What boat do you currently own?
We received our current Lagoon 52 S in April 2018 in Hong Kong. We liked the sport top version of the vessel, rather than the flybridge, as we are a sailing couple and having a bridge deck was not what we wanted from a safety perspective as well as short-handed sailing practicality.
Where is the boat based?
The vessel is based at the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter in Hong Kong. This is the second Lagoon catamaran we have owned and our third sailing vessel, having previously owned a Lagoon 420 Electric Sport top and before that a 59ft Cheoy Lee ketch.
Tell us about your first moments with your boat?
We took delivery of the vessel in Hong Kong at the Simpson Service Centre in Aberdeen and had a number of jobs completed prior to commissioning. We had the factory install air conditioning which has served us well, particularly in the hot humid Hong Kong weather – it allows us to stay away overnight and sleep in comfort all year round. We are very lucky to have so many islands and private beaches so close and most weekends you can find a quiet anchorage away from the daily grind and pressure we all face when working in Hong Kong. We opted for the taller safety rails as I’m 6’2’’ and the factory safety rails only came up to knee height. We also moved the factory installed solar panels to the rear of the coach roof; we had eight x 120W Solara flexible walk on panels installed.
After the commissioning we sailed up north to Sai Kung and overnighted at Bluff Island, which is one of the best sheltered anchorages in Sai Kung. We have always loved sailing and visiting the many islands around Hong Kong. Staying overnight for the first time on the Lagoon 52 S was very comfortable. The saloon is big and frankly we have more room on the catamaran than we had in our apartment, with four large en suite cabins.
We know you added significant sustainable modifications, please tell us about them and what was their main objective?
When we first bought KataTonic our goal was to make her self-sustainable and minimise the use of fossil fuel. With that objective in mind, we added to the eight x 120W Solara solar panels and decided to switch the house factory AGM batteries to four Mastervolt 12/5000 lithium batteries. We also decided to install two Mastervolt Mass Combi Pro Inverter/Chargers, which replaced the single house bank charger from the factory – this allowed us to recharge our lithium battery bank in less than one hour. We also added a Mastervolt MC 60 Solar Charge regulator that increased our charging from solar by 35% from the factory installed charge controllers. Finally, we also installed a Super Wind generator so that on non-sunny days we could still get charge into our house bank. With this set up we also decided to use the CZone management system to run our solar, wind and lithium charging as this has much more detailed monitoring and management functions than the standard Lagoon onboard computer. Using lithium rather than AGM batteries also meant that we could discharge our battery bank to more than 80% and quickly recharge from solar, wind generator and twin chargers. We are now able to run our single cabin air conditioning from the batteries so that we can get a silent night’s sleep with air-conditioning but without using the generator. Currently that gives us seven hours of silent running before the generator automatically kicks in to charge the batteries back up to 100%.
We also decided to install and purchase a Sea Recovery 1800 water maker
here in Hong Kong and Simpson Service did a great installation. This allowed us to keep all four of our 250 litre water tanks instead of the factory installation option, which would have meant losing one of the water tanks as they install the water maker in that space. Instead, we have installed the Sea Recovery system in our starboard engine room, and we have great access to the filters, and it works brilliantly. The water maker produces 4.7 litres a minute so filling the tanks is relatively quick. We have added a separate freshwater filter and UV steriliser under the kitchen sink so all drinking water is double filtered.
Finally, earlier this year we asked Simpson Service to install our Sertec lightning suppressor system on the mast. We experienced lightning damage on our previous catamaran as they are 6% more likely to attract lightning than monohulls. The Sertec system does not attract lightning and it shields our boat from ever getting hit by sending out negative ions and supressing our positive discharges. Effectively it acts like an umbrella and makes our boat seem invisible to 99% of lightning strikes. The system allows us to relax that little bit more when we hear the clap of thunder overhead.
What are your cruising weekends looking like now, in these particular times?
We still cruise most weekends as, particularly with the Covid pandemic, being on the water is a perfect way to escape the city and get some fresh air without needing to be close to crowds or use public transport.
Please share your favourite moment on your boat.
The boat sails excellently and getting the sails up and switching the engines off is always a great way to spend the afternoon. Then to pull into a small bay, set the anchor and relax with friends, visit the beach or get the two paddle boards out and explore the coastline. It’s like you’re on vacation without ever leaving Hong Kong.
Do you have any special plans for future cruising or any particular sailing plans beyond Hong Kong and Asia?
The master plan is that we will sail from Hong Kong and explore Southeast Asia. Obviously with the onset of Covid our longer distance cruising plans have been put on hold but we hope, like a lot of folks, that with the new vaccines we can get this virus under control and borders can once again start to open.
Aside from your own yacht, what other boat do you particularly like and why?
We have always liked sailing boats but when we first started sailing a catamaran that has made a huge difference, as to be able to sail while not heeling over and have so much room onboard is a real luxury. We also loved the catamaran when our kids were small as it always felt safe and relatively easy to sail with just the two of us onboard. Ever since we looked at the Lagoon 420 Electric vessel back in 2008 the idea of a fully electric boat interests me. The new range of cruising electric catamarans like those from Silent Yachts look amazing and with cheaper lithium batteries and quick charging from solar, having a fully electric boat is now very possible. We always loved the idea of cruising the planet on a vessel that doesn’t rely on fossil fuels and is totally self-sufficient.
What is your dream for your future cruising?
Blue skies and good winds. Seriously, if you could re-open all the borders and get Covid under control that would be a great help. The new Fiji Blue Lane initiative looks promising but at this stage Fiji is the only place that seems to be welcoming cruisers. Thailand and a few other places are talking about Blue Lane initiatives, but we are still waiting on confirmation. Unfortunately, so many other destinations remain in lockdown so cruising around Asia is still not that practical and looks to be challenging for the remainder of the 2021 cruising season.