Lagoon 450F Owner´s Review: Parlay Revival
A big thanks to Colin and the crew of Parlay – a 2012 Lagoon 450F for helping with this Owner´s Review.
They have fixed up the boat following extensive hurricane damage from Irma. She now looks great! The next mission is to sail across the Pacific from the Caribbean to New Zealand to make it to Auckland, Colin’s home town, in time for the America’s cup. Follow their journey on the Parlay Revival Youtube Channel.
As you can imagine, Colin knows this boat inside out. Here is his Lagoon 450F Owner´s Review. This one’s a good ´un!
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your boat “Parlay”? It looks like an interesting story.
I am a Chief Engineer of Superyachts, from New Zealand, and bought a hurricane damaged 2012 Lagoon 450 catamaran in Tortola after Hurricane Irma. We started a YouTube channel called Parlay Revival, and document all of our adventures in weekly episodes. We have rebuilt her and sailed all around the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and are about to cross the Pacific to New Zealand. Have done around 20,000 miles on Parlay already.
Why did you choose to fix up a Lagoon 450? Were you looking at other boats, or was this the best on the market? Given the choice, would you go 450F or 450S (bulkhead helm)?
I skippered an L450 in 2013 in Thailand and absolutely loved the layout. Especially the fly bridge. I went to Tortola ultimately looking for a hurricane damaged Lagoon 450, and when Parlay popped up, I had to buy her. The initial intentions for Parlay was to run surf charters in Costa Rica, so wanted the space and the 4 cabins, but with the success of the YouTube channel, our plans have changed to continue sailing around the world.
When was she originally launched? Do you have any history of previous owners, where´s she´s been?
Was a heavy charter boat in Tortola with BVI yacht charters from launch until the hurricane.
What’s the best thing about her?
Fly bridge. Hands down. I usually cruise with 6-8 crew, and the space that adds is priceless. All of us can sit up there, as well as the sun beds in front of the helm, and enjoy the view together, rather than looking up the skippers bum!
What´s the worst thing?
This is typical of MOST catamarans but sailing upwind is very unpleasant. And the bridge slam shakes the entire boat to the point where it can be very disconcerting!
How has Parlay aged. Gracefully? Which bit has suffered the most wear and tear? Of the stuff that didn´t get damaged by the hurricane I mean.
To be honest the interior carpentry isn’t the best and shows a lot of signs of wear and tear. Although with so many crew we put her through her paces. And 5 years of charter before we bought her didn’t do her any favors.
Parlay Revival Youtube – The Original Boat Tour
What would you change to the basic design if anything? 3 main things, for example. What´s your take on the balsa core? Headroom in the aft cockpit with the base of the flybridge floor?
Balsa core, if it gets wet, is an absolute nightmare!! Terrible material. Foam or honeycomb core would be much more preferable. This is a sensitive subject for us, as we had to remove so much of it, but I guess in normal situations the hull core should stay pretty dry. Careful to seal any holes you put in the hull, on both the inside and out. The SD50 sail drives are an issue so the SD60 would be better. A small thing is how the main sliding door locks. This hardware has failed and we have had to put a big padlock in its place. The sliding window latch is super weak, which the sliding door locks up against.
What are the “Must Haves” for this boat in your opinion? eg your new watermaker, the solars, engine upgrade, folding props etc. Just to help people who are looking at second hand boats
Good solar is imperative. We have 1600W. Never have to run the engines for charge. We have slow cookers and rice cookers to cook a lot of our meals, so a good inverter is worth its weight in gold. Watermaker is a new addition and is a game changer. With 6-8 crew this is a must, it was a pain always having to find marinas to bunker water. If you were a couple or a small family you could get by, but as mentioned, with this many crew you need to be able to make your own water.
We have standard engines, sail drives and props with absolutely no issues so far. Fridges are the biggest consumers of power so very important to try get the most efficient ones you can. The ones from lagoon are not very efficient. We added a salt water deck wash pump for the outside which we use all the time so that was a good install. Have no built in generator, Aircon, washing machine or dishwasher and we are absolutely comfortable without.
The only time Aircon would be a relief would be in rainy season in the tropics, where you can’t open the hatches for fresh air.
What would be the “Nice to Haves”?
