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Old 18-01-2010, 03:21   #1
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Boat: Lagoon 400
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Which Cat to Buy

Hi All, thought I'd pass on my reflections from the last few years of a novice looking at the different cats on offer. I've finally fallen of the fence and for better or worse I have ordered a Lagoon 400 will be here in Melbourne Australia about September 2010, (see post on lagoon 400 versus Lipardi 41) When I first started looking to buy after catching the cat bug, I had to get my brain around the new lingo, such as sheets, (thought they went on beds) wetted surface ( bed wetting problem that developes after one buys a cat perhaps) another one that really had me worried was the term 'apparant wind' I thought gosh I already had that awfull social problem, perhaps it gets worse when one buys a cat. Well it's now a few years down the track. After going on numerous test sails and reading and researching, I have formed the opinion that there is very little difference in sailing speed between the popular cruising brands 38 to 45ft range, the main difference which ultimately dictates one's buying choice are things like access to the engines, I prefer access from the outside, beds, I don't like climbing up to a bed, or cimbing over a body to get out, galley down, galley up depends on the designe, there have been some constructive comments in recent times on that subject.
The amount of water / fuel and of course cost. The swish streamlined look is always a thing to admire at the boat shows when they are all clean and gleaming, but suprise suprise as soon as some one buys one the first thing they do is fix some ugly sun protection over those lovely streamlined windows, so after a while it dawns on you that function is more important than form, of course the individual buys what suits but it took me quite a few years to finally find a craft that on balance made sense to me........
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Old 18-01-2010, 06:58   #2
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Congratulations on the purchase of your new cat', peterp!
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Old 20-01-2010, 06:51   #3
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...so after a while it dawns on you that function is more important than form, of course the individual buys what suits but it took me quite a few years to finally find a craft that on balance made sense to me...
I think you just answered the beautiful catamaran thread as well. :^) They look beautiful when they are a safe home and a safe place to be when the weather stinks. Fair winds.
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Old 24-01-2010, 05:06   #4
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Location: Solent, UK
Boat: Beneteau Oceanis 38
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Congrats PeterP.

I have just made the same decision and ordered a Lagoon 400. Ours should arrive in the UK this April and handover to us in May 2010. Quite exciting really, but also a bit anxiety provoking because it's all doom and gloom here in the UK.

My wife and I are currently planning aftermarket gear such as generator, electronics, heating etc. All very costly so we are keen to get it as 'right' as possible.

We have recently sold our Lagoon 380 after 2 years of ownership and so we have some recent fitting out experience to reflect on.

As for the form over function debate. I have grown to like the look of Lagoon cats, but those Fontaine Pajot's always look a bit more handsome. But spend any time on either brand and you soon identify the differences. FP only reluctantly fits doors in its pursuit of a sporty ride, but Lagoon sacrifice some performance for the comfort of a fully fitted out interior. Guess the comfort was a higher priority for us.

Hopefully, I will post some details of our experiences over the next few months on one of the threads.

Cheers

Garold
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Old 24-01-2010, 18:10   #5
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Lagoon 400

