Lagoon has created a flagship for far away places and a luxurious party boat in one go with the launch of the Seventy 7.
Large catamarans have several attractions for the buyer considering them – such as stability, space and fuel efficiency. So, combining all this with a powerful sail plan as Lagoon has done on its new flagship Seventy 7 creates a compelling combination. Along with power cat sistership the Seventy 8 – that incidentally is coming to Australia this summer via distributor The Multihull Group – these vessels offer near superyacht comfort.
The downside is manoeuvring something the size of a tennis court in the confines of places like Aberdeen Harbour, as your correspondent experienced during the sea trial of hull number one in Hong Kong. Sailing the Seventy 7 felt a major step-up for me, compared with the Lagoon 620, and indeed the statistics back this up; 27 tons for the 620 and a whopping 56.8 tons for the new Seventy 7. So, one of the questions that I asked myself before climbing aboard was: is this simply a larger Lagoon or is it a major change, befitting a grand flagship?
Stylistically, it is major change as the blunt trademark lagoon profile has been softened by regular design collaborators VPLP. The hulls are more curved, the deckhouse and enormous flybridge more rounded, while inside there’s a distinctive superyacht feel thanks to Italian designers Nauta. However, given Lagoon’s experience of building 4,000 boats it was unlikely to reinvent the proverbial wheel when it already is the world’s best selling catamaran brand. So as I made way across its wide decks and entered the saloon I recognised the Lagoon signature features such as vertical bulkheads to maximise volume and the wide hulls are ideal for load bearing when all the cruising accoutrements are added. Up to 12 berths can be found within these hulls, in three to five cabins and the owner’s suite has the much talked about ‘private beach’ – a large hydraulic door in the topsides on the starboard side. Accommodation also includes a dedicated crew area and the galley can be either in the front or aft in the portside hull. With the front galley layout there is a further 25m2 custom space available for a workshop or office.
OWNER AND CREW SALOON
The saloon is the centre of the ship with companionways to the starboard owner’s suite, the aft guest suite and the two cabins portside. On hull one the layout had the galley aft, adjoining the crew cabin bunks, which allowed three double cabins on the Seventy 7 to be dedicated to the owner and guests. Thanks to access from the aft cockpit the galley and crew quarters are ideally placed for maximising privacy in the saloon. This demarcation also works in the saloon itself, thanks to the main lounge adjoining the owner’s starboard bow suite, giving direct access to the foredeck cockpit. The working part of the saloon is all to port, with navigation station on the forward quarter and dinette behind, within easy reach of the galley for serving.
A slight downside is the lack of support, something required in a rough seaway because this is Category A yacht, so an ocean going vessel. The spacious navigation station is ideal for those long sea crossings where all that’s required is a tweak of the autopilot or a change in engine revs.
The desk space is sufficiently large for paper charts; something all diligent mariners should have and keep position fixes on. Given the complexity of systems aboard – 12V, 24V, digital CAN Bus and multiple generators – it’s a good idea to have the main switch panel on the companionway within reach of both the skipper and the crew quarters below.
Other key controls on the panel include bilge pumps and the water maker. In terms of interior design, the muted beige tones contrasted nicely with the Alpi veneered finish. My only complaint was the slipperiness of the Alpi Wenge flooring when it became damp.
The galley and crew quarters allow several people to prepare food simultaneously and there's companionway access to the saloon and the aft deck. Image Lagoon
The galley uses the hull volume well to have a longitudinal work area with upright 396l fridge and stylish Miele coffee machine aft. The Corian top surrounded a 240AC four hob induction cooker with oven beneath, while deep double sinks take care of the dishes. All that’s lacking are some fiddles to prevent everything landing on the floor. Ample cupboards and locker space in the cavernous hulls ensure plenty storage is available for those ocean voyages and good natural ventilation comes from the skylights which are flush on the teak deck.
