By Malcolm Turner, Multihull Review
This is a very big small boat with some 6' 5" (1.95 metres) of headroom in the saloon and hulls. It is hardly surprising that, in its various guises, the Lagoon 38 has become one of the most successful catamarans to be built with more than 350 sold worldwide.
The latest version has S2 added to its title to emphasise that this it is a boat that has been extensively remodelled and improved upon. Most noticeable is the proliferation of large windows in both cabins and saloon which provide a light and airy atmosphere throughout.
Getting on and off the boat when coming alongside is made easier by the incorporation of foot holes about half way down each hull.
She is made of foam sandwich construction using polyester and vinylester resins with the hull bottom made in solid grp. The deck is built using a balsa core. Bulkheads are laminated wood.
We tested the owner's version which has the entire starboard hull as private quarters. This can be separated from the saloon and rest of the boat by a sliding door and roof.
Aft is a large (5' 3" X 6' 7" / 1.60m X 2.00m) double berth with storage beneath accessed from doors at the foot. Amidships is a reasonably sized writing desk and seat with further hanging lockers both along side and opposite. Forward is the owner's heads with basin and full sized toilet plus a separate shower area.
To port are two double cabins forward and aft with a good sized heads and shower area amidships. The charter version has a mirror image of this to starboard.
The saloon has a table and seating arrangements adequate for eight people. This area can also be used as an additional double berth if the conversion in-fill is purchased.
The galley is aft facing with a sliding window, which when put back, allows access to a folding table for serving through to the cockpit. It is equipped with double stainless steel sinks, a two burner stove with oven and grill and a refrigerator but no freezer.
Pressurised hot and cold water is standard and water heating is via a 5.8 gallon/ 22 litre tank heated via the engine or by shore power, which is also included.
Worktops are laminate and the woodwork is either solid or marine ply varnished in golden pear. Flooring is a synthetic material with a similar finish.
To port is the instrument panel and a smallish chart table complete with stool.
Headlining is off a solid material interspersed with removable wood strips which give access to the lighting wiring.
Given the spaciousness of the rest of the boat something had to give somewhere and this is in the size of the cockpit. This is somewhat on the small size, but nevertheless does provide perfectly ample seating for up to eight people without using the double helmsman's seat.
There are two storage lockers to the stern and a large encased cooler box, which also acts as cockpit seating, is supplied as standard. The wheel steering position is to port with engine controls, instruments and two winches to hand.
Visibility to the four corners was reasonable but the helmsman would be likely to choose port when berthing alongside where that was possible.
Standard engines are twin 18hp Volvo but the test boat had the optional 30hp models. Yanmar 21hp and 29hp engines are also available at additional cost.
As would be expected from twin diesels the boat proved easy to handle and manoeuvre in the marina confines despite a brisk cross wind. At 2000 rpm she made between five point five and six knots and at 2800 rpm her speed increased to between seven and a half and eight knots.
These figures would suggest that the larger engines are a worthwhile option.
In a vessel of this size one would normally expect to find access to the engines via the stern berths. Again the Lagoon 380 S2 is unusual in having separate engine rooms accessed from external stern hatches. Access for servicing is good.
The engines are enclosed in substantial noise reduction material mounted on marine ply. As a result of this, and of their location, the noise level in both aft cabins was low.
Although the standard boat comes with an electric windlass located in the starboard forward locker, no anchor or chain are supplied.
Despite this locker also housing the water tank, there is plenty of room for chain and warp and an adequate drop to avoid fouling the windlass.
The boat is fractionally rigged with a fully battened and roached main of 517 sq. ft. (48m²) with two reefs and a furling genoa of 334 sq. ft. (31m²). All controls lead back to the cockpit and everything can be done from here.
The mast is 49'/ 15m high; deck stepped with a single spreader. The supporting chain plates looked reassuringly oversized.
We were fortunate in our weather for the test. It was a bright, clear and cold day with North to North East winds of force four occasionally touching force five.
As would be expected she revelled in windward work achieving eight knots in 13 knots of true wind at between 40 and 45 degrees. Any closer than this and she started to pinch and speed dropped off.
Tacking was simplicity itself. She came through 90 degrees and there was no need to back the jib as she came about with out any problem. Backing may be necessary in lighter airs.
On a broad reach we were getting similar speeds but these inevitably dropped as we freed off and began to run. All in all her performance was very creditable for what is an out and out cruising boat.