We interview Carla and Simon who have extensively sailed over 25,000 miles on their Lagoon 400. They have a popular YouTube channel called Sailing Ocean Fox and also a website with the same name. Also on Facebook at Sailing Ocean Fox and Instagram.
They were even featured by the NY Times for an article this summer titled The Seas as the Ultimate Coronavirus Isolation? Not. So. Fast.
Please follow them and enjoy their adventures. Read below for their review of their 2013 Lagoon 400 Mark I. A big thank you to them for participating in our series of owner reviews of catamarans.
Can you tell us about your Lagoon 400 and what you’re doing?
We’ve got a Lagoon 400 Mark I from 2013. She’s an owner’s version, so the starboard side is entirely the owner’s cabin and head.
On the port side, we’ve got two cabins and a single head. Some of them come with two heads on one side or a single head, but we’ve got the one with the single head which is a larger head.
We’re currently in Portugal in The Algarve having sailed 25,000 miles from Croatia over degrees across the Mediterranean and the Atlantic and as far out as Panama and Mexico before we made our way back earlier this year.
Southern Portugal is a beautiful place to be!
Yes it is actually at the moment with all the pandemic things. It’s pretty good here.
Why did you choose the Lagoon 400?
Carla: Well we went to various boat shows before we bought this boat to choose which boat we would like to have which brand. From the beginning we decided that we wanted a Lagoon.
Simon: We just felt that they were sturdy enough for what we needed. We felt that the resale value would be good on them and we’d rather like the design over some of the others.
We didn’t actually go out to buy a Lagoon 400. We were in the process of buying a Lagoon 440 in Italy and having paid the deposit the sale fell through because the guy that was selling it decided he didn’t want to sell it and having sold our house and only having a week to move out we were actually in a bit of a panic session trying to find ourselves a boat.
We made a few offers on some other ones and then all of a sudden this one came on the market. We kind of looked at it and went well it’s not as big as the 440 but it’s ticking an awful lot of boxes.
Carla was still working, so I got sent down to Croatia to have a look and her last words were:
Don’t come home unless you’ve bought it!Carla to Simon about the Lagoon 400
I bought it there and then. Two weeks later we were sitting first time on the boat.
What is the best thing about your Lagoon 400?
Carla: I really like the fact that it is owner’s version because it gives us a lot of space open space just for ourselves. If we have visits, we can shut the door, and we have the whole place for ourselves.
Simon: For me I trust this boat enormously. Actually we’ve been out in winds up to 50 knots and the most we’ve ever been in was 63 knots on our way down to the canary islands. It was from behind us but we got really hit by a hurricane down there.
And we’ve seen seas which are higher than the boat absolutely no question about that and even higher and the boat was always looked after us. We’ve been banged around; we’ve been shoved around; we’ve healed over and all sorts of things. And the boat really has looked after us.
I actually think this boat is very well made very strong and I have no issue with it at all about going across an ocean not whatsoever.
Is she easy to handle in heavy weather and big seas?
I wouldn’t exactly say so. I hate the mainsail. We’ve got a squared top main sail and the damn thing’s just so big and so powerful. We are always reefing before time.
We’ve only got two sails a main and genoa. We’ve got three reefs for the main and furler for the genoa and we’ve got a code zero.
I wouldn’t have said it’s easy. I’ve never sailed a catamaran before. I’ve had four monohulls before but as long as it’s off the wind it will go like a train no question about that.
To windward you might as well stick the engine on.
She does not go to windward very well?
After 25 000 miles I still can’t get it to point higher than 55 degrees.
If it’s anything but calm then it you just struggle and you slide off it and you’re gone. We actually missed the north coast of Cuba one night because we just couldn’t go to windward anymore.
The wind was up around 40 odd knots and we were just heading south instead of a little bit more north and we actually missed the north coast and we did another eight hundred miles – not good – going south from under Cuba.
So it can be a bit of a disadvantage that one.
We did the whole of the south coast of Cuba, we did the islands off the south coast, and we went to Havana as well. Our best run was from Caymans to an island called Isla de Mujeres off uh Cancun and 188 nautical miles in 24 hours.
Great it’s not bad you’ve cruised around the Caribbean and was able to visit Cuba. I personally am a little bit jealous about that!
What is she like at anchor?
She’s absolutely fine. We went to the Bahamas. We did the whole Bahamas and it’s very shallow. and it was good. It was a good boat to do that because we could go further.
We only draw 1.3 meters or four feet, and it really does mean you can get in quite a long way. We’ve got 100 meters of chain. We normally stick out around about 30 to 50 meters depending on the depth of water or the wind and when she’s actually on anchor even if it’s blowing 30 knots she’s absolutely fine.
We were in Aruba for seven weeks with anchor basically in the same spot from a few times and it was blowing 30 to 35 knots the whole time out there and you don’t know it. Absolutely never had a problem.
The only time it gets a bit weird is when you’re trying to lay the anchor chain out and it’s gusty and the boat turns sideways. I don’t know why it does that, but instead of just going back it always wants to go sideways.
