Lagoon 55 links to the ‘Big Four’
Yacht Style attended the Lagoon 55 preview at Groupe Beneteau’s CNB shipyard in Bordeaux, where the brand’s third-biggest sailing cat cruised along the Garonne river before showing off her feature-packed outdoor zones and colourful, detailed interior. By Geoffroy Langlade.
The Lagoon 55 on the Garonne; Photos: Nicolas Claris / Lagoon
After a restricted year with few boat shows and sea trials, we were excited to be invited to the CNB shipyard in Bordeaux to see the first hull of the Lagoon 55, which is set to cause quite a stir this year as further units are unveiled and are distributed around the world.
The 55 is Lagoon’s third-biggest sailing model and follows last year’s release of the Sixty 5, which completed the brand’s new ‘big four’. This lofty quartet began with the Seventy 7 in 2016 and includes the Seventy 8 and Sixty 7 powercats released in 2017 and 2019 respectively.
The 55 project began two years ago, revealed Thomas Gailly, Lagoon’s Brand Director, who says it’s targeted at owners of models from 45ft upwards who aren’t quite ready to make the leap to the Sixty 5 or Seventy 7 but want to enjoy the upgrade in space and finishing that the ‘big four’ have added to the brand.
The Lagoon 55 sits below the Sixty 5 and Seventy 7 sailing cats
“We will be carrying out technical tests and sea trials before a world tour, which will start this summer,” says Gailly, a regular visitor to Asia, at least before Covid. “In this context of the pandemic, we’ll continue all the local initiatives of Lagoon around the world, including in the Asia-Pacific, which remains one of our key markets.”
The 55 also holds special significance for the brand as it’s the same name as the first-ever Lagoon catamaran, launched in 1987 when the brand was an offshoot of Jeanneau. Since then, with Groupe Beneteau buying Jeanneau and its other brands in 1996, Lagoon has built an astonishing 6,000 units, having established itself as the world leader in cruising catamarans.
LINK TO THE ‘BIG FOUR’
Today’s 55 not only provides a link to the new ‘big four’ but also provides a significant upgrade from the Lagoon 52, which will be phased out of production after a hugely successful run since its own launch in 2012.
The Lagoon 55 has a 9ft 6in beam, almost 6ft wider than the Lagoon 52
And this is no superficial upgrade. At 54ft 4in in length, the 55 is over 2ft longer than the model it’s succeeding but remarkably, its 29ft 6in beam makes it almost 6ft or 25 per cent wider. Furthermore, the 55 has a fully developed flybridge, which when combined with a significantly bigger rig and the overall increase in volume, means it’s over 23 per cent heavier than the 52.
As well as naval architecture by the world-famous VPLP design team founded by Marc Van Peteghem and Vincent Lauriot-Prévost, the 55 features an exterior design by Patrick Le Quément and an interior by Italy’s Nauta Design, which has been handling the brand’s interiors for over a decade.
Le Quément’s handiwork is the first we see when approaching the model, which is tied up on the Garonne river that flows in front of the CNB shipyard.
Features include a sliding window, adjustable foredeck table and forward sunpads on the flybridge
“The Lagoon 55 reveals a carefully created exterior design. All around, the deck bulwark lends the boat an elegant and refined profile, plus a protected promenade around the deck,” says Le Quément, who spent most of his career as a renowned car designer for the likes of Ford and Renault.
“The exterior design of the coachroof participates in the overall flowing appearance. Its integrated handrail contributes to slimming down the overall impression of height in the coachroof, as well as featuring the now identifiable Lagoon graphic signature – a roof in perceived levitation.”
STAIRWAYS TO HEAVEN
Like the ‘big four’, the 55 is distinguished by its wide circulation spaces on board. However, as well as the full flybridge, the model’s most distinguishing feature is arguably its redesign of the aft cockpit into what Lagoon calls “an open terrace on the sea”, inspired by motor yachts.
