SAIL's Best Boats 2014: Lagoon 39
The Lagoon 39 was a favorite among the SAIL judges for a variety of reasons, including its innovative design, sound construction, good systems and fine sailing qualities, all topped off by the fact of its simply being a handsome vessel.
When Lagoon hired VPLP design to create a new series of boats, it wanted a truly new approach, not just a rehash of familiar elements, and the results are clearly evident in the first two representative of this effort, the 39 and the 52.
Among the most obvious innovations is the fact that the mast on the Lagoon 39 is positioned well aft. The result is an easily managed rig, divided between a relatively small, efficient mainsail (no more having to heave aloft the large, intimidatingly heavy mains found on a typical catamaran!) and a variety of foresails that average sailors can handle with ease.
Not surprisingly, this new mast location necessitated a completely new kind of structure that did not rely on the main bulkhead for support, which in turn changed the interior spaces. We like the result, with its excellent visibility, good grab points, easy traffic flow and openness. The boat also passes the important, “rowing away” test, as we think an owner will enjoy looking at it from the dinghy.
That structural change could only work if both the design and execution were first-rate, and on the Lagoon 39, they are. Construction is careful and complete throughout, and the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems are all neat and properly installed. Under sail, the Lagoon 39 is solid, stiff and quiet.
Oh, and it also happens to be a lot of fun! Underway the boat is responsive, yet tracks well, and helm feedback is instantaneous without being overpowering. The motion in a seaway is also easier than most cats this size, making for an overall package that should appeal to a wide range of sailing types.