The Lagoon 42 is the French yard’s top seller and that is because it hits that sweet spot for many buyers. It’s big enough to live aboard very comfortably while not feeling too big to handle for a couple. This review will cover the main Pros and Cons of this model and some of the options we think you should go for.
First Came the 420..
This VPLP design replaced the 420 and the 421 which were pretty big sellers for Lagoon (170 or so), so it had some pretty big shoes to fill. Read our Lagoon 410 review to get an idea how things have moved on since the 2nd Generation boats.
In common with her other fourth generation sisters (the 40, 46 and so on), the 42 has a curvier look than her predecessors. It’s a design that has evolved from the third generation models like the Lagoon 400 (another top seller) and the 450.
She’s solid and looks like she could handle a big sea. And then you have those trademark vertical windows in the saloon that maximise the living space and help keep the sun out of the saloon. You are not going to be sailing as fast as a C-Cat 48, but that’s not the point of the Lagoon 42. It’s a great sailing/comfort package.
Photos credit: Nicolas Claris, Lagoon.
In common with the other boats in this generation, the mast has been stepped further aft allowing you to fly more sail area forward of the mast. This helps to centralise the weight and reduce pitching, and it makes it easier for a couple or even a solo sailor to manage the mainsail when the wind picks up.
On the 380, Lagoon positioned the rig 37 percent aft. On the 42 it’s 53 percent aft, it´s that big a difference. That’s what helps to minimise the pitching: it’s just over halfway down the boat, centralising the weight of the mast.
This isn’t a light boat though. There is an option to go for a larger square top mainsail which we would recommend to put at the top of your extras list. The Lagoon philosophy is to build catamarans that are easy to use, and that are comfortable and safe. The 42 ticks those boxes and it performs well for its length and weight, even if it’s not a performance catamaran.
- Living space. If you are looking to max out your living space per metre of length, then a Lagoon is always going to score highly and the 42 is no exception with a high beam to length ratio. You’ll notice the difference down below, especially. You can see from the side profile shot how far the coachroof extends forwards. That means a big comfy saloon. The shower in the owner’s version is huge.
- The life raft is held in a dedicated open recess on the transom of the boat and can be easily deployed whatever the orientation of the boat.
- Protected helm. The bulkhead helm is well connected to the cockpit and is well protected with a sturdy dodger. It´s a position that has proved popular with buyers. It is open to the sea though (see cons below).
- Although the boom is higher than some of the 42’s competitors, it is lower than a flybridge cat and pretty easy to access- a good compromise
- All the lines lead to the helm which sits to port on the main bulkhead. This make it an easy boat to sail short handed – the coach roof is just a short hop away.
- There’s a nice big nav station to starboard in the saloon at the end of the sofa.
- Resale. Although Lagoon sell a lot of boats, the demand for them is also high on the second hand market as they are a popular brand. If you look after your 42, she should fetch a decent price later.
- This is a heavy boat, so you will need to put some money in your sail locker to power it. Off the wind, you can call these boats nippy (it’s a catamaran after all), but you won’t be setting any speed records closer to the wind, particular in lighter conditions. Make sure the square top mainsail is at the top of your options list. A code 0 would be nice too.
- Lack of hand-grabs on the coachroof. We’d have liked to have seen hand rails here to improve safety going forward. There is a channel that runs along the coach roof to grab, but if its aesthetics vs safety, we choose safety.
- Visibility from the helm. If you stand on tiptoes, and duck and dive a bit, you can just about see all 4 corners of the boat from the bulkhead main. It is easier for taller people. That helm seat is pretty low, you might want to buy an extra cushion!
- Also, the helm is pretty open to port. On the one hand this makes it easy to nip around, but it feels exposed at sea and would worry me on longer night passages.
- Because of the bulkhead main, there is less room in the aft cockpit than other “open” designs. It is hardly cramped though.
- Ventilation in the saloon. There are no overhead hatches, only 2 forward opening windows.
- With the mast stepped back, you have a pole in the saloon breaking up the space. On the other hand, it’s something to grab onto if the weather turns. You might find yourself doing a bit of impromptu pole dancing if the waves get up.
- The edge of the coach roof can get slippy. Watch your step!
Despite her weight, VPLP have done a great job with the 42 on her sailing characteristics. She accelerates well in gusts and on a beam or a broad reach she is a nice mover.
In a gentle breeze you should be sailing at 5-7 knots and in a Force 4 or moderate breeze 8-9. Downwind with the gennaker up you should log speeds in the low teens.
