Fifty-six feet long by 30 feet wide: Last fall off Tolly Point on the Chesapeake, we sailed hull number four of Lagoon’s new 570 catamaran—1,680 square feet of resin-infused fiberglass smoking along at just under 10 knots.
The Lagoon 570 is the latest from the French builder that in 1984 formed as an offshoot of Jeanneau’s racing division. Although some boats in its line were built at TPI Inc. in Rhode Island during the early 1990s, Lagoon has been an all-French affair since 1995, when Groupe Beneteau took over Jeanneau and its holdings.
Along with Lagoon’s other large catamarans (the 470 and the 67), the 570 is built at Groupe Beneteau’s custom yard, Constructions Navales Bordeaux (CNB), known for its aluminum and composite Frers-designed yachts of 100 feet and more. The Lagoon’s hulls, nacelle, and deck are sandwich structures of multidirectional E-glass over a balsa core, vacuum-infused with vinylester resin. Carbon fiber reinforces high-load areas, and deck gear is backed with epoxy-coated marine plywood.
Like other Lagoons, the 570’s distinguishing trait is its cabin top ringed with vertical windows. The upright orientation gives maximum visibility from the main saloon, while mitigating some of the heat from the noonday sun. Under sail, you can hear and feel torsional loads moving through the window area. Good nonskid on the cabin top is a welcome feature when the main’s coming down.
According to Bruce Wagner of Lagoon America, of all the 570s either sold or in production, half have gone to private owners and the other half into charter. As its size would suggest, the 570 doesn’t cater particularly to a shorthanded crew. Mainsheet and genoa-sheet controls are a long reach from the helm, for example, and emergency tillers must be set up separately, requiring one person on each of them (though before it came to that, you’d have recourse to the twin Yanmars for steering).
The helm placement at the cockpit’s aft outboard corner is a compromise between the bulkhead-mounted steering stations of a Prout, Fountaine Pajot, or Perry and Catana’s fully exposed helm station at the aft end of the hulls. From the Lagoon’s helm, you have a good view of the main and some protection from the cockpit bimini, although the cabin top obscures part of the view directly ahead; you find yourself alternately looking over and through the cabin. "On a vessel that goes 10 knots, you want a good view from the helm," said Boat of the Year judge Ralph Naranjo.
The cabin space, finished in teak, is sumptuous in both quantity and quality. Four layouts are available, optimized for private ownership or charter, each with or without a skipper’s cabin. Under power, the noise in the cabin was relatively low, with decibel readings in the mid-80s at 8 knots and 2,700 rpm.
In sum, Ralph said, "She sailed well and powered well, and I like that she’s a resin-infused boat."
CW executive editor Tim Murphy directs the magazine’s Boat of the Year program.