By Zuzana Prochazka, Lattitudes & Attitudes Magazine

What's popular ashore generally makes its way to the water, so a Prius-like boat was just a matter of time. Lagoon is breaking new ground with their Lagoon 420 Hybrid cat and we donít mean a combination of sail and power, but rather of diesel and electric propulsion.

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This innovative new multihull is just coming on the scene in the US, but sailors are lining up to snap one up for their livability, serviceability and efficient use of resources.

Although the 420 Hybrid is newly designed from the keels up, the first thing to check out is the propulsion system. The 420 has two Leroy Somer electric motors which are powered by 12 dedicated batteries that in turn are charged by one genset, an Onan 13Kw. The weight of the batteries is offset by the lack of two diesels engines. The one genset is so economical that it uses approximately 1⁄4 gallon of diesel per hour which is two to four times lower fuel consumption than running conventional diesel engines. The electric motors require virtually no maintenance except every 20,000 hours, which leaves only the genset to maintain and feed.

With a 100% charge, you can motor approximately three hours at seven knots. As soon as the battery bank reaches 80% of its maximum charge level, the generator starts automatically. It also stops automatically when the batteries are topped up again. Depending on the operating mode, you can run on batteries only or combine power from the batteries and power from the generator to reach a maximum motoring speed of around eight knots.

Battery only power is not for prolonged passage making, but is excellent for in-harbor motoring and maneuvering. When sailing, the props will spin freely to generate additional power as well. The operating mode is selected at the helm station and overall, the 420 has about a 1,000 mile range.

The 420 construction includes vacuum bagging and injection molding
and features a balsa cored deck and hull with solid FRP below the waterline. The hulls are fuller than the 410 which allows the boat to punch through waves and chop, so although slower at top speed than the 410, the 420 delivers a respectable average speed over a long passage. Under sail, eight knots may be expected in a 12-knot breeze.

The bridge deck is a gull wing shape which strengthens the hull with
two arches instead of one straight line and translates to less pounding and underside slap for which cats are known. Overall, it’s a very sea-kindly design. Spacious and with lots of storage, the cockpit is a
thing of beauty. The access to the large genset is a dream with the entire outdoor settee lifting to expose the whole engine. The helm station is to starboard and significantly raised with huge storage and a secondary reefer below. A hard bimini is standard as are Harken electric winches. As for the interior, the 420 incorporates 410 owner feedback.

The objective was to make it as home-like as possible, a detail carried down to the angle of the steps. The open layout starts with 6’ 9” headroom and a 360 degree view from the cockpit and saloon. A dinette seats eight comfortably and the entire saloon is very light due to the redesigned vertical windows. The aft-facing galley on the port side of the saloon opens to the cockpit, keeping the cook in the center of the social action and features a three burner stove with oven and grill, lots of counter space and refrigerator and separate freezer. A large sliding glass door is all that separates the cockpit from the saloon.

Also on port and facing forward is the nav station that has secondary helm controls in the form of a joystick. The stick is situated far left in the space which is awkward for right-handers, but it’s intended strictly
for slight course adjustments on passages rather than in-harbor maneuvering. Water and fuel tanks as well as house batteries are below the sole in the cabins.

The owner's version features three cabins and three heads with a complete suite in the port hull which is kept very private with an L-shaped sliding door. Good storage abounds in the aft cabin with drawers under the bunk and a small settee outboard. Since the hulls were widened on the 420, there is a feeling of space and openness in
the cabins. A four cabin and four head version is also available because approximately half of the Lagoon boats go into charter.

Clean, green and silent. What else could we want? Well, how about much less expensive to run and maintain and amazingly comfortable to boot? Lagoon has prepresold 90 Hybrids already with 20 of those coming to the various 11 US dealerships. Lagoon France is expecting such a positive response that they built two sets of molds right from the start just to keep up with demand – something that doesn’t happen in normal production boat manufacturing. In addition to being the first boat builder to offer hybrid propulsion as a standard, Lagoon is contemplating offering retrofit hybrid systems for all the boats in their line except the 380. They will also be licensing this technology to other manufacturers.

The 420 Hybrid runs at approximately $454,343, base price, delivered to the East Coast. For more information on this boat or other Lagoon cats, visit

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