Power 43 — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— February 2002
Taking a New Tack
|A French sailboat builder trades wind for horsepower with its flagship power catamaran.|
I remember watching a tacking duel during an America's Cup a few years back. The two boats battled back and forth trying to gain that extra bit of wind and squeezing every bit of speed out of their boats. Now, I am a powerboat guy at heart, but the maneuvering of those two sailboats was impressive to watch. In the end, the timing and execution of the tacks were everything.
True to its sailboat heritage, Lagoon (a division of the sailboat manufacturer Beneteau) has recently made a strategic tack to gain ground in the power catamaran market. The company's flagship is the Power 43, a dark-blue-hulled 43-foot catamaran with an enormous 21-foot beam. I had the opportunity to test hull #3, which happens to be owned by sailing legend Ted Hood. It was 70°F, sunny, and a day before the annual powerboat show in Annapolis, Maryland, when I arrived at Horn Point Harbor marina.
I released her lines from the cleats on the spacious foredeck--with large U-shape seating on centerline and stowage areas I could climb into and crawl around in--and worked my way back along the stainless steel stanchion-encompassed, 22-inch-wide side decks, then up the molded, teak-covered steps on the starboard side to the open but compact flying bridge. Lagoon America's director Bruce Wagner ably piloted the 43 from her tight berth.
Wagner sat at the centerline pod as I looked over the easy-to-understand helm layout, with small Teleflex single-lever controls and hydraulic steering. The station is straightforward, housing a Raymarine autopilot and ST60 Tridata, Shipmate VHF, and compass. You could add a small GPS or depthsounder, but not much more, as the console is small. (The lower helm station offers more in the way of electronics, by the way, with a Raymarine RC425 chartplotter, Raystar 120 GPS, and Furuno radar display). Seating around the flying-bridge helm, a nice place to enjoy a cruise, could comfortably accommodate another four people. Sight lines are excellent.
With my radar gun at the ready, it was time to see if this was a quick cat. The optional twin 250-hp Yanmar diesels pushed the shallow-draft (3'11") 43-footer with ease to a respectable 25.1 mph top end at 3800 rpm. (Standard power is two 150-hp Yanmars, with twin Yanmars up to 300 hp apiece and twin Volvo Pentas up to 285 hp a piece being options.) This kind of performance made me wonder how many knots she'd have left in her with the 300s. The twin hulls are narrow and so not conducive to large engines as space is limited, but fortunately the 300s are nearly identical in size to the 250s. And in any event, the 43 was gentle on fuel.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.