiptment but using up older equiptment on the shelf. This is a common practice but after specifically requesting the Evo and being delivered the older ST 4000 we were pretty pissed off. The fact that the AP model badge had been removed by the factory added insult to injury. The ST 4000 had performed well on our L380 but thatís not really the point. So where are we left with this kind of Customer service, or lack of it? We could take legal
action ( an Australian in France
against a multimillion dollar French company over an item that might take EUD2000 to alter ) or we could suck it up and move on, which is what we did. After some emails to anyone who might care at Lagoon (no one seemed to, or were unable to overule their after sales service manager) we decided to live with it and set sail for La Rochelle after three weeks at the lagoon dock
in Les Sables.
I should point out that in the past we have had excellent after sales service in general by contacting our broker and always had items fixed promptly or sent to the next port (mainsail track batten cars broke on the L380)
La Rochelle installations
La Rochelle is a great place to spend a month or so setting up a new yacht. The chandlers are just at the top of the provisional service dock and there are tons of yachting service and equipment
suppliers on hand. Pierre at Uchimata and his staff installed 1160w of solar panels
on our bimini
which worked out very well , along with an Aquabase 65l/h 12v watermaker
which has been running to specification the last year. Very energy efficient and easy to use with the control panel
at the nav desk. The WM is installed under the starboard hull
floor and the membrane under the starboard berth. We also had a 1600W inverter
installed and masthead navigation/anchor light to replace the lagoon anchor
light. The reason for this is we found on the L380 the reflection from the lights on the bow were a bit annoying at night and wanted a backup system we could switch to if need be. Funnily we have rarely used the masthead nav lights as the reflection hasnt bothered us on the L400.
Overall we are very happy with the L400 performance. The first six months aboard we rarely had an opportunity to sail upwind thanks to the Portuguese trade
winds. We opted to buy a Parasailor for downwind and have been extremely happy with it. Our L380 had a gennaker
but we find the 125m2 Parasailor to be much more useful for anywhere between beam reaching or running dead downwind. A 140m2 Parasilor is also an option, giving you slightly more bottom end, but the difference is marginal. Boat speeds under parasilor are around half true wind
speed, depending on the angle of sail and closer to one third TWS in over 25kn TW. Under 6kn TWS the Parasailor has trouble flying and with rougher seas it needs 8-10kn TW to keep it flying. Highest TW we have had the Parasilor up in was 38kn at which time we were surfing at 15kn boat speed and dropping back to 9kn as we came off the back of swells. Normally we would drop the parasailor if we expect winds over 30kn but sometimes squalls sneak up on you..
We added blocks to the bows for the Parasilor guys, and return them to the helm through the mainsail
reefing line blocks. This works very well. The parasilor sheets
run through aft turning blocks to dedicated winches.
On a beam reach under white sails
the boatspeed is a bit faster than beam reaching with the Parasailor. One of our nicer sails
was a constant 9kn speed through water with 18kn TW on a beam reach, again about half TWS.
Our first chance to sail upwind came at the Canary islands. We were initially disappointed in the performance with 120 degree tacks, but on closer inspection
realised we were heading into a 2kn current
which drastically effects upwind ability. Boatspeeds upwind are close to half TWS, up until about 8kn speed through water. After that its better to pinch a bit or reef as the apparent wind
will be over 25kn. We've since had some nice upwind sails and tacking through 90 degrees is quite doable while maintaining good boatspeed, say 7kn in 16kn TW, giving an upwind velocity made good of around 5kn. Unfortunately sailing upwind in the Caribbean
usually means sailing into a 1-2kn current
so tacks tend to be closer to 120 degrees in those conditions and VMG drops to 3.5kn.
This seems pretty much par for the course for most yachts we have sailed nearby, with some pointing slightly higher, some slightly faster, some slower and some pointing lower. In general we are very happy with the L400 on all points of sail.
The subject of catamarans bridgedeck slamming (waves touching the underside of the bridgedeck) often comes up as it can be an issue with some cats sailing to windward. We find it rarely the case with the L400 and although the occasional wave may touch the bridgdeck, its barely noticible and so far has never been enough to slow the boat. Noises on cats are different and at times waves can sneak up from the wrong angle and slam into the side of the hulls. This is felt with all catamarans and for someone not used to sailing a cat might be alarming at first. It is usually louder in the berth than the salon
, and rarely noticeable from the helm.
is very simple, all lines, sheets
and halyards return to the helm and all can be used on one of the two manual winches, or the electric winch
Raising and lowering and reefing the main all works very well with no need to leave the helm unless the third reef is to be put in (it needs clipping at the mast)
We upgraded from the standard 30hp yanmars to 40hp yanmars with folding props. The L400 definitely takes a bit more to push through the water than the L380, being 3T heavier, but the Yanmars are sufficient. We usually motor
economically with one engine
at 2100rpm at 5kn, using 2l/hr of fuel
. The L400 has 2 x 200l fuel tanks
so sufficient to take us close to 1000 M. For charging
batteries only we would run out of gear
at 1500rpm, using closer to 1l/hr. To push faster than 5kn or upcurrent the fuel usage goes up to 5l/hr at 3000rpm. We rarely do this except to give the engines a good run at 3000prm for 10 minutes occasionally as per yanmars recommendations.