Garold, I agree with your thoughts I really think the Lagoon folk have got the compromises right. Unlike you this is my first serious craft other than experience on Hobie cats, Mirror Dinghie, many years ago, so I am very much a newbie on this bigger stuff. It's interesting reading the different opinion's on what brand is good bad etc. certainly some wildly differing opinions, whilst this research is most usefull I have learned that over the last six years of looking and learning one must go and have a look at the craft on your short list, have a test sail crawl all over it and make up your own mind. I took a video camera to record so I could refer back should I forgot something, lot of advantages in a cat, however one big disadvantage is the extra cost over a mono so if one is buying new you only have one chance of getting it right you don't want to buy the wrong one then try and sell, not a smart thing. I wanted something that we could grow in to hence my thoughts a 40 footer in a cat is just a perfect size for a couple like us. I've been studying the cat market long enough to see the evolving changes, the most noticable one is the Lagoon / FP at last recognising the importance of protection from the elements, typically the glossy brochure's showed the cat on a pristene day with no protection from the sun at all or at best a canvas thing that looked like a after thought, what happens when it pours with rain! The Australian's designed cats always had better weather protection than the european designs but maybe that was because we have more sun, protection from the elements was always one of my highest prioraties, the Lagoon 400 in this regard has one of the best designed coachroof's in my view, particlarly with the factory clears that zip on from the stern to the roof making a fully protected second living area that can be used whilst sailing if needs be, this intergrated excellent design was a major factor in my decision making process. I must say that early in my investigations my eye was attracted to the more streamlined models, when I first looked at pictures of the lagoon I really thought what a ugly looking thing what lunatic would ever buy that, however when I first stood back and looked at a new 380 at the Melbourne boat show last year I thought wow in the flesh it's really quite nice, the windows don't have that cool swept back look, but the good practical design of the Lagoon windows offer much better protection from the sun and more head room inside, after seeing the Lagoon 400 in the flesh I agree Garad, it also looks good to me. A lot of comments have been made about the speed of a particular model frankly on my test sail the Lagoon 400 was no slouch with just the stantard sails main and jib always beter than 1/2 wind speed, and good feedback from the helm, it seems to me that whilst you don't want to be dead in the water the constant topic of speed is over rated the Lagoon 400 sails just as well as lighter comparable craft I have tested, I don't include one or two Australian craft that give speed a very high prority as part of there design goals and that's fine, but light narrow long hulls do have there disadvantages for cruising purposes. As far as coulers and finish go I think the Lagoon 400 is very contempary and attractive, it's a new fresh approach, in fact I think there is definately a new generation of cat's coming out of the factories which are very attractve and the these changes whilst subjective can only be good for the cosumer. As always just my thoughts each to his own.....Regards Peter
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Old 25-01-2010, 02:32   #6
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Peter, nice to make the contact.

It looks like we are going to use a bit of space on this thread as we debate the decision that we have both made.

We came to the Lagoon 400 after owning a couple of other boats and so have built up to this size. However, 25 years ago when first married, we lived on a wooden 50 foot Malahide motor yacht and so had some experience of shifting large boats around marinas built for 30 footers. It was a bit frightening then and that feeling resurfaces still when moving a catamaran in a UK marina.

However, a couple of years ago my wife declared that she would only go sailing if we sailed without heeling, and this was the prompt for me to look more seriously at cats. Since we had owned a couple of Beneteaus in our time, the build quality and pricing of French production boats was our comfort zone. We have never really been able to aim any higher but have always been very comfortable with our purchases. The Lagoon 380 was a revelation because, having read all the more critical blogs about this boat, I thought that it would be motor-sailor. And it just wasn't. I guess the lesson is that it's wise to gather as much info as possible before making any purchase but never make a final decision until you have first hand experience. What suits your best mate may not always suit you!

After 2 great years with the 380 we yearned for some missing features and I had already planned how to 'modify' the 380 to give some of them. However, when we saw the 400 it was clear that this boat answered most of our needs and Lagoon had designed this model as a boat that would appeal to people like us. Oddly, my wife and I both liked the new look of the 400. It has a kind of 'Audi A3 stunted high shoulder' look to it. The look is the designers way of getting more volume into smaller packages.

When we sail tested the 400 I had already read every report that was available and they all suggested that the boat was more sprightly than expected. We sailed in light airs and the sailing was just fine. And, in comparison to our 380, maybe a bit quicker (probably just because of the greater hull length).

As for detail, we have ordered ours with only the fridge. We will decide about freezers and ice machines later. We saw the new ceiling cupboards at the Paris Boat Show and they are a significant improvement in galley storage space. However, it's a big boat for two people so we should both be able to find room in other cupboards for anything which won't fit in the galley.

The bimini is clearly designed to keep the sun off the cockpit in a hot climate. In the UK we will mostly make use of the bimini roof to keep the rain out of the cockpit. Fortunately it does both jobs well! And we do plan to have the sides installed at an early date.

As for resale, at least with a French production boat you know that there is a market and that there is a market price for the products. We have lost money on all our boats but nowhere near as much as one may think. Did we get value for our money during our period of ownership? Absolutely. Would I make the same boat buying decisions again? Yes.

As for speed ......... each to his own. But those 'slow boats' are not as slow as most believe, and they usually arrive with less broken bits.

Cheers

Garold
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