More efficient fridges, and maybe a nice deep freeze. Both fridges have small freezer compartments, but when we catch a big fish it would be nice to freeze more of it. A hard top for the fly bridge is our next major upgrade. We will have to get the frame welded but we can make the rest. Lights, speakers, more solar, the works!
How are the electrics, plumbing etc
Not too bad. Coming from a superyacht background, it is the bare minimum, but have had very few issues. Bilges have 2 electric pumps, and a hand pump so a lot of redundancy. The Electrics are actually quite good but the drawings are terrible, so can be a mission trying to locate and identify a wire sometimes. Our manual is in French which doesn’t help!
Is she easy to fix up and maintain? Servicing engines, standing rigging etc. You have a ton of experience in this area…
Very happy with the space available to work around the engines and sail drives. The whole compartment is excellent, with shelving above the engines, which is well insulated for sound. Both engine rooms have their own ventilation fans. The rigging must be something extraordinary to have stayed up through hurricane Irma. I have had 3 independent riggers go through it, and none have reported any major issues. A few dings here and there from debris flying through the air during the hurricane, but nothing affecting the structural strength. Some things such as the compressors to the fridges or plumbing for the heads are hard to access but this is true for any boat, even super yachts!
Is she easy to sail short-handed? To shorten sail? Easy to reach the boom? I rented one once- the boom is pretty high isn´t it? What´s the sail plan like?
I never have, nor would I want to sail her single handed. Always have at least one crew with me. Jib sheets lead to opposite ends of the fly bridge so much better with another pair of hands. In saying that, 2 skilled sailors can easily handle her, so long as the autopilot is reliable.
Reefing in a squall also requires one on the halyard and one on the reefing line, with autopilot holding your course. We usually keep the jib out without turning into wind, and ease the main sheet to luff the main and reef it that way. One annoying thing is closing and opening the sail bag. We close it almost every time we finish sailing, to keep the UV off the sail, which means climbing up the mast and walking down the boom/sail.
What’s she like in heavy weather / a blow
Have had her in 40 knots true, downwind, with only a small amount of jib out, and we were super comfortable. Only thing looking like it was in trouble was our Bimini! Going into rough seas can be a nightmare with the bridge slam. Have had short period 3 meter seas directly beam on which wasn’t fun either but never felt like we were in trouble. We reduce sail early, as she has been through a lot already, so never push her too hard.
How is the helm position. Do you bumb your head on that bimini? How do you find the steps down from the bridge when you are helming/crewing?
Yea the Bimini is a pain. As mentioned, that is our next major upgrade. It is low, and small. When the sun is behind us we get our backs burnt! But for navigating, the flybridge has paid for itself many times over! It is a high position so navigating through reefs etc is quite comfortable with good water vis. It would be so hard to switch to a cat without a fly after living on here for 2 years.
We haven’t been through too many rainy areas but I must admit that you are very unprotected up there from the elements if it starts to pour. We had a screen made for the front of the Bimini which would help if sailing into the wind, but not from any other direction. There are no issues with bumping your head anywhere on the boat except for the Bimini, and one corner of a cupboard above the fridge next to the salon door!
How does she sail in light winds?
I think we are the heaviest lagoon 450 in the world. 8 crew, with 2 dogs, loads of spare parts, and tools, and currently $7000 worth of food to be able to cross the pacific, including 70 cartons of beer, and are full of fuel. So if there is anything less than 5 knots we don’t move. More than 5 on the beam and we can do 3 knots. Upwind or downwind we need around 10kts apparent to do the same speed.
How does she sail close hauled?
We can sail 45 deg app to the wind. With drift this equates to around a 110 deg difference in COG from tack to tack, so we don’t make much ground up wind! We bring the jib right up to the spreaders, and sometimes even put the traveler to windward of midships to point a little higher. We start reefing at 20kts apparent as it feels a little loaded up. If the seas are rough we reef even earlier.
How about on a reach, heading down wind?
Beam reach we sail great! with 10 knots we can do 6. Downwind is slow. Wing on wing gets us an extra knot or 2. Put preventer down to mid ships cleat.
Typically, what’s your average speed on passage?
If we do less than 6 knots it is a bit disappointing. Can do 9 knots comfortably. Max I have seen is 14, so far!
What’s she like under power? Speed, manoeuvrability?