The layout is reminiscent of sister company CNB’s monohull 76 which I also found to be a practical layout. Elsewhere, the crew dinette bench comes with a B&G navigation screen so ideal for keeping an eye on course and speed while dining. Moving forward brings you to the crew berths where 2.0m long bunks should fit most and a large outboard bench also houses the Miele washer/dryer. There’s an ensuite bathroom with electric head and enough space for two crew to share. A corridor separates this area from the forward guest cabin which has queen sized bed running athwartships with ensuite at the bow. The separate head allows both ablution areas to be used simultaneously. Ample natural light comes from the rectangular hull window and skylight; and the large volume should ward off any claustrophobic feelings. Storage throughout is plentiful and one locker has the pop-up television. Other comforts include the ducted air conditioning – powered by two 13.5 KVA Onan generators.
The owner’s suite uses more than half of the starboard hull and has its own dedicated entrance with sliding door. But the stand-out feature is the hull door swim platform that transforms the suite into an inside/outside area. Opening well above the water level – to avoid both leaking and wave motion when open – the roughly 2.0m square Teak clad platform has a swim ladder. This is an option that should prove popular, but for those not so keen on la mer ensuite, the alternative is to have an elongated bench inside. I confess to not checking if there was a manual over-ride to the hydraulic operation but would imagine there would be. Opposite the hull door is the king sized bed, allowing the owner to gaze out to sea, thanks to the athwartships positioning; and again natural light is abundant from the skylight (with Oceanair blinds) and the rectangular hull window. Cleverly, the window on the hull door-swim platform lightens the interior while also being your viewfinder to undersea when the door is open. Up forward is a walk-in closet with myriad drawers and cupboards while the aft of the cabin is dedicated to lounging and the ensuite. It has a ‘his and hers’ bathroom, so there’s double sinks and double sized shower cubicle.
The port guest cabin includes a vanity desk and has the ensuite at the bow, so ideal for privacy. Image Lagoon
Leaving the seclusion of the owner’s suite, you walk back through the main saloon to the companionway then down into the adjoining guest cabin in starboard quarter of the Seventy 7. At 15sqm guests are by no means slumming it here either and enjoy an 1.6m wide island bed against the aft bulkhead while the ensuite is forward (so against the bulkhead with the owner’s ensuite which gives sound proofing to both cabins). Similarly, its well appointed with natural light and cupboards but under power it would mean sleeping near the engines. The upside is while under sail it would be the best berth on the Seventy 7. Noticeable throughout the interior of the Seventy 7 was the high standard of joinery, use of quality metal fittings and a close attention to detail which would befit a custom yacht.
FLYBRIDGE FOR NAVIGATION AND RELAXATION
A crew of only two can operate the Lagoon Seventy 7, as we discovered during our sea trial in Hong Kong. Image Kevin Green
Climbing the teak stairs to the flybridge reveals a vast area that can have various configurations. There can be open space (with moveable furniture), an integrated sunpad that spans the entire aft beam, or a starboard side settee and two sunpads separated by an optional hot tub. Cocktails can be served from a wet bar and there’s a separate grill bar option as well; so no need to miss the sunset by continually going below.
The only real reminder that this is actually a capable sailing yacht is seen here, in the form of the five Harken winches that sit between the twin binnacles. Both binnacles are well equipped – with joystick for bow tunnel thruster and electronic power controls on both consoles. The black consoles are complemented by matching black carbon steering wheels from Carbonautica. Instrumentation is by B&G with a large screen plus autopilot read-out. The professional crew are well catered for as all sail controls are powered, including the mainsheet traveller and the five Harken 80’s. The other key practicality for a cruising boat is anchoring, and it is adequately equipped with a Quick 3,500W 24V electric windlass and capstan plus there’s a second bow roller. In addition our review boat came with capstans on both aft quarters which proved ideal for pulling in the 56 ton hull when berthing.
The aft cockpit adjoins the galley in the port hull so ideal for crew serving food. Image Lagoon
Deck space the size of a tennis court gives the Seventy 7 wide appeal, and not just to the Roger Federers of this world. Large families and charter parties can find nooks and crannies to enjoy some privacy; such as the foredeck sunken cockpit or the hydraulic swim platform on the transom. In between there’s the vast flybridge lounge and for alfresco dining the sheltered aft cockpit can seat a Davis Cup team. Here, they can also be fed easily as the galley has a dedicated hatch up to the aft cockpit. The forward cockpit is conveniently directly accessible from the deck and the saloon; with a substantial three-way lockable bulkhead door ensuring seaworthiness.
