The innovative new 45-footer from Lagoon redefines family cruising and luxurious passagemaking (Published in Winter 2011)
When you’ve already built one of the most successful cruising catamarans ever (the Lagoon 440, with more than 400 launched), you have to ask yourself—what can you do for an encore in the mid-40s range? That’s the question put to the French design firm VPLP and to the design, engineering and marketing teams at Lagoon.
The result is the innovative, attractive and incredibly luxurious Lagoon 450. Introduced at the 2010 U.S. Sailboat Show, the new cat combines the best features of the 440 with a long list of innovations and refinements that make the boat sail better and handle more easily, with enhanced liveaboard qualities. If the success of the 440 is any indication of what the sailing market wants in a cat of this size, then the new 450 will certainly be a winner.
After the Annapolis sailboat show last October, I had the chance to sail the new 450 on the Chesapeake Bay. As often happens, the afternoon was balmy and the wind fairly light. Still, we were able to put the boat through its paces upwind and down, and also got to handle it under power around the docks.
With twin 29 horsepower engines, the boat is a cinch to handle in close quarters. It will pivot in its own length and can be made to crab sideways using engine power alone.
We dropped the mooring lines and headed down Back Creek, dodging the cruising boats that are always anchored there. With 25 feet of beam, the 450 requires a wide channel, but is truly easy to drive. From the bridgedeck, you always have great visibility. Often on larger cats, the helmsman can’t see the port bow and has to maneuver using feel and experience. Aboard the 450, you can always see both bows and both sterns as you maneuver in close quarters and in and out of marina slips or fuel docks.
Despite the length of the steering cables that run all the way from the bridge down into the hulls and aft to the rudders, the boat reacts the moment you alter the helm. The engine shift mechanisms and throttles also have a long way to travel from the helm to the engines, but there was no stiffness in the action and no delay in the response from both engines.
Once clear of the creek, we motored out the mouth of the Severn River and into the bay. Head to wind, we hoisted the big mainsail, which has full battens and a modern square top at the head for added roach and sail area. The mast stands almost 67 feet above the water, so the 450 will not fit under the bridges of the . But, the height does give the boat enough sail area to get her going even in the light stuff. With the main trimmed, we rolled out the genoa and started making tracks upwind sailing by the telltales and the instruments.
You never know what to expect from a large cruising cat when sailing upwind, particularly if the boat, like the 450, has stubby keels instead of daggerboards. So we were all pleased to feel the boat accelerate steadily to over 6 knots in 10 knots of apparent wind. Not bad. Even better, there were two other big cruising cats sailing near us in the same direction and we were sailing both higher and faster than the competition.
We put the boat through a few tacks and found that it carried its forward momentum well and could maintain tacking angles at just about 95 degrees or slightly better. The genoa tracks are on the cabintop, so the sheeting angles are nice and tight. The sheets lead to winches port and starboard
Once we had sailed far enough upwind, we rolled up the genoa, bore off and then rolled out the free flying Code Zero that was tacked down to the small bowsprit. The sail was huge and gave us a really nice boost. In the 8 knots of true breeze, we slipped along at an easy 6 knots with the headsail doing most of the work. The big sail sheeted to blocks aft on both side decks and to the winches on the bridgedeck. Jibing can be accomplished right from the bridge, and was simple and effective in the light breeze. We found that the boat sailed best downwind at about 150 degrees to the apparent wind.
The 450, like the rest of the Lagoon fleet, is designed to be a family cruising boat that can be handled by two people. With all lines and sheets leading to the winches on the bridge, this is a boat that any capable sailor could singlehand, and a couple will find it both fun and fast for extended cruising.
The Lagoon design team worked with VPLP and Nauta Design to create living spaces on deck, in the saloon and in the hulls that are bright, comfortable and thoroughly modern. The innovative bridgedeck—where you will spend a lot of time while underway—has a long bench seat in the shade of the canvas bimini, or you can lounge in the sun on the cabintop.
Forward, the 450 has a sunken cockpit in the foredeck where four people can relax in the sun and enjoy the scenery. The anchor windlass is mounted on a pedestal here so you have a safe area to stand when deploying and retrieving the anchor.
The huge after cockpit has a dinette to port that will seat eight under the hard top. In the tropics or in warm weather, this is where you will eat most meals. With the door to the saloon and galley and the sliding window in the galley open, the outside dinette becomes an integral part of the whole living space. The counter between the galley and the outside dinette allows plates and trays to easily be passed back and forth. Under the counter, a fridge or icemaker can be added.
A lot of thought has gone into making all of the deck spaces flow together pleasantly and safely. The side decks are wide and flat, the stairs to the bridgedeck have plenty of handholds, and the after deck and sterns are set up with stanchions, lifelines and handholds.
The 450’s saloon and galley are spacious and offer 360-degree views. The vertical windows and cabintop have been designed to let in maximum light without allowing direct sunlight to heat up the interior. With the windows open, the saloon will be cool and comfortable even on hot days.
The galley is set up with a four-burner propane stove, a microwave oven, double sinks and two fridges so families living aboard will be able to cook and live just as they would ashore. Plus, the galley is made for hosting parties—you can just imagine 30 friends enjoying a special gam as they spread out around the boat.
The nav station or desk in the saloon has plenty of space for charts and a laptop computer, and good angled cabinet faces for mounting chartplotters, radar screen, sailing instruments and radios. With an autopilot repeater handy, you will be able to handle the 450 from the comfort and protection of the saloon in inclement weather.
The 450 comes with either a three- or four-cabin layout. The three-cabin layout has two sleeping cabins and en suite heads in the port hull and the owner’s cabin, study and head in the starboard hull.
The guest cabins to port are large by any standard. The after cabin has a centerline double berth that you can climb into from the side so you don’t disturb your partner. The forward cabin has a V-berth that is truly a V, so non-couples or siblings can share the cabin without having to be too intimate. Both of the port heads have their own stall showers.
The owner’s master suite is truly spacious. The sleeping cabin aft has a queen-size centerline berth and plenty of storage. The study or lounge amidships has a bench seat plus a proper desk that can be set up as a floating office or dressing table. The head forward is as large as most shoreside bathrooms and the shower will easily fit two adults.
Lagoon uses a special Alpi wood for all interior cabinets and furniture. The light-colored wood has a consistent color and grain, which means any replacements will match your originals. Nauta has specified light-colored fabrics for the cushions and curtains, so the interior spaces are amazingly warm and bright.
The living spaces in the new 450 offer true comfort and luxury. Because there are so many places to relax, even large groups will fit aboard without ever feeling crowded.
The new Lagoon 450 is destined to be a popular boat that picks up where the 440 left off. For family cruising, the boat is spacious yet manageable. With the full-width bridgedeck, you have great visibility while underway, yet you can retreat to the inside nav station when the weather turns sour. The outside dinette will be the main gathering place, but you can also set up the inside dinette for more formal dining for up to eight.
You see Lagoons all over the world in the best cruising grounds. The boats are robustly built and ready to head to sea if that’s where the spirit moves you. In fact, most of the boats delivered worldwide sail there on their own bottoms.
If you are looking for a mid-size cat in which to roam the planet or explore nearby islands, the new Lagoon 450 sets a very high standard.
Displ. 34,178 lbs.
Sail area 1,442 sq. ft.
Water 92 gals.
Fuel 264 gals.