I motor with one engine at 2400rpm and do around 5.5 knots, if not into a headwind. There is a lot of windage on this boat so affected a lot by this. Only have 2 bladed fixed props. If you had to, you could put both engines up to 2800 and get 8-9 knots out of her in flat seas.
Is she easy to dock, what’s the visibility like?
Great vis. Open aft deck hatch to be able see you port quarter easily for docking. High helm position makes docking an ease. Would be hard to beat the overall visibility of this boat. Only blind spot is directly aft of you to the Stb transom, but you learn to gauge this distance.
What is she like at anchor?
With the 1/2″ chain, she is excellent. 300ft chain. 75lb delta. Only dragged once because I had out way less chain than I thought I did! Installed better chain length markers after this! With my anchor alarm app on my phone, I sleep so good at night. If beam on to the swell at anchor, the main halyard slaps against the mast so tie her back aft to the sail bag.
What´s she like when its raining hard?
We added a visor sort of thing over the 2 salon hatches, so that we can have them slightly open in the rain now. Before this, the salon turned into a sauna. The cockpit gets pretty wet as we have no covers around it, but adding this would be great, but be SUPER hot. Flybridge is one wet area, so need full wet weather gear to be able to go up there.
Is she comfortable down below? Cabins/saloon/galley/heads.
Apart from the fly, this is what sells the boat. 4 cabins, with 4 heads. Excellent storage. Fans are enough to keep the cabins cool. Overhead hatches let good airflow through. Heads are hand pump style, but simple and effective. Only head that has a holding tank is the port aft one, which is 80L. The rest overboard only. Something to note.
One of my crew also sleeps in the port fwd crew cabin, which has a good sized bed in it, but no head. Great option if you want to put her in charter. Galley is a great size, 3 burner stove is sufficient. We are short on storage in the galley but that is because we have so many crew!!
Where’s your favourite spot on the boat? Fly helm?
Definitely. Even at anchor it is an epic spot to hang out, but underway it is priceless. I get the guitar out and we all chill up there together. Absolutely priceless. Every one of the 50 odd crew we have had come and go would concur.
How is the finish and layout of the interior? Does she creak under sail?
Yes she does! one probably more than others, as she took a bit of a beating during Irma, and loosened up a bit of the cabinetry. If buying, one thing to check thoroughly is the bonding of the floor frames to the hull. These aren’t all glassed, some of them are bust glued, so need to make sure these have not separated.
Also, the way the interior is put together is a logistical nightmare to undo, to access sections of the hull, take my word for it. It is assembled like a jigsaw puzzle, with hidden screws everywhere, so can take days to figure out how to access parts of the boat.
Is she good for hosting guests?
Probably the best layout of any 45ft boat for hosting guests. Am I wrong? Haha
What kind of modifications have you done/plan to do and why?
Most of these mentioned above. Solar being the key along with the water maker. Inverter and solar chargers all viltron and bluetooth. Have added separate water level sensors to their own gauges, because the built in ones are not accurate. Hard top Bimini with full surround shades is the dream. Our friend has this and the fly bridge becomes a legitimate spare cabin in all weather conditions.
Any plans for further customisation?
Apart from the hard top, we are replacing all of the sails next, including new spinnaker, with Precision sails in Canada. very excited about this. After all those years as a charter boat her sails are a bit rough.
If you were to swap her for another boat, what would that be? Or maybe you wouldn’t swap her?
I honestly can’t think of a 45ft boat on the planet that would suit our needs more than an L450F. My friend has a Leopard 46, which comes close, especially with the fwd cockpit area, but as a fly bridge fan it doesn’t cut the mustard!
How is the after sales service from Lagoon or their brokers?
Have not made contact so can’t comment.
Anything else you would add to help people thinking of buying a Lagoon, either 2nd hand or new?
Recommend lifting the floor boards and thoroughly inspecting the tabbing between all frames and bulkheads. Moisture meter on the hull. Wet balsa core is a nightmare and needs to be addressed immediately. We had to put big backing plates on all our cleats, the glass was cracking from the force on them over the years. Check these. Steering gear should be thoroughly inspected. We have all Raymarine instruments, which I love. Our wind vane was mounted slightly off center, so had to align it, as it was saying we could sail closer to the wind on port tack than stb.
Thanks Colin, there’s some real nuggets of information there on the Lagoon 450F. We look forward to following your adventure on the Parlay Revival YouTube channel. Cheers, fair winds!
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