Catamarans: Serious Cruiser, or Charter Boat — Whats the Difference?

Fountaine-PajotLearning Center

Here’s an answer offered recently to a client considering a Lagoon 42 as compared to a Fountaine Pajot 40 or 44

There are more answers to Kenny’s other questions at the end.

Comparing a Lagoon to the Fountaine Pajot - Lucia 40, Helia 44, Lagoon 42Comparing a Lagoon to the Fountaine Pajot: just the facts, ma’am

The Lagoon 42 is closer in volume to the FP 40 than the 44. It is reported heavier than claimed, with less sail area. So one main shortcoming is the smaller load-carrying capacity. (Unnecessary production weight gained from less expensive, production build procedures actually takes away, directly, from load-carrying capacity and adds no strength to the boat. Think of a boat using lighter, stronger construction techniques more like those found in the aircraft industry, where building lighter and stronger translates into fuel savings and lower operating costs. In your boat, better load carrying translates into the ability to carry more fuel, water, provisions and live-aboard equipment like water-makers, washer-dryers, dive compressors and the like. Lesser load carrying is just not a desirable attribute for long-range cruising. Here are some other notes concerning the Lagoon 42. Many of these features are more important for long-range cruisers than for charterers:

  1. The rig. Moving the rig back, principally to accommodate a self-tending jib is monohull thinking. It almost requires that you carry light air and downwind sail compliments and actually complicates the sailing and storage considerations. Most catamarans, including the Fountaine Pajot, power the boat with a larger, much more powerful square-topped mainsail which leaves you with a much more powerful rig with more flexible sail combinations. The boat sails well in most conditions with the standard sails, but easily accommodates everything from a Parasail to a Gennaker, or code “0”– light air, downwind sail enhancement. A side benefit is no post in the center of the accommodations which many people find objectionable.
  2. The boat is considerably heavier than the Fountaine Pajot 44 with less volume and sail area. This extra weight also takes away from your load-carrying capacity.
  3. The solar panels are located under the boom in the shade of the sail, rather than behind the traveler like the Fountaine Pajot where they get maximum sunlight.
  4. The boom is relatively high with the hard dodger (available on the Fountaine Pajot). Difficult to tuck in the sail. Many slippery areas on deck with no hand rails going forward. FP has a built-in hand hold, with additional rails available.
  5. Comparing a Lagoon to the Fountaine Pajot - Lagoon 42
    Lagoon, cocktail table-small. Cockpit, small
    Comparing a Lagoon to the Fountaine Pajot - cockpit seats 8
    Fountaine Pajot cockpit-seat 8

    No full-sized table! (That seats the whole crew-8 or more!) This is where most of the real foodservice happens and this is a real short-coming for temperate sailing conditions which means most of the time when you follow the sun.

  6. Fixed dining table with a fixed seat. (and the mast post). Very difficult to socialize. Everyone must move for someone to slide out. Fountaine Pajot on both boats offers 4 table options, all with extra storage. Most popular is a high low table that swings around to make a lower, walk-around cocktail table, or swing again, for a normal table closer to the sofas.

Comparing a Lagoon to the Fountaine Pajot

  1. The galley has double pull out refrigerator drawers and a separate freezer divided into compartments with doors so opening the vertical freezer doesn’t dump all of the cold.
  2. The main saloon has over-sized skylights (with shades) for an unprecedented, light interior. There is indirect, LED lighting all around. The windows are sized so you can see out 360 degrees, sitting or standing most anywhere.
  3. Owner’s cabin. Long ago, we found our customers preferred more storage over a couch in the owner’s cabin! So we have much more storage on the Fountaine Pajot.

The beds are low and easy to get into. Each has a seriously large drawer under, and duffel bag sized shelves alongside. 2-3 opening hatches and ports enhance cross-flow ventilation.Comparing a Lagoon to the Fountaine Pajot - washer dryer on board

Also, uniquely, the electric toilet is in its own compartment so two people can use the facility at the same time. The vanity is in its own separate compartment with a huge linen locker behind it. The shower is huge with full height solid door keeping everything dry, and uniquely on both the 40 and 44, there is a laundry room with space for an externally vented, washer/dryer. (this is really important—we custom do this installation. The typical MF installed unit doesn’t have a big enough compartment for the externally vented model and so uses the internally vented model which just doesn’t dry like a normal dryer—often taking 3-4 hours to dry, compared to our typical 40 min or so.)
Comparing a Lagoon to the Fountaine Pajot - lagoon 42 laundry on boardWhy is a washer-dryer important? We are finding more and more that marinas, but now even mooring fields and anchorages, are not allowing laundry on the lifelines. Nothing like dirty, wet laundry stashed inside the boat waiting until you next venture out, or hike to the local laundromat.

So, these are just some of the highlights of important differences between a boat purpose-built for live-aboard, offshore sailing, and one built for chartering. In addition to all of this, we believe that the best boat you will ever own is the one you design. We offer customized boats with choices just not available from other dealers or manufacturers. In the end, I typically do a 1-2 hour initial consult with you to discuss your choices. Comparing a Lagoon to the Fountaine Pajot - Lagoon 42, FP 40, FP 44

More answers to Kenny’s questions

  1. Off-gassing. (Ken’s wife has allergy problems, and he had a smaller catamaran previously with a terrible odor problem) Mostly eliminated because Fountaine Pajot uses a closed mold, injection system. This process also helps to make Fountaine Pajot lighter and stronger than “Charter boat designs” and thus allows for better load carrying, and with more sail area per pound of displacement, a better sailing boat—especially noticeable in lighter air ranges. (While about 50% of our owners choose to place their boat in our Boat Business Plan for tax advantages and income, often used to pay the boat off early—their plan, almost always, is to convert this boat to personal use in 3-7 years—so it is definitely conceived and equipped as a live-aboard, offshore cruiser (private boat) not a charter boat!
  1. (Ken wanted a boat about 18-24 months out) I understand your timing, but be careful. Even since we talked (March first) The next 40 is now Sept 18, and next 44 is July of 18. If we got an order in, before the Fall shows, probably in August/early Sept. we could probably get an X-factory boat in Jan/Feb 2019, (10-18 months for X-Factory) Plus 8-12 weeks for commissioning, delivery and make ready—so in your handover, ready to go by April/May 2019—if we ordered by Aug/Sept! Just a heads up. (We could also order now, and specify delivery time which would freeze price increases and assure your desired delivery date.)
  2. Why the 36’ was discontinued? A practical reason relating to the laws of economics. Simply put, it cost almost as much to build a 36 as the new 40 that turned out to be 10 times more popular. Also, the Lucia, turns out to be about the smallest boat that has the room and load-carrying ability for live-aboard, long-range cruising—and that goal, is the heart of the Fountaine Pajot market. Fountaine Pajot builds about 80% of it’s production for private owners, Lagoon and Leopard, the majority for charter. Different purposes, different designs. That brings us to the Lagoon.

Eric Smith

Senior Sales Consultant, Partner
410-703-5655
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