Lagoon 40 Catamaran Review

The French builder adds a distinctive new look to its range.

lagoon 40
The Lagoon 40 takes a fresh new approach as it replaces a popular performer in the French builder’s range.Billy Black

Conditions in Miami’s Government Cut were nearly perfect for testing the new Lagoon 40’s waterproof hatches. With a stiff onshore wind blowing straight down the channel to meet a brisk outgoing current, the cat’s bows plowed repeatedly into seriously steep waves, sending green water up and over the cabin top and raised helm, soaking Lagoon’s managing director, Yann Masselot, who happened to be at the wheel. Beneath the Bimini, though, sitting at the teak cockpit dining table and enjoying the splendid view — ahead through wraparound windows and astern across the wide-open transom — the ride was thoroughly dry and comfortable, as it should be on a catamaran capable of long-range cruising.

The 40 replaces a 39-footer in the Lagoon range as well as the popular Lagoon 400, which is being phased out after a 10-year run. Like its big sister, the Lagoon 50, it bears the look of a new generation of catamarans from the French builder.

Both boats were designed by a longtime Lagoon collaborator, naval architectural firm Van Peteghem-Lauriot Prévost, with exterior styling by Patrick Le Quément and an interior by Nauta Design. They made their North American debut last winter at the Miami International Boat Show.

This latest breed of Lagoons still carries the brand’s vertical saloon windows, but its cabin roofs and Biminis have evolved and now seem to float atop the house. Larger ports are embedded in the hulls, bringing loads of light into the living space within, and the masts have been located farther aft (reflecting lessons VPLP has learned from its racing multihulls). The new sail plan translates into larger headsails and higher-aspect-­ratio square-topped mains for increased power.

Once in open water, we cut the engines and sailed first with a full main and the self-tacking jib set. The breeze wavered between 15 and 20 knots and moved us along closehauled at 7 knots through boisterous chop. On a broad reach and with the (optional) genoa unfurled, I saw 7.8 to 8 knots on the GPS, which jumped to 9 on occasion as we took off surfing. Good stuff.

I found the raised helm station on the 40 to be quite user friendly. You could reach it from both the cockpit and the side deck, and from the two-person seat, visibility was good on all four corners of the boat. An overhead canvas Bimini provided protection from the elements, but was fitted with roll-up flaps and windows so you could see the sails overhead. Winches were within reach, and with all lines led to the helm, trimming and tacking shorthanded was straightforward.

Lagoon these days infuses its balsa-cored hulls (solid fiberglass below the waterline), bridgedecks and decks with polyester resin and a layer of anti-osmotic resin to prevent blistering.

Interior furniture on the 40 is made from a walnut-colored Alpi; the dark woodwork and leather accents on things like stainless handrails contrast smartly with light-colored fabrics that cover cabin sides and ceilings.

The boat we sailed had a single owners cabin in the port hull. Its queen-size berth was aft and a head and separate shower forward, with storage spaces and a desk in between. There were cabins fore and aft in the starboard hull, each with queen-size bunks and hanging lockers. They shared a large head and separate shower amidships. The 40 also comes in a four-cabin layout, with either two or four heads.

Upstairs in the saloon, a large dining table is forward to starboard and has an L-shaped couch around it. The nav station is to port; its bench can be moved to add more seats at the table for guests. The galley, also L-shaped, is to port and aft, a convenient location when the sliding saloon door is open because the cockpit table is adjacent to it. Across the cockpit, there’s a lounging area under the helm station; another cushioned, forward-facing bench spans the bridgedeck from transom to transom.

The new design reflects a change in CE regulations that require engine rooms to have hatches that open from the safety of the cockpit. Previously, on most cats, hatches were lifted while standing on the transom or transom steps. In a following sea of any size, the benefit is obvious.

The 40 comes standard with two 29 hp Yanmar ­diesels. Delivered at the factory in France, the base price is just under $330,000. The boat we sailed had optional 45 hp Yanmars and saildrives. The power upgrade, plus a host of other options, brought the sticker price up to just over $540,000.

Forty feet is an attractive size for cruising families and charterers who want to enjoy no-heel sailing and the living space a multihull provides. The length makes the boat easy enough for a shorthanded crew to handle and maintain, but large enough for bluewater passages. The Lagoon 400 had a good 10-year run of it. As its replacement, the 40 should enjoy more of the same, but with a fresh new look.

Mark Pillsbury is CW’s editor.