Who we are and what we wanted
We are a family of 8. Chris and I have been dreaming of making this trip with our children before they all grow up and leave to make a life of their own. Having older kids and seeing them grow before our eyes made it an immediate plan to grab our kids and give them an adventure of a life time. Chris has been sailing the San Francisco Bay all his life and growing up in the sailing world and reading about families making the leap of faith and committing to the journey was an inspiration and realization that he knew we could do. We just needed to commit and make a plan. Our dream started 10 years ago, so we made a decision to preparing ourselves and our family for this journey.
We wanted a boat that could accommodate 2 adults, my oldest daughter who was 20, and our 4 younger children ages 13, 11, 7 and 6 in comfort. We also knew that we would have family and visiting guests, so space and a good floor plan was essential. We wanted a boat that sailed well, would be safe in bad weather, and was easy to handle.
Why a catamaran?
Having sailed on many different monohulls and catamarans during years of chartering, day sails, and races, we knew that a catamaran would be the best choice for our family. Catamarans provide a lot of living space for their length (indoor and outdoor), are easy to handle with one or two people on watch, achieve crossings quickly and provide a comfortable, stable platform at anchor. In addition, a catamaran allows us enough space for visitors. Once we had decided that we wanted a catamaran, we made several shopping trips to familiarize ourselves with the various models. During our visits, we evaluated the options that we liked and disliked in catamarans (galley up vs. down, three heads or four, finish work, sailing area, design, etc.).
Why a Lagoon 470?
We omitted lighter, less sturdy hulls because we were planning open-water travel. We were drawn to the wood finished interiors for their home-like feel. We liked the galley down as it stopped the kitchen chaos taking over living area. We stayed away from flying bridges based on our previous experiences of poor sailing performance due to the higher center of effort caused by raising the boom (not to mention that they isolate the helmsperson from the rest of the crew). We looked at several catamarans with dagger boards but decided that cost in interior space was not worth the minimal gain in pointing ability. We wanted a higher bridge-deck to minimize “slapping”. Finally, we determined that dual roller fuller headsails offered a larger range of sailing angles to the wind and wind strength.
The Lagoon 470 met all of our criteria. It was the smallest model made at Lagoon’s “big boat” CNB base in Bordeaux. Family Circus is hull number 44 of 51 made. At 26,000 lbs, she is not one of Lagoon’s light production cats. She is spacious compared to other 47′ catamarans we looked at and has a nicely appointed interior with high-quality finishes that offer lots of comfortable living space. With four cabins, three heads, and a galley down layout with full size 12V fridge freezer, her interior space suited our family comfortably. Also, having children on board you are often the boat that the other cruisers migrate to so many times we hosted several families for dinner or playdates on board. This particular Lagoon 470, Family Circus was well-appointed and had had a partial refit by the previous owners in 2011. She will easily do 10 knots under sail and we have seen >12kn sustained.
She had such extras as a upgraded 13.5KW generator, five air conditioning units, a dive compressor and four tanks, underwater lights for night diving. Comfort upgrades of a large, comfortable helm seat (especially appreciated on long crossings) and stainless steel rails and stairs to make diving easier rounded out the appeal of Family Circus. Our additions, including three more solar panels (five in total), a Silent Wind wind generator together with a smart three-phase charging system between the alternators helps with energy requirements. See “upgrades and refits” for more details.
Family Circus has exceeded our expectations
During our two years on Family Circus, she has met all of our expectations and challenges, offering a comfortable, stable and sturdy home. Equally adept at drifting through the reefs of the Tuamotus under gennaker alone, as on a three thousand mile high-speed reefed run from La Cruz, Mexico to the Marquesas Islands, sailing down the west coast from San Francisco to the Santa Cruz islands where we encountered 37 knot winds, 12 foot seas, and one tuna. She handled all of our crossings, The Pacific Puddle Jump, Tahiti to Tonga, Tonga to Fiji and then Fiji to New Zealand with a solid, secure and stable feel even through some of the rougher weather conditions. Family Circus handled our ten thousand sea miles well. Family Circus has been truly loved and cared for so she is ready and looks forward to many more adventures and sea miles.
We believe that she is the best equipped and maintained Lagoon 470 on the market today.