The “open terrace on the sea” has aft-facing seating and transoms cleared to become waterside hangouts
The steps from the two transoms have been moved inwards to free up space for sitting or lying by the water, or even cooking at the optional plancha to port side. Other options include a retractable bench seat to starboard.
Martina Torrini, Lagoon’s Product Manager, says: “The revolutionary and innovative character of the 55 begins with the access on board via the new steps, which allow the aft skirts or transoms to be completely cleared. These are no longer just passage areas but living areas, allowing us to offer new options on a sailing catamaran, such as an outdoor galley or retractable cushions.”
The extra-large covered cockpit covers 270sqft and includes a large dining area opposite a wet bar, aft-facing sofas on each side and a raised daybed to starboard.
The cockpit provides a covered dining and lounging area
“With the Lagoon 55, we have completely rethought the catamaran with a real terrace on the sea,” says Gailly, who has worked for Groupe Beneteau since 2004. “With this crisis, customers feel a need to escape, they feel a need to go far away, to sail and to spend time on board.”
COVERING THE OUTDOORS
The foredeck or bow terrace is nicely integrated into the architecture of the catamaran and offers a comfortable C-shaped sofa, with both sides big enough to double as sunbeds.
The built-in foredeck sunshade is raised into place to provide elegant shelter
Winning new features are the foldable table and more notably the foldable sunshade, a mini bimini that makes for an elegant and cosy sheltered area once erected. Unlike some of its competitors, such as Leopard and Bali, Lagoon doesn’t have a forward door connecting the saloon and foredeck, but has a large opening window connecting the two areas.
Lagoon has greatly increased the scale of the flybridge, which is accessed from portside, although additional steps on starboard side are an option.
The helm station is starboard, fully equipped with electronics, practical storage and cup-holders. All winches are well located next to the mast and the helm, while due to the Harken FlatWinder, all manoeuvres come back to the helm and make it easier to handle the boat alone.
The flybridge has a folding table and L-shaped seating to port, wet bar and helm to starboard, full-width sunbathing area aft and double sunpad forward
Compared to the 52, where the lounging areas featured sunpads on the coachroof, the 55 has a full flybridge, with an L-shaped sofa, foldable dining table and a full-width sunbathing area aft. There’s also a wet bar to starboard, aft of the helm bench seat. As if that wasn’t enough, a large sunbathing area for three or more people has been fitted forward on the coachroof.
The welcoming interior on the main deck offers almost 300sqft of space. The version presented featured a fully-equipped L-shaped galley and bar area to starboard, navigation station to port and a comfortable saloon dominated by a large C-shaped sofa forward of the mast. The coffee table can be raised and folded out for dining.
The interior by Italy’s Nauta Design includes a flexible saloon table
The cockpit doors and the forward opening window create ventilation and through breeze, while overhead windows have been added to bring in even more natural light and increase the visual connection to the outdoors.
What’s most noticeable is that the detailing and finish reflect the upgraded interiors seen on the ‘big four’ and there are some elegant design touches like the built-in bookcase behind the sofa and below the window line, which adds a homely feel.
The large starboard galley with stylish bar
Accommodation options include a four-cabin version, all with en-suite bathrooms and double beds facing the hull windows, with the owner’s suite situated aft starboard. The cabins feature some of the finest detailing on the yacht and provide genuinely comfortable rooms to relax in, day or night.
The five-cabin version replaces the owner’s suite with two cabins, with the aft starboard cabin accessed from the cockpit. The six-cabin version offers the same such layout in both hulls, requiring a slight reconfiguration of the saloon to feature forward stairways on each side. Customised layouts are also possible.
The master suite (above) is aft starboard in the four-cabin version; the aft port cabin (below)
The Lagoon 55 was initially scheduled to be unveiled at the International Multihull Show at La Grande Motte starting at the end of April, so with the event’s cancellation, this private premiere was a major step in showcasing the brand’s newest gem.
In the first chapter of our ‘Kings of Cats’ cover story in Issue 59, Yacht Style profiles market leader Lagoon, which recently passed the 6,000 mark for cruising catamarans.