When developing its new 46-footer, Lagoon had two issues to contend with. First, the immense popularity of its recently introduced groundbreaking 50 set high expectations for the smaller design. The question, therefore, became how to pack all of the 50’s innovative features onto a more compact platform. Second, since the 46 replaces the immensely successful Lagoon 450, Lagoon couldn’t afford a misstep. With nearly 800 units of its predecessor having launched, it was imperative that it get the new design right.
Design & Construction
France’s VPLP designed the Lagoon 46 along with Patrick Le Quement, and you can see the resemblance to her bigger sister in both the angular transoms and the sloping hardtop that lifts up at the aft end, creating the perception of movement. At first, the wraparound glazed vertical windows look continuous, but in fact, they’re made up of a series of separate panels. Weight was kept low through the use of vacuum-infused balsa coring above the waterline and reconstituted Alpi wood interiors.
As in the exterior profile, the designers borrowed heavily from the Lagoon 50 when creating the 46’s deck layout. The two steps from the transoms, for example, are low and wide, making the transition to the cockpit a gradual, easy one. The hatches over the engine rooms also, once again, open aft, keeping you safely in the cockpit and not out on the transoms when checking the engines underway.
The cockpit table to port folds in for a quick family breakfast or opens up to seat as many as eight for dinner. The sliding seat forward also makes an encore performance. Underway, it moves aft to reveal steps up to the port side deck, thereby allowing you to move directly from inside the cockpit to the bow without having to go aft and around. Finally, to starboard, the outdoor galley from the bigger sister also made the cut, with a sink, a fridge, cutouts to hold bottles and a large countertop for food and cocktail prep all located there. A small hatch above the galley window was also added so you can pass drinks or other small items directly from the cockpit to the flybridge.
The foredeck still includes a lounge with of a settee behind the windlass cover, which does double duty as a cocktail table. This time, though, sunbeds were also added on either side. The forward window opens manually, so drinks can be passed to the lounge directly from the galley without having to scramble around the side decks. Polishing duties will be few, since there are no more stainless handrails leading to the foredeck. Instead, the coachroof has a handhold molded directly into the GRP for a cleaner, lighter aesthetic.
Up on the flybridge, a long bench seat accommodates the skipper and as many as three companions. The angled dash is comprehensive, with an angled MFD, wind instruments, autopilot, remote windlass control and light switches. The latter means you no longer have to duck below to turn on the running lights. The wheel is offset to port so, unlike on the 50, the driver isn’t staring directly into the back of the mast. Behind the bench seat is a triple-wide sun pad with movable back rests where companions can relax with a book, nap or even help keep watch.
The two aft supports for the hardtop also serve as ladders, allowing you to climb up and manage the mainsail into its bag. However, they’re as awkward and slick as on the 50, so using them will be limited to when the boat is in its slip or on the hook in a quiet anchorage. I’d dare not try it with wet feet and hands in any kind of seaway.
A recessed, electric Harken winch manages the continuous main traveler, leaving you with no excuse not to have a well-trimmed sail. The jib is on a self-tacking track, making singlehanding this big boat that much easier.
Inside and on the same level as the cockpit is the interior social space comprising the saloon and galley. To starboard are twin isotherm refrigeration drawers. Directly opposite is an under-counter fridge in the same area as the sink and stove. There’s good stowage all-around for things like provisions and galley tools, and the microwave has been nestled into a bulkhead near chest level so you won’t have to worry about hot beverages sloshing around over your head.
Also to port and forward is an angled nav desk with a B&G MFD, another fixed-mount VHF radio and autopilot controls, which will make for a great watch-standing stations on long passages or in inclement weather. On charter this is likely to serve as a drinks table, but serious cruisers will appreciate a space dedicated to ship’s business.
Our test boat came equipped with the three-cabin owner’s layout, with a truly posh master suite in the starboard hull. Aft in this space is a queen-sized island bed with access from both sides. Amidships is an elongated settee and desk, with racks to hold books and other small items. The head is forward and large enough for two people to use simultaneously, with the toilet in a separate compartment with a second washbasin. Blackwater tanks for all the heads are located under the sole rather than shoehorned in higher up in the hulls, providing that much more room for accommodations. For charter or large families, four cabins and four heads (each with a separate shower stall) are available.
The rectangular hull windows on the Lagoon 46 are even larger than aboard the 450, and in combination with recessed lighting both along the cabin sole and overhead create a feeling of light and space. Lagoon offers a choice of three wood finishes, including a darker shade of brown Alpi and the option of upmarket leather accents. Traditionalists like to say production cats have all the aesthetics of a plastic tub, but not this one.
The wind gods denied us any kind of a real test on the Chesapeake, and despite doing our best to put the 1,300ft2 sailplan to work, we never really got a chance to see what the boat is capable of. That said, there were still some hints as to what her performance would be like in a blow. The mast, for example, has been moved aft to minimize hobbyhorsing. The shorter boom is also more manageable, and the rig has a higher aspect ratio to better capture the winds aloft. Mast height is 76ft, so she won’t be a candidate for the ICW, but the higher SA/D ratio will undoubtedly be welcome offshore in light air. In 15 knots true wind on the beam, you can expect speeds of 9-10 knots in minimal chop. Unfurl the Code 0 in 18 knots true breeze, and you’ll be reeling off 11-12 knots.
The Lagoon 46 is nearly 12,000lb lighter than her 50ft sister—lightweight. If you can avoid the temptation to weigh her down by filling her cavernous stowage spaces, you’re sure to be pleased with her performance under sail.
Running back to the slip, the twin 57hp Yanmar diesels (standard power is 45hp) with saildrives, delivered 8.5 knots at 3,000 rpm (wide-open-throttle). Since you’re not likely to motor full out, a friendlier cruising speed can be found at 2,200 rpm and 7 knots.
Only time will tell if the popularity of this model will meet or exceed that of the 450. Since the company focused so much on the details and how to pack them into a smaller footprint, we’ll assume that Lagoon did, indeed, get it right and that the 46 will set new records as well.
LOA 45ft 11in LWL 45ft Beam 25ft 11in Draft 4ft 3in Displacement 34,773lb (light ship) Sail Area 1,323ft2 Fuel/water (GAL) 274/158 Engines 2 x 45hp or 57hp Yanmar diesels SA/D Ratio 20 D/L Ratio 170 Designer VPLP Builder Lagoon, Belleville-sur-Vie, France, cata-lagoon.com Price $745,000 (as tested)
MHS Winter 2021