It’s good to have choices. That’s why I like Lagoon’s approach to its 45ft catamaran, which now also comes as a “SporTop,” as the French builder calls it. The new 450S is the refreshed version of the 450F (flybridge), which was introduced in 2011 when it replaced the very popular 440. The addition of the sporty version adds variety and lets owners choose more than just fabrics and wood colors.
Design & Construction
The naval architects at VPLP designed the 450F seven years ago. In the SporTop refresh, larger hull windows bring more light below, and the mold was modified with a chine that makes the hulls wider above the waterline to add volume inside the cabins. The glazed vertical windows of the coachroof continue as Lagoon’s signature look, even as they reduce heat inside. Weight—an all-important factor for any catamaran—is minimized by the model’s infused, balsa-cored construction and reconstituted Alpi wood interiors.
The new model’s coachroof extends aft to form a composite cover over the entire cockpit and is interrupted only by the raised helm to starboard. A sliding optional “gate” can be built into the starboard edge at the double helm seat, presumably to add security for the driver underway. With the gate open, you can also hop out onto the side deck to help with dock lines or to reach the bow quickly.
Two sets of steps converge at the helm. One set leads up to a double sun pad on the hardtop, where you can also reach the boom and traveler. The other set leads down and aft to the aft cockpit. As is becoming the norm on large cats, the 450S has two cockpits, one forward and one aft. When swinging to the hook in eastern trade winds, the aft cockpit will fall victim to the afternoon sun and won’t be the best place for happy hour. That’s when you head forward to the U-shaped settee that is integrated into the foredeck. There is no table here, but there are a few cup holders and trays of food can be placed on the deck to either side of the above-deck Quick windlass.
Later, as the sun disappears below the horizon, the aft cockpit becomes the place to be for dinner, where eight can gather on the portside U-shaped settee that wraps around the dining table. Additional seating is to starboard on a double lounge-cum-sofa. An outdoor refrigerator is optional.
One feature I especially like on the 450S is the wide hard deck that spans the transom just ahead of the davits, thereby letting you get quickly from one side to the other without ever stepping into the cockpit and interrupting the traffic flow. A feature I’m not so fond of is the short swim platforms. Specifically, the exterior sides of the hulls swoop down almost to the very end of the last transom step, which in turn, makes boarding from a side dock tricky, because there is little room for you to get a foothold. Of course, those missing few inches will make your overall length shorter in a marina, saving slip fees. It also makes it easier to step aboard when docking stern-to.
On today’s catamarans, it’s getting harder to discuss interiors and exteriors separately. One flows into the other. Indeed, with the aft window and forward door open, the saloon is almost a pass-through between the two cockpits (albeit a very nice one!) with light matte teak cabinetry and an oak floor configured by Nauta Designs to create a pleasing contemporary atmosphere.
An L-shaped settee with a table is to starboard and faces aft for good viewing of a TV that elevates from a cabinet by the door. The U-shaped galley provides plenty Corian counter space with molded-in fiddles, a three-burner Eno stove and a separate oven. (A dishwasher and microwave are optional.) The forward end of the galley is not parallel to the aft end, but angled slightly forward to create more room to open the front-loading refrigerator. It’s a workable solution that only slightly pinches the access to the port hull and the forward-facing nav station in the forward corner. The latter can be equipped with an MFD and joystick to create an inside steering station.
Although four cabins and four heads are available, our test boat sported the owner’s configuration, with the master stateroom extending along the entire length of the starboard hull. It’s a posh space with a large bed aft, an equally large head and separate shower stall forward, and a nice desk in between. Stowage is excellent in multiple lockers, cubbies and under the berth.
Lagoon offers two option packages: Essential and Comfort. Of course, options can also be selected à la carte. The davits, for example, are in the Essential pack while an Onan genset is part of the Comfort. No matter what option you select, rest assured this is a boat that takes care of its crew.
The 450S flies 1,399ft of upwind sail area, with a full-batten mainsail by Incidence Sails coming standard. A square-top or fathead main is also available as an option and adds another 22ft. That might not sound like much, but additional canvas at the top of a 73ft Z-Spar mast makes a difference. The mast is just under 3ft shorter than on the flybridge version, which may help reduce pitching.
Unfortunately, the wind gods were not with us in Annapolis for our test. That said, SAIL reviewer Tom Dove had previously sailed the 450F and reported that the boat was nimble despite being fully loaded with equipment and accessories for a planned cruise.
On the 450S, the control lines are led aft to three Harken winches and an array of Spinlock rope clutches at the helm, where visibility is also quite good. Our test boat was equipped with a single 12in B&G MFD at the helm and additional Harken winches in the cockpit for an optional Code 0. With a decent breeze of 12 knots, you can expect to sail 6 knots close hauled and possibly 10 knots on a beam reach in flat water.
The twin upgraded 57hp Yanmar diesels (45hp is standard) with saildrives and folding propellers, delivered 9 knots at 3,200 rpm (wide-open-throttle). A more efficient, but still respectable cruising speed can be found at 2,400 rpm and a speed of 7.8 knots. Maneuvering a catamaran at idle speed in tight quarters is usually easy because the engines are set far apart (nearly 25ft in this case) and will turn the boat in its own length, and the Lagoon is no exception. With its agility under power, the 450S takes the stress out of coming into any docking situation and actually makes it fun.
The Lagoon 450S is likely to prove a popular boat with perhaps 70 percent configured as owner versions. Lagoon’s smaller models in the range do not have an option for a flybridge, and some may ask why this model is different? It may be because, as Lagoon’s Frederic Signat says, “It’s a sweet spot for those who want a large boat but not one that requires crew.” Or maybe it’s just that having a choice is always better.
LOA 45ft 10in LWL 43ft 11in Beam 25ft 1in Draft 4ft 3in Displacement (light ship) 33,075lb Sail Area 1,399ft Air Draft 73ft 3in Fuel/Water (GAL) 274/92 Engines Twin 45hp Yanmar diesels Designer VPLP Design Builder/U.S. Distributor Lagoon America, Annapolis, MD, cata-lagoon.com, 410-280-2368 Price $613,000 (as tested)
MHS Fall 2017