Power 43 — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca — February 2002
Taking a New Tack
|Part 2: Lagoon Power 43 continued|
In fact, when I looked at the readings from my fuel-flow gear, I shook my head. I checked the gear to make sure everything was working, and the numbers were right on. The 43 is the nautical equivalent of a camel. At cruise speed (18.3 mph at 3000 rpm), she was burning 13 gph (1.40 mpg/1.22 nmpg), which translates into a 453-NM range with her 412-gallon fuel capacity (four 103-gallon tanks). Clearly long-range cruising is not a problem. Even at wide-open throttle (3800 rpm and 25.1 mph), she burned just 29.8 gph (0.84 mpg/0.73 nmpg), offering a 271-NM range.
The 43's fuel efficiency can be traced to her lightweight, displacement-hull design from Phillipe Subrero. She has a sharp entry, and the fact that her two hulls have twice the waterline length of a conventional monohull means she has reduced hydrodynamic resistance. Air passing between the sponsons adds a bit of lift for further efficiency.
The hulls are built with solid glass below the waterline and balsa core above. To ensure their integrity, Lagoon uses a countermold, which is a secondary solid fiberglass liner bonded to each hull interior from the first bulkhead aft to the shaft exit and integral with the engine beds. Wagner says this increases overall hull stiffness.
I was impressed with the 43's maneuverability and responsiveness to her hydraulic steering, even though her double-hull width seems like a lot to handle at first glance. Obviously, with her twin hulls broad turns are the norm, but the four-blade bronze wheels that are nearly 17 feet apart also allow her to spin in her own length, which makes for a nice shortcut.
The 43 certainly felt like a powerboat, so it was time to see if she maintained that feel below decks. Down the steps from the helm I took note of the alfresco dining arrangement under the flying-bridge overhang. The L-shape seating and table here are just a towel toss away from the aft sunpad, which Wagner says can also be used as a dinghy platform. Just forward through a sliding door, the saloon boasts a dinette on centerline with the helm station to starboard, keeping the helmsman and guests in close proximity. Although you might think the saloon would be enormous on a boat like this, it's rather cozy, as the aft master takes up the stern area and the companionways in the twin hulls tighten up available floor space to port and starboard. The faux wood sole here is actually a hard, durable synthetic called Streamfloor. It looks nice enough, but I prefer teak and holly. The adequately appointed galley, with four-burner Eno stovetop and icebox that can be converted to a `fridge with cold plates, is conveniently located down to starboard and slightly aft of the helm.
Investigating the guest cabins forward, each with double berth and head, I noticed something peculiar: There were two Lewmar hatches several inches above the waterline large enough to put my 5'7" frame through. According to Wagner, French law mandates that all catamarans--sail and power--have these means of egress for emergencies. He added that these hatches have been used in sailboats for years without fail. I appreciate the need to adhere to the law, and in the unlikely event that the 43 turns turtle, they would be the best way to escape. But my preference is a hull without hatches--or any large openings, for that matter--so near the waterline.
One place where escape is the order of the day is the nearly full-beam aft master below decks. There are companionways to port and starboard just steps away from the helm area and deck, respectively. In addition, the room is surrounded by windows. The master offers a spacious double berth on a raised platform, which is quite comfortable, too. (I had to try it.) The head flanks the berth, with the MSD to port and shower to starboard. In the hulls there's 6'3" headroom, but working my way across the room required me to duck down a bit, as the raised platform for the berth cuts down on the headroom. The area under the steps on the starboard side leading to the saloon/galley area is dedicated to stowage, which is already plentiful; an optional genset could be located here in a soundshield box. Despite its proximity to the master, it is said to be relatively quiet, but also loud enough to hear. The genset could also be mounted forward in one of the lockers. Everywhere I turned there was latch to some sort of closet--in companionways, the cabins, above decks. If you can't find room for your stuff on this boat, you have too much stuff.
The day was getting late, and it was time to see the 43 off to her show. I got a chance to board her there the next day, and she was busy with potential buyers, a cross section of old and young, sailboaters and powerboaters, all looking for a new vessel to cruise. They were opening hatches, looking in staterooms, asking questions, much like I'd been doing just a day earlier. Judging by the dozens of people I watched invade the 43 that day, I'd say Lagoon tacked at the right time.
Lagoon America Phone: (410) 280-2368. Fax: (410) 280-9401. www.cata-lagoon.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.