Lagoon - Groupe Bénéteau
Undoubtedly, this 23 metre catamaran, unveiled to the world at the Cannes Yachting Festival, left nobody unmoved. Extremely spacious, she is available in three different cabin layouts. We tested her on the eve of her Atlantic crossing. A journey she planed to achieve without refuelling, thanks to her amazing autonomy at eight knots.
Hard to miss her when on the catamaran pontoon. Massive, she exudes yet a certain class she owes to the exterior designer Patrick Le Quément, a talent coming from the automotive sector (Renault) and a friend of the naval architect Marc Van Peteghem who penned the hull. Renowned expert of multihulls, with his associate Vincent Lauriot-Prevost, the latter designed racing record-breaker sailboats and also contributed to the conception of the "USA 17" Oracle, winner of the 2010 America’s Cup. As for the interior design, it was entrusted to an equally famous studio : Nauta Design, which has notably conceived the world’s largest yacht, the 180m Azzam ! Nothing then but great - and highly competent - names, to give birth to this Seventy 8 ! Lagoon was the first to detect the yachtsmen’s interest for this kind of catamaran (stability at sea, an attractive volume on the main deck plus good performances, often synonymous with a valuable autonomy). Hence its indisputable success in the sailing segment, but also in the motor one, where demand is growing, especially in the 40 and 60 feet range. The Bordeaux-based shipyard, part of Groupe Bénéteau, also had some intuition by entering the market over 20 metres, with the Seventy 7 sailboat and this year the Seventy 8 motor yacht. A fast survey of some engine manufacturers guided the technical department to the American brand, John Deer, whose famously robust blocks were "marinized" by Nanni Diesel. In other words : 2 x 580 hp with a classical shaft line transmission, ensuring up to 4 000 hours of use. We learned as a preamble that with 8 knots and an 8 500 litre fuel tank, the Seventy 8 has a transatlantic range : 4 500 miles. More than enough to reach Fort Lauderdale from Gibraltar (3 900 miles). Which she achieved in October to attend the famous American exhibition. But let’s be modest and happy with a few hours off Mandelieu La Napoule.
No vibration and a reasonable sound volume
The two engine rooms are accessible from the stern, which is quite normal considering that both John Deere are located aft of each hull. We decided to opt first for the flybridge’s helm position, its forward console and electrically adjustable chair. Needless to say that from this high point, the visibility is nearly perfect. But in addition, it also features a surveillance system, to monitor the aft while maneuvering. The semi-displacement hull rises slightly under the pressure of the engine and requires about thirty seconds to stabilize its maximum speed : 18 knots. After applying the principle of a 15% reduction in engine speed, to obtain the cruising speed, here 1 700 rpm, she has 15 knots of speed and an 820 miles autonomy. Even better, her economical speed, 12.6 knots, is not only soft and quiet with 58.5 dbA recorded on the main deck and 54 dbA in the master, but it also lengthens distances with a 1 100 miles range. All the more so since the yachtsmen who have already Lagoons of this size spend a large part of their time in navigation. That should undermine the statistics that the average time spent making wakes is 200 hours a year… Only remains now the question of the berth since marinas usually welcome smaller monohulls. We only hope now that ports authorities will look solutions to meet these demands, as did La Napoule with its multihulls berth.
A 360° panoramic view
One strength of this Seventy8 is undoubtedly her main deck unique space gathering the salon, dining room, kitchen, tv furniture (55’ screen) and the wheelhouse, with half-height windows all around. There, the dominant clarity confers to this place a significant power of attraction. This nearly permanent sea view makes us feel like on a vast protected terrace. As for the design and decoration, Nauta Design has made an excellent use of this naturally luminous interior. It opted for reconstituted dark wood veneers from Alpi, which is usually of good quality. However, clients will be able to choose between several colours, lighter tones for example. On this n°1 of a series production, the kitchen occupies a few metres of the saloon portside. It remains discreet but reveals all the equipment needed for sophisticated dishes. As for the owners who prefer not to bear the smell or the noise of chocking pots, the kitchen can also be located forward or aft of the portside hull, no matter how many cabins there is.
A very "zen" master
Let’s head first to the master, which occupies a third of the starboard hull and enjoys a private access from the saloon. Its decoration is undeniably a success. And the appreciated headroom of 2.10m should satisfy the American clients. The king size bed is facing the plating and its two large portholes, perfect to enjoy the view at anchor. Even better, when anchoring facing East, open the balcony to greet the morning sun. On this small terrace overlooking the sea and fitted with a ladder, swimming is definitely on the menu. The master wins unanimous support. The port VIP also features many assets considering her comfort level and volume. This Lagoon offers three different layouts : either with three, four or five cabins, all en-suite. Let’s add to these two other configurations with the kitchen either located on the main deck or belowdeck, aft or forward the portside hull. Note that our test model had only one crew cabin with two bunkbeds and an independent bathroom.
There are three of them, including the stern and its cockpit protected by the flybridge. A catamaran can boast about this space, usually quite pleasant. The Seventy 8 is no exception with its aft sofa at the transom level and a starboard lounge for 6 to 8 persons. Facing it, a sofa acts as a chaise longue. The stern serves as a relaxation area thanks to the large space created by both transoms and a central submersible hydraulic platform, to launch the tender. Note that this catamaran has no garage… Next stop : the foredeck. And what a pleasant surprise there ! Not only did we discover a saloon below, which will be appreciated at anchor or in port, but also the surface between the hulls, where is usually fitted a trampoline, that has become an immense terrace, thanks to a polyester moulding embellished with a teak floor. Sunbeds are an invitation to idleness ! Just as the 35m2 flybridge, topped with a sunroof. There, we can either opt for some sunbathing on deckchairs or for a meal thanks to the kitchenette and grill nearby. Here, the wheelhouse is slightly more massive than inside.
How not to be ecstatic about her ? The Lagoon accumulates good reviews. With her 350 m2 of living areas (indoors and outdoors), her high level of comfort, her many layouts, her numerous storages plus her offshore range, she is well on track for a successful career, in Europe and worldwide.
Text : Alain Brousse – Photos : Nicolas Claris
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