The saildrives on the L400 are mounted very far aft. This is good in that the props can be reached (at a stretch) from the transom step, in the event of wrapping a line around the prop it can be cut without having to enter the water. The downside is that although the props stay submerged normally, in a rough sea state they can come closer to the surface, causing some cavitations. Nothing noticeable via vibration or sound, but the lighter colored water in the wake makes me think the props are losing some grip on the sea. This hasnít ever been a problem but I think in some situations our boatspeed might have been a bit better with deeper props.
As mentioned above, we are more than happy with the sailing and motoring performance of the L400. The motion underway is slightly more stable than our previous L380. A little less hobbyhorsing sailing upwind (there wasnít much on the L380 as it was) The L400 feels a bit more like its on rails and like the momentum keeps it moving foreword more steadily. Any hobbyhorse effect seems to pivot around the helm or slightly aft, which makes the helm, cockpit and rear berths very comfortable in any seaway, with minimal motion. Sailing downwind under parasailor and surfing 5m ocean swells at 8-15kn in upwards of 30Kn TWS, I felt uncomfortable at first, waiting for a broach of some kind, a hull digging in a little and throwing us off course, but it never happened. After hours and days of this type of sailing not once did it misbehave. Watching the bows as we surf along in those conditions, the closest the bows would come to digging in would be about 300mm from the deck
. This was a decent safety
margin for me not to be overly concerned about taking too much water over the bows. For me though this type of sailing requires pretty constant attention. Iím not comfortable to leave the helm. Who knows if the AP will decide to reboot or something else that requires immediate action (it never did) but... So for a full, alert, experienced crew this type of sailing is completely sustainable, but with shorthanded less experienced crew we tend to be more conservative and often sail overnights under jib
alone, still making 6-7kn in average 20kn tradewind conditions.
The helm area is well laid out with everything at hand. The seating is comfortable enough and I occasionally place a folding seat on top of it to recline in full luxury, feet up on the sheet bag. The bimini works well, keeping out the worst squalls and being able to quickly zip and unzip the front and side makes it very flexible. I donít particularly like the look of the bimini, but it is extremely practical. Hand holds are where we need them and thereís no need to leave the helm or cockpit under regular conditions. This keeps us very secure on night watches and its hard to maintain our mandatory PFD
for night watch rule
as the whole area is so secure. The lifelines
around the rear are close to 1m high.
The Raymarine electronics
all work well, with the biggest difference from our L380 being the Raymarine wifi
for the plotter. This is extremely handy as night watches can be made from anywhere, reclining in the cockpit or inside at the nav desk with an eye on the plotter and all relative instruments. We still go to the helm at least every 15 minutes for a horizon scan and sails and rig check. Visibility all around from the helm is excellent, with a clear roof panel for checking the sails. Usually I walk to the starboard aft deck
as well to check for anything that might be obscured by the jib
on a port tack.
Sephina is the owners version with two heads. The L400 comes in various versions from 4 cabin/4 heads, 3 cabins/3 heads to 3 cabins 2 heads. The 3 cabin
version allows for 2 full sized shower stalls with doors, each in their own dedicated bathroom with ample cupboard space in each. We have most of the owners hull cupboards filled comfortably for our needs. The port hull remains fairly empty so occasional guests donít mean we have to make space for them. The saloon
are also more than large enough for our needs. All of our kitchenware fits easily in the dedicated galley
space and the slide out pantry is great for food
. We utilise the microwave cupboard for a breadmaker. Under the settee is for long term foodstuffs so we can provision easily for 8 weeks or more. We added the optional cockpit fridge which works well for drinks and leaves the galley fridge for food
. The fridge is large enough and the freezer
compartment will hold more than 60 chicken breasts. The general layout works very well. The nav station is in a good location for keeping watch while working on charts
forecasts, log entries etc. We leave a computer there running OpenCpn
with a short miniusb running to the nearby AIS650 which supplies the laptop
information. Standard from the factory there is a i70 instrument readout located at the nav desk, along with the VHF
and stereo which also takes a USB drive for music
. We have added a vion barometer as well.
The owners hull is spacious and luxurious. The design is modern and clean. Part of the 400S2 makeover was a complete redesign of the interior
by the same design team that designed the L450. Its not hard to fit all the necessary items (books, printer, charts
, stationary etc) inside the cupboards, and leave the space presented as per the advertising brochures. Something I donít particularly like is when yachts are presented in one way but in practice thereís no way to avoid having baskets full of books
, cooking equipment
, food and clothes on display. It also makes it difficult to keep neat and tidy. But the L400 has space enough for all our needs to be neatly packed behind closed doors.
