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Old 13-03-2012, 13:26   #1
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Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

We have been looking to buy a small cruising cat for about nine months. Based on our cruising plans, financial constraints, boats inspected, reviews, etc., we have narrowed our search primarily to a Lagoon 37 or an older Leopard 38 (Simonis design). In comparing these two boats, does anybody have an informed opinion regarding:
1. relative sailing performance
2. durability of construction
3. value retention?

Also, if you are an owner of a Lagoon 37 or a Leopard 38 and might be interested in selling, please contact me.

Mike Sibley
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Old 14-03-2012, 05:05   #2
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

Fibreglass versus Balsa core construction.... you decide!
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Old 14-03-2012, 05:37   #3
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

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Originally Posted by ausaviator View Post
Fibreglass versus Balsa core construction.... you decide!
Leopard 38 is well built, but on the heavy side and has Balsa core below the water line. A survey would hopefully pick up a wet area.
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Old 14-03-2012, 05:59   #4
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

Actually I just gave you a bum steer....

If you are actually talking about the Lagoon 37 versus 38 then I believe the Lagoon 37 TPI is also balsa core, versus the Lagoon 38 that isn't.

Therefore unless I am mistaken, both vessels are Balsa cored below the waterline.
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Old 14-03-2012, 07:57   #5
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

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Fibreglass versus Balsa core construction.... you decide!
Based on reviews in Cruisers World and other publications, both boats appear to be balsa cored below the water line. But, both boats seem to have a good reputation with few issues related to the balsa core.
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Old 12-03-2013, 17:16   #6
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

I own a Lagoon 37 and I'm perfectly pleased with it's construction characteristics, which include a balsa core. I believe most South African cats are balsa-cored also.
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:06   #7
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

Great write up about the 37 TPI, nice read,
Boat Reviews: Cruising World Boat Review...

Just curious though both my prior and current cat were cored above WL, then solid glass below. is there an advantage to going cored below ?
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:30   #8
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

I'm not aware of any cats that are necessarily cored below the waterline. Regardless of the type core, they are generally cored above the water line and solid below. I don't see any advantages of coring below the water line, but solid below the water line affords much protection against damage from grounding and any impacts, for that matter.
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:33   #9
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I'm not aware of any cats that are necessarily cored below the waterline. Regardless of the type core, they are generally cored above the water line and solid below.
Many many cats cored below the waterline.
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:34   #10
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

Lagoon is balsa cored above the water line.
Leopards are balsa cored above and below the water line
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Old 12-03-2013, 18:53   #11
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

I assume they're reinforced below the waterline to make up for the composite construction. I also own a Conser Warrior cat and it's also composite below the water line, but very solid near the bottom of the hull. I just acquired the Lagoon and the Warrior will be up for sale very soon, if anyone is interested in a performance cat.
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Old 12-03-2013, 19:20   #12
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

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I assume they're reinforced below the waterline to make up for the composite construction. I also own a Conser Warrior cat and it's also composite below the water line, but very solid near the bottom of the hull. I just acquired the Lagoon and the Warrior will be up for sale very soon, if anyone is interested in a performance cat.
The Balsa core is the reinforcement. Makes the hull about 1 inch thick and with epoxy around every square of balsa it forms a bridge making it stronger and lighter than solid fiber glass hulls. As long as they stay dry all is good.
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Old 12-03-2013, 19:33   #13
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The Balsa core is the reinforcement. Makes the hull about 1 inch thick and with epoxy around every square of balsa it forms a bridge making it stronger and lighter than solid fiber glass hulls. As long as they stay dry all is good.
My guess is that none of the production builders use epoxy resin. Vinylester if your lucky?
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Old 12-03-2013, 19:44   #14
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

I am surprised and glad to see some interest in this old thread that I started a year ago when I was trying to decide between a Lagoon 37 and a Leopard 38. We ended up buying a 1993 Lagoon 37 TPI. I have learned a lot about the boat in the last year - some good and some not so good.

Our Lagoon 37 is cored with balsa both above and below the water line, but with a strip of solid glass about eight inches wide that runs along the very bottom of each hull. I believe that the hull was constructed in three pieces: 1) the inboard side of both hulls plus the bridge, 2) the outboard side of the starboard hull, and 3) the outboard side of the port hull. The three pieces were then joined. The solid glass strip down the bottom of both hulls is where they were joined. I believe very few (if any) modern catamarans are solid glass below the water line. It is just too heavy and compromises performance too much. Some are cored with balsa and some with foam, but I believe virtually all modern cats are cored below the water.

We have been generally happy with our Lagoon 37. It is the right size for our use, sails well, and has a great layout. However, I am not universally positive about construction methods. The balsa coring should not be a problem if (this is a big if) all hardware, ports, etc. are properly attached. Unfortunately, I have found several places where locker hinges, etc. are attached to a cored part with wood screws that penetrate the core. Eventually, these screws let in water which leads to rot. There are lots of examples of this in the interior, but also some on the exterior. For example, the lids to the stern lockers have hinges that are attached with screws that penetrate the core, and I am currently trying the deal with the resulting rot.

I would love to compare notes with other Lagoon 37 owners and see how they have addressed these and other issues.
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Old 12-03-2013, 19:47   #15
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Re: Lagoon 37 vs Leopard 38

Thanks for the details. What I can share is that compared to a performance cat, the Lagoon 37 is a stable, strong, comfortable cat that is quickly appreciated when the wind exceeds 15 to 20 knots and seas become rough. I sailed this cat from Tortola to Florida without incident and one 6-hour stop-over in DR.
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