You’ve got to kind of like use the two engines to to get the steering rack. But apart from that it’s absolutely brilliant. We spend most of our life at anchor.
It’s a nice place to be. So how long have you had the boat?
It’ll be three years.
Have you had an opportunity to customize or do any upgrades of of any sort?
We did some upgrades.
The standard cooktop from Lagoon and the oven are terrible. That’s one of the few things I have to say about the Lagoon is just horrendous, so we had to put a new one. So we put a stovetop a standard European Bosch three burner which is absolutely fantastic.
And you don’t need fiddles or or gimbals or anything like that. Even in the rough weather, the kettle has never fallen off. And if it’s too rough you’re not gonna cook anyway.
We added a wind turbine. We’re quite heavy users of electricity actually and we added a wind turbine which has really been quite successful. I get a lot of people criticizing wind turbines but if you’ve actually had one you seek out windier anchorages and they pull the electricity in 24 hours a day.
We put a new inverter in. We had a two kilowatt inverter. We put a three kilowatts in.
We put the second plotter inside because we only had the one outside so we put another one in so we could stay just inside on a night watch. We wouldn’t go outside unless we had to change any of the sails and then we’d have two of us up but otherwise one of us would be a watch from inside. You’ve got the plot of the AIS all that sort of business going on and you’ve got very good visibility almost 360 degrees.
We upgraded the VHF radio so we had a handheld upstairs because the point when you kind of need your radios normally when you’re going into a port and if you’ve got the radio downstairs you’re not using the best radio that you’ve got so we put one of those in.
We put a freezer in. We had two fridges and a small freezer in one of the fridges so we upgraded it.
We put a water maker in. We didn’t have a water maker. Actually pretty big electricity usage. We’ve got we’ve only got a standard 515 watts of solar which is a factory fitting. We could really do with some more. When you’re in the tropics it’s absolutely fine. We can live off it with the wind generator as well. There’s no problem at all.
(Sphinx cat jumps into Simon’s lap)
This is Dobby by the way, the a naked sailor cat.
Wow has he been with you the whole three years?
Carla: No he came from the Canaries the day before we set off on the Atlantic. He’s a real sailor cat.
Simon: We also changed the RIIB. We had quite a big heavy RIB when we bought the boat. We bought a lightweight one with a 10 horsepower engine which actually goes very well
There has been quite a few smaller things along the way I think that we’ve probably done to the boat.
You said that you’ve actually crossed the Atlantic twice. One way with crew; one way back without crew. So how is the Lagoon 400 like to shorthand sail?
Coming back was absolutely fine but we found it easier not having crew. It’s just both of us so we don’t have to worry about food for everyone.
We don’t go out at night. We stay in. We’ve got a lot of downstairs. AIS downstairs. We can have the radar. We’ve got good visibility.
It’s very tiring because always one of us is always on watch, but we do two x three hour shifts at night starting at seven o’clock. We did seven till ten and then we’re taking turns from there but personally we would prefer to do it just the two of us.
Because you’ve got the extra responsibility of the crew, you’ve got extra the feeding. You’ve got all the extra cooking and even though this boat does sleep six having four of us on it for five weeks actually we found quite sort of – not claustrophobic – but there was always people around.
There’s a kind of area where you go through the door to the cockpit and it’s the main thoroughfare in and out and that area is a bit small. When you’ve got a lot of people, you kind of start turning around and struggling getting around each other and that sort of thing but having said that it’s easier when there’s a couple on board or family on board.
Certainly for the two of us, it’s absolutely perfect. I actually would say this is a perfect boat for a couple. Yeah for us!
Now we would want to have a bigger galley because i cook a lot so we eat all the meals on the boat so i would like to have a bigger space in the galley. That’s really our main reason for having a new bigger boat.
Tell us what exactly are you looking for and when you are looking to upgrade your Lagoon 400?
If we were going to buy another cat, it would be a Lagoon 450 Sport version which would be one with a mezzanine floor as opposed to the fly bridge because when you’re short-handed it’s really good to have a mezzanine floor for the helm station as opposed to being upstairs on the roof because most of the time then the two of you are visible even if it’s only a certain legs dangling down in the chair upstair.
But this boat will certainly get you across the Atlantic and around the world and I wouldn’t have any any issues with that at all. We’ve done 25,000 miles and that is equivalent to going around the world at the equator.
What are your future plans with the new boat if you get it?
Ideally we would like to go up to the Black Sea through Istanbul and then next winter we’d like to go through the Suez Canal down to the Red Sea and do the Egyptian coast but now we have Covid to worry about so we don’t know. It’s really difficult to make plans.
Well great. Thank you so much for all the information and it sounds like a great adventure you’ve had with your Lagoon 400. If people are interested in following you how can they follow you?
They can follow us on YouTube, Instagram, and on Facebook at Sailing Ocean Fox. You can see all about the boat there. All the maintenance we’ve done, the upgrades, and there’s a boat tour as well.
Great well thank you so much. Enjoy Southern Portugal!
Thank you very much for having us.