Moving a 56 ton boat in light Asian airs is no mean feat so wisely the Filipino owner of our review boat specified an extensive sail plan that included a Code 0 flying off the fibreglass bowsprit and a staysail; in addition to the standard genoa. The upwind sails came with hydraulic Harken furlers for easy handling and the mainsail used traditional slab reefing. The main spar was an alloy Sparcraft while the boom was carbon and of the Park Lane variety, so ideal for gathering the flaked mainsail; made my Incidences. Standing rigging was kevlar to reduce weight aloft and strongly held by large chain plates on the topsides. All sails were non-stretch spectra; so in total a comprehensive and effective sailing rig for most conditions. The only item lacking was a small ladder to reach the boom on the flybridge roof; instead of having crew (or spritely owners!) shimmy up the mast steps.
The Seventy 7 uses an ETA digital CAN bus system allowing software control and error checking of all components but a standard copper wire system is also in place, so there’s built-in redundancy. The engine rooms in each hull were similarly laid out with stainless footplates on top of each and filters and electrics high up above the bilges. Both came with Onan generators but their positioning was not the best – at the extreme aft end of the hull – thus promoting hobby-horsing in a blow. Elsewhere hull storage abounded, including lockers in the nacelle and fender storage in the bows and behind the trampolines.
Construction is infused fibreglass with balsa core topsides and solid around the keels – something I saw for myself when watching hull number two being built in the CNB-Lagoon yard in Bordeaux. Here, a new dedicated production facility has been built just for this flagship and its sistership, the power catamaran Seventy 8. Given the success of the earlier 620 model which sold an impressive 75 (with several in Australia and even more in Asia), Lagoon clearly has tooled up for big numbers with the Seventy 7 as well. Initial projections are for eight hulls annually with each taking about 10 months and order books are full until 2021.
The vast swim platform sinks, so can even launch this mini sea plane. Image Lagoon
SAILING IN THE SOUTH CHINA SEA
Taking the helm, my view from the flybridge of the Seventy 7 was panoramic, thanks to the unobtrusive struts holding the hardtop bimini, so this gave me confidence to push the throttles down and head out into South China Sea. Nearby, a procession of container ships and cargo vessels were steaming east, so we joined them at a safe distance. Under power the 227hp Nanni-John Deere (using V-shafts with three bladed Brunton folding propellers) engines reached a maximum top speed of 11kts at 2,600rpm while burning a total of 100l. Throttling back to a cruising speed at 9.3kts used a frugal 36l at 1,800 revs; giving a 700 mile range. The standard boat is fitted with twin Volvo D4-180 common rail diesel engines with shaft drives.
With a steady breeze blowing, it was time to make sail. Hoisting the mainsail required a crew member to climb the mast then walk along the Park Lane boom to unzip the bag before we hoisted it using the 24V Harken 80 winch. The light breeze merited the unfurling of the Code 0 as I turned the Seventy 7 off the wind. In 11kts of wind we managed 7.3kts boat speed at an apparent wind angle of 90° with the Code 0 and mainsail, which was impressive numbers for this gentle giant of a cruiser. To check the upwind capabilities I had the Code 0 furled before deploying the black genoa which allowed us to climb to 60° on the wind, producing 6.1kts boat speed. Feedback was limited from the hydraulic steering but the large diameter carbon steering wheels felt pleasant to the touch and spun easily as I went through some tacks. Overhead the skylights allowed clear views of the mainsail, when checking the battens after each tack, so the ergonomics felt as good as the excellent 620 model. With our voyage ending it was time to furl the sails and manoeuvre alongside the dock at Middle Island; something easily done with the use of the bow thruster and outboard propellers which brought this gentle giant of a boat to rest.