On deck the layout is clean. The flat flush decks are a big difference to the L380. The hatches are recessed to fit flush with the deck. There is ample storage
and all usable. The forward starboard bow locker holds all our mooring
lines, fenders, suitcases and parasailor. The bow lockers have a false floor about 1m below the deck. We havenít used the lower section on the starboard side. The port locker has a couple of surfboards in the lower section, and on the floor, an inflatable kayak
, 4 or 5 large tubs of 'stuff' a couple of kitesurf kites, inflatable
SUP wetsuits and space to spare.
The anchor locker
has 2/300l water tanks
chain, 4/10l jerry cans under a false floor, 2 folding bikes, hoses, power cables
and space to throw fenders and lines as well. The dinghy outboard
also fits in if we want to take it off the dinghy
for longer passages.
Ample storage around the cockpit holds 3 gas cylinders, tools, fishing gear
and the huge compartment where a generator
would normally go holds 8 large tubs (450x450x750) which we use for safety
gear, extra food and drink storage, snorkel and dive gear etc.
The cockpit works very well and the roof design means it rarely gets wet, even when rain is driving from aft (the solar panels
help there) or from the sides. Thereís space for 6 to eat comfortably, or 10 to snack/drink easily enough.
work well, with a manual winch
for lifting the dinghy, however the blocks are 3:1 and I find it quick and easy to manually lift
it by myself. Halfway on the stern, then half on the bow, then the rest of the way on the stern and then the bow. The dinghy can be pulled up hard to the davits
and wonít move at all underway once strapped tight. Its high enough to remain dry and we've only had the occasional odd wave touch the bottom of the dinghy. Lagoon come standard with Highfield dinghys and both ours have been excellent, light, easy to plane with 10hp. We have an ultralight 310 which weighs around 45kg and a 9.9 2 stroke
johnson which weighs around 40kg. The dinghy will plane at 17kn easily with 3 of us on board, and is also light enough to drag up the beach alone. Although id like a dinghy with console and 20hp, the current setup is just too convenient.
After a year on the L400 we have had minimal damage or maintenance
issues. Most things were sorted out in La Rochelle and we havenít needed to visit a chandler or have any outside work done except for the following.
Engine service, oil
and filter change
lever indicator stopped functioning - a common problem. We managed without it a few months, planning to have it fixed in warranty along the way, but it fixed itself in the mean time.
Lagoon La Rochelle changed the non return valves in the shower plumbing
, but we altered it to our needs anyway
changed watermaker filters every 2 months or so
raymarine masthead wind gear stopped working, replaced sensor wire
waterheater pressure relief valve opened, no repair yet as waiting to see if it continues to happen
starboard engine doesnít start immediately, will look into the issue in the coming months
Things I would change
Well thereís nothing I want to change that we havenít already, which was basically just the bilge pumps. Apart from that I think the L400 is extremely well thought out and a product of continuing development from Lagoon. When considering our options originally before buying
the L380, some of the reasons against the L400 have turned out to be unfounded.
One was the additional size would make it more expensive to berth and maintain. Both are under 12m so usually fall into the same berthing rate at marinas
. Both have similar equipment so costs are the same. The L380 does use a bit less fuel but considering we have filled the tanks twice since new, its not a huge issue. The L400 is very wide at 7.25m, but itís rare that marinas
charge per m2 for berths or haulouts.
I preferred the L380 hatch
above the helm instead of the L400 Bimini. The benefits of the Bimini and associated flush roof design outweigh any perceived disadvantage.
Handling under sail and power - I thought the L400 would be more of a handful than the L380. There is definitely more windage and marina berthing in a crosswind is a bit more challenging, but apart from that the sailing systems and sail handling are pretty much the same.
We also considered a L450 but quickly dismissed it fir the following reasons:
The L400 has more than enough payload (3T), storage capacity, speed, seakeeping ability and living space for our needs
We didnít like the idea of a bridgedeck helm and still don't. We like having the helm a hop and skip from the cockpit, galley and saloon
Apparently Lagoon are bringing out a bulkhead helm version of the L450, which looks similar to the L400. Maybe our next boat? Well only if we have 4 kids
in the immediate future and feel like we need more space. For now the L400 is more than enough. We did look briefly at Fountaine Peugot cats as well as Leopard
before ordering the L380 but quickly dismissed them as we didnt like the stying at all. Since then FP have produced the Helia which definitely would have been on our shortlist had we not gone with the L400, although at twice the price itís difficult to justify the initial expense and ongoing additional costs. So for now as we look around the anchorage and visit friends on their different boats, there is no yacht envy. We are perfectly happy with the L400.
The good: itís all good
The bad: nothing we canít fix
The ugly: nothing we won't get over