Review: Lagoon 620
An innovative in-boom reefing system and super-smart management setup on the Lagoon 620 catamaran are sure to win new fans.
The latest Lagoon 620 is an innovative catamaran. It solves the onerous challenge of sail handling, while also using smart technology to manage all the electrical systems, and all this is packaged in a proven seaworthy hull.
LAGOON 620 CAT
The flagship Lagoon 620 is a proven design for this cat builder, with 72 hulls sailing. Differentiating it in an increasingly competitive big catamaran market was a challenging step to take and that is what the Bordeaux-based builder has attempted with the revamped Lagoon 620.
As the new Australian owner of the 620 told me, it makes this imposing 62-footer much more manageable. Along with a newly designed power system, hull 72 is indeed an innovative flagship from the French yard. As for the rest, the main attraction for this size of cat is space, with up to six cabins plus crew accommodation. Versatility is another reason to look at the Lagoon 620, thanks to different galley layouts, plus the acres of lounging space topsides, especially on the flybridge.
Lagoon 620 hull 72 was newly imported by Vicsail in Sydney. It’s the very first Lagoon 620 to feature a newly developed rig. Apart from that the other attractions of the Lagoon 620 cat are: spacious cockpit for alfresco dining with overhang for weather protection, and above, an equally large flybridge deck.
The flybridge is dominated by the sail controls housed along the front: four large Harken 80 electric winches for sheets and halyards, while behind is ample space for crew to work and then at the back, the two helms. These are ideally placed outboard so both sides of th 32ft-wide hull are visible. The helm modules house B&G wind instruments and both have controls for power and bowthruster, while the 19in B&G Zeus plotter screen swivels on a Scanstrut post between them. Overhead, a canvas bimini gives weather protection, sunworshippers enjoying double sunbeds out front on the flybridge.
CLEVER FURLING MAIN
Handling large fully battened mainsails by creating a reliable in-boom reefing system could be a real game-changer for Lagoon, putting it ahead of competitors such as Sunreef, Privilege and maybe even the upcoming Fountaine Pajot Ipanema 58. But the emphasis has to be on reliability, otherwise it can quickly turn into a liability at sea. So I wasn’t surprised when Lagoon yard boss Yann Masselot told me they had been working on the project for three years, in partnership with Lorima spars and Incidences Sails.
"We have been testing the system on several prototypes and have also tested it with owners who accepted to play the pioneers," said Yann.
They’ve created what looks like a functional in-boom furling system, albeit with some understandable teething problems – such as the head of the big-top mainsail that doesn’t yet furl. In-boom is also my preference, as opposed to in-mast for several reasons: it allows the horizontal battens to maintain the sail shape, and when furled puts all the weight low in the boat. Also, should failure occur, you can usually drop the halyard and sail, unlike in-mast that could leave it half-furled up the mast. Another key point is that cats with fractional rigs generate most power from the mainsail, so maximising sail area is another important consideration.
I pulled myself aloft to closely view the spars on the test boat. These consisted of a "park lane" style fibreglass boom and a standard-looking Lorima alloy mast. Two pipes at the front of the boom are for the hydraulics used to rotate the furler. I’m told another version is being developed; a mechanical type with furling line and drum for boats under 50ft.
Elsewhere on deck, control lines and powered winches are relatively near the mast enhancing the running on this furling system, but more on that later.
On the test boat, Vicsail’s Brendan Hunt showed me around the rest of this interesting rig, consisting of staysail and genoa, both having Wishart electric furlers at the base of each. In addition, the owner has ordered a Code 0 and this flies from a small fibreglass bowsprit.
With all this innovation topside, it would be easy to neglect the Lagoon 620’s cavernous interior, and this for many is the key selling point of the boat. With four to six cabin layouts plus different galley configurations, there is plenty to choose from and means the 620 can be a spacious owner’s vessel, a dedicated charterboat or something in-between. The review cat I think is the latter, originally with six cabins until one was modified.
