In the process of researching boats deciding on a purchase
, I have spent 2 weeks sailing a Lagoon 380, 4 weeks sailing an Island Spirit 37 and 2 years owning a Manta
40, so here are my impressions of the three boats.
The Lagoon was brand new, recently launched. It is a nice boat with decent workmanship, and the owners version is immensly more livable than the charter
version. Many of the systems were odd, however I find that true for most French boats so it might just be a personal thing. Some of the trim and interior hardware
and easily broken. The engines located in a separate compartment has pros and cons. The pro is that they are separate from the interior
and very easy to work
on and around. The space in the compartments is surprisingly large. However, I would not want to work back there in inclement weather or heavy seas. The saildrives located aft of the rudder
is a mistake IMO. The rudder
is hopeless, and steering
at low speed needs to be done entirely with the engines - particularly in reverse. The boat manuevers sluggishly under power, and using the engines around docks requires a lot of thought. I never got used to their position and don't like it. This wasn't enough to dissuade me from purchasing
it - that decision was made after sailing it. The L380 fell off my list because of its sailing performance. Quite frankly, the boat is a dog. Like I mentioned earlier, the boat was just launched with clean bottom and new sails
. However, bringing it above a beam reach would slow it down dramatically, and it just would not point well, even for a cat. On a beam reach in 20kt tradewinds, we would struggle to get and hold 7kt speeds (for comparison the IS37 and Manta
will easily sail at 8-11 kts in these conditions). Now, the problem may have been mine, but I have been sailing cats for awhile and spent a lot of time adjusting and experimenting to find this boat's groove. I wanted to like the L380 very much, but it just wouldn't let me. Strangely, I have sailed a L410 for a couple of hours and has MUCH better performance, even though the design looks very similar.
I was impressed with the Island Spirit 37. It is a nicely laid out boat with good systems and a very livable design with good storage
and access. Of the three boats, this one is the heaviest. However it sails
much better than the L380 and not as good as the Manta. It does not have a good reefer/freezer solution for liveaboard, and no easy way to add one. The 4-cabin version I was on had very small heads. The 3-cabin owner's version would be a very nice, livable boat (except for that reefer issue). The cockpit
and transom access are brilliant. The traveler and mainsail
control system is well-designed, but having the furler winch
mounted under a transom seat and blocked by a stanchion should earn the guy who made that decision a hundred lashes. Also, the bridgedeck is very low on this boat, and the waveslap and pounding were much more pronounced compared to the L380 and M40. I think I might have bought this boat if I hadn't looked at the Manta.
I won't go into why I like the Manta much because it won't be as objective and kind of redundant. To sum: it sails the best of the three (although none of these are pointing, speed demons). It is specifically designed for a liveaboard cruising couple with occasional guests. This means that all sail handling and control can be easily done by one person, and space is utilized for storage
and owner comfort instead of having lots of bunks, baths and 12-seater buffet tables.
One thing I would like to address is living with the engines inside the boat. I don't find this to be a problem. The compartments are well-insulated, so the noise
is not loud, and the cabins do not heat up appreciably. I get no engine smells. In fact, I think people fret too much about this. Modern diesels should not smell, and if they do, you need to find the problem and fix it. When doing maintanence, I simply wipe up any small amount of fuel
that I spill. As far as access goes, this is only a minor issue. All routine checks (oil, transmission
, throughhulls, impeller, etc) can be done without removing the mattresses. Manta now designs the access so the mattress doesn't need to be removed at all for any access (see pic in link).
This is an easy modification, and I am doing that to mine now. I am always grateful when it is crappy weather and I want to do some engine mainenance. Best thing about engines inside is if you need a different tool or want to answer the phone
, change the music
, etc, you simply do it - no need to crawl out of a compartment and back inside the boat. Even easier: you can simply ask the mate to get you something without shouting from the outside!