She Sails Upwind
Upwind, the 42 will not match a monohull or a daggerboard cat, but that’s true for any cruising cat with fixed keels. The bottom line is that she will get you off a lee shore. In a breeze, you are better of pointing at around 60 degrees to true to keep the speed up at around 7 knots in a breeze and maximise your VMG (Velocity Made Good).
You can pinch the 42 closer, say to 50 (35-40 apparent), but the speed will drop off and you will start to slip sideways. Folding props should be the next item on your extras list after the square top mainsail. They should buy you an extra knot.
Get the Big Sails Out When You Can
When the wind dies, you will have your work cut out for you though. In anything under the 10 knots, the 42 is sluggish unless you have more square footage to fly forward of the mast. A gennaker for downwind work and a Code 0 for angles closer to the wind will keep you moving.
If they didn’t make the budget cut, then you can always power up the leeward engine upwind to get you where you need to go quickly. And if they did make the budget cut then it could be time to think of ordering that parasailor for the downwind work 😉
With all the lines coming back to the helm, the 42 is well set up for short handed sailing and she is a forgiving boat.
The self-tacking jib makes things easy, but one thing to note is that with the mast stepped back on these boats, the centre of effort of the mainsail is further aft than on other cats. That will tend to turn the boat into the wind and you need to watch the weather helm and make sure that you balance the sail plan.
The Design Feedback Loop
All in all, with the 42, Lagoon has learnt from previous models and fed that information back into the design process. In that respect, this French builder is unique in that they have so much data. Only Fountaine Pajot and Leopard come close.
The previous model, the Lagoon 420 has a long bridgedeck, and small nets. That means big comfort with all that volume, but the performance suffers. On the Lagoon 42, they brought the bridgedeck ratio (LOA-to-bridgedeck length) down to 1.52-to-1.
As with most of the range, this is where the Lagoon 42 excels – it is now part of the French builder’s DNA to build comfortable boats and that means plenty of interior volume for her length.
A Big Interconnected Space
A three-panel glass door connects the aft cockpit to the saloon which is all on one level. There is a U-shaped galley (handy in waves) with an Eno stove and fridge to port. The sink is only a single unit though- it would have been good to see a double or at least a sink and a half in here.
There’s a top-loading fridge by the stairs to the port hull (it can be tricky to rummage around in the bottom of it while you are perched on the steps).
Navigate from the Sofa
Forward, there´s an L-shaped sofa which ends up at the nav station, with a decent sized chart table and the interior B&G nav instruments. All in all, it’s a decent space.
They still haven’t gone for overhead hatches on the 42 (same as the older boats like the 450). I can’t think why, as this is a problem for ventilation, especially when you are cooking on the hook or at the dock – the breeze comes through from two forward windows.
A Big Shower
If you go for the owner’s layout, the starboard hull is all for the owner with a spacious island berth aft and plenty of windows for light and visibility. There’s a desk amidships and a huge head forward with a spacious shower space. We’ve no complaints, it’s one of the nicest set ups we’ve seen on a production cat.
In the port hull, the aft berth is repeated and next to it is a private head with a separate shower space. Going forward in the port hull is the forward cabin (not as spacious but with plenty of room) with a head and shower combo. You can convert the forepeak into a skipper berth for charters.
The Lagoon 42 comes with twin 45HP Yanmars with saildrives as standard, but you can opt for 57HPs Yanmars and Flexofold folding propellers if your budget will stand it. I would put the folding props at the top of your options list.
The standard power unit will push you along at 7 knots at 2,000 rpm and just over 8 knots at 3,200 rpm with the pedal to the metal, depending on the sea state of course.
Go for the 57s if You Can
You’ll get around half an knot extra with the more powerful engines, but they will help you punch through the waves if you are smacking into them.
Lagoon have done a great job on the 42 in designing a boat that punches above its weight on performance for the volume it carries and the comfort that gives.
This model is a big step up from the 420 performance wise and it feels like they are turned the speed dial up versus the previous generation of boats.
The boat can be sluggish in light airs, but then you have the option of the Code 0. Because the mast has been stepped aft, you have room to fly more square metres forward of the mast. Top of your options list should be the square top main as that will push your SA/D ratio up to a more respectable 18.
FAQs Lagoon 42
How much does a Lagoon 42 Cost? What is the Price?
As always, this heavily depends on the options you go for. The basic price for a Lagoon 42 is around the €350k mark, but once you start adding all of those options, you can easily arrive at a figure of €500k. Then you add your taxes, of course. That should give you a ball park figure.