Boat Review: Lagoon 46

Straight from France, the Lagoon 46 redefines the whole notion of roominess afloat.

Lagoon 46
Meet the new Cat in town.Courtesy of the manufacturer

Change is good! At least that's what Lagoon Catamarans is banking on with its handsome new 46-footer, which had its North American launch this past winter at the Miami International Boat Show.

The newest model from longtime Lagoon collaborators VPLP and Nauta Design replaces the immensely popular Lagoon 450. For the better part of a decade, the 450 occupied the sweet spot in the company’s range of sailboats that runs from 38 to 77 feet. First launched in 2010, more than 745 of them were sold. By any definition, that’s a pretty impressive number, and the new model will have big shoes to fill.

But the 46 is a pretty sweet ride—as I found out when I tagged along on its delivery up to Fort Lauderdale after the show. As with its 40- and 50-foot siblings that were launched a year earlier, the mast on the 46 is stepped relatively far aft, allowing for a larger and more powerful self-tacking jib up forward, and a smaller and easier to handle mainsail.

We had a heck of a day to go for a sailboat ride. An east-southeasterly breeze was blowing in the low 20s as we paused in the lee of Fisher Island to tuck in a reef and raise the square-top main before motoring the rest of the way out of Government Cut. Past the breakwater, we hooked a left, rolled out the self-tacking jib and headed for deeper water. For the record, with the throttles wide open, the boat’s two 57 hp Yanmar diesels pushed us along at 8.5-knots. More to the point, with the motors cut, our speed over ground hovered right around 9 knots closehauled. And by the time we’d gained enough sea room to crack off to a reach, though the wind had settled down into the teens, we still managed to add a couple more knots to our pace by unfurling the code zero.

The entire trip was on port tack, so I can’t talk tacking angles, but I can say once in Fort Lauderdale’s narrow canals—and when it came time to dock—the boat proved quite agile under power.

Underway, the flybridge on the 46 is the place to be. The boat we sailed had a hard Bimini top for shade (a canvas one is an option) and lots of cushioned lounging space just aft of the wheel. Offset to port, the winches are close at hand for the skipper, and all sail control lines lead to them. On the hook or dock, if you’re looking for sun and quiet, there’s a small cockpit forward by the trampoline. A much larger and more spacious social area is aft, shaded by the flybridge. The cockpit sports a couch across the transom and a table with foldout leaves and L-shaped seating forward, to port. Opposite, there’s more room for lounging on a wide daybed.

Just inside the saloon, a roomy galley is located adjacent to the door and sliding window, which when open, allows treats to be passed in and out. A nav station is forward to port, and across from it, there’s another dining table. In between, the center forward window slides down and opens onto the foredeck. Speaking of windows, the saloon is surrounded by them so daylight pours in.

Below, VPLP introduced pronounced chines that flare outward just above the waterline and considerably add to the living space in each hull. This is most noticeable up ­forward, where bunks are typically packed into the narrowing portion of a cat’s hull. On the 46, though, the forward berth on the three-cabin model is a full-size island queen, identical to the one aft. (A four-cabin layout is available as well.)

Adding to the sense of roominess below, blackwater tanks for the heads are located under the sole rather than mounted on the side of the hull, and bulkheads in the owner’s quarters have been eliminated.

Large rectangular hull ports make the guest cabins feel light and spacious; in the owner’s quarters, they make things feel downright elegant. The space is well-allocated and includes a queen berth aft and a large set of drawers and bookshelves amidships. Forward, a couch and desk occupy the outboard side of the hull and lockers line the inside, just aft of the roomy head and separate stall shower.

The base price for the 46 is $620,000. Fit out like the one we sailed—solar power, electric winches, watermaker, air conditioning, genset and code zero, to name a few of the toys—the bill comes to about $740,000. And for that, you’ll get a very comfortable cat to call your home.

Mark Pillsbury is CW’s editor.