Another key option on the Lagoon 620 is the choice of the galley up or down, again differentiating it from some competitors. On the Lagoon 620 cooking can be in the saloon – described as a central galley – or down below in the aft port quarter at the lateral galley. The review Lagoon 620 had the central arrangement, the galley running along the port side with island bench housing a fridge as well as acres of Corian worktop space. In addition, the owner has fitted two more fridges (694lt in total) in the port hull along with a 248lt freezer. The fridges along with 240V Miel washing machine and dryer are housed in cabinetry in what was the middle cabin. The Alpi wood and its light colour enhances the natural light teaming from hatches and windows, and contrasting nicely with the cream leather upholstery.
Over to starboard the lounge seating takes most of this side, along with two folding and height-adjustable wooden tables. Centred at the front, the navigator enjoys clear views forward and importantly, behind. Here the nav controls include B&G Broadband 4G Radar and an inbuilt iPod running the E-Plex digital management system allowing simple menu controls for all shipboard functions along with wireless light switches.
The five en suite cabins on our test boat provide plenty of comfortable sleeping space throughout the 620. Direct deck access on both sides gives the aft cabins in each hull particular appeal, and as skipper I’d opt for the port one. The cabins are the same size but the port one’s deck hatch is right beside the flybridge steps, giving quick access when required. Inside this cabin, the island bed runs laterally with views through one-way portlights, while underneath, ducted cool air can flow from the 96,000 BTU 220V system. Forward is the bathroom with separate shower stall, a deep sink and good headroom with ventilation.
Steps either side at the front of the saloon lead to the forward four guest cabins, or three on this hull. The amidships double has limited headroom but you can sit up in bed and there’s ample storage and natural light.
Single-level living makes the teaked aft deck dining area a pleasant space, the optional canvas tent surrounding it creating an all-weather location for eating at the teak table and adjoining benches. A wetbar with icemaker plus sunpad are good features here, as is the overhang that seals it all off nicely. Beyond it at the transom is another sunbed and beneath it are recesses for a liferaft on each side. The hydraulic platform lowers the Ocean Master RIB at the flick of button and is an ideal place to swim from. Another useful hydraulic item is the passerelle portside.
Moving forward, the tall saloon gives good support walking the foredeck to check the anchor setup: a vertical Lewmar windlass with capstan at deck level and deep chain locker beneath, along with three storage lockers. For mooring are large cleats all-round, including amidships, and a hefty bowroller for securing the 32-ton hull.
Professional skipper Mike made manoeuvring the big hull in the marina look easy. Squeezing the portside throttle, along with a few jabs of the thruster joystick to nudge the bow off the pontoon, he spun the hull using fore and aft throttle control to clear the berth. Out on Sydney Harbour, we went to work on the sails, carefully winching the mainsail halyard via a remote control connected to the Harken 80 winch to ensure the batten cars were hoisted at just the right speed; a five-minute job. The mainsail set cleanly under the guidance of experienced rigger Jasen Cowling, with just enough shape to power us up. After that we unfurled the genoa to speed us up.
Taking the helm, I could see clearly all around and easily chatted to the trimming crew ahead of me when it came time to tack. Rolling the genoa in before we slid round, the boat sedately went on her new course as we trimmed right in, moving at a respectable 6.4kts in the 10.1kt breeze.
Clearing the Heads for a run along the coast towards Bondi Beach, we reached at about 70 degrees still managing 5kts-plus in the light conditions. Ideally, we’d have hoisted the yet-to-arrive Code O to power us up but like new owner David sitting beside me a broad smile on his tanned face, I was simply enjoying the ride on the Lagoon 620.
- Innovative in-boom reefing
- Functional flybridge layout
- Versatile interior
- Complex boat for the owner-skipper
- Flimsy strut for plotter in flybridge
LAGOON 620 SPECIFICATIONS
Lagoon 620 price: $2,800,000 (price as tested)
LENGTH 18.9m overall, 18.2m waterline
WEIGHT 32,240kg (light ship)
MAKE/MODEL 2 x Volvo Penta D3-150 saildrives
RATED HP 150 (each)
SAIL AREA 139m² full-batten main; 146m² square-top main; 91m² genoa
SAIL OPTIONS 48m² staysail; 300m² spinnaker; 190m² genoa
See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #464, April / May 2015. Why not subscribe today?
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