Yachts We Have Reviewed
Yacht Chartered: Aria - Lagoon 420
Dates Reviewed: July 14 - July 21, 2009
Charter Company: BVI Yacht Charters, Lagoon 420 Aria
Charter Location: BVI Yacht Charters, Tortola, British Virgin Islands
Charter Size: 4 - 6 Adults
Yacht Type: Catamaran
Yacht Size: 42 Foot
Layout: Three Cabin Owners Version
Charter Advisors highly recommends Aria for couples and families! The Lagoon 420 "Owner's Version," three cabin layout is an ideal size for six people, two per cabin. It also needs to be said that Aria blew away our expectations in many ways, and it only took boarding her for this to happen. Beautiful inside and out, plus two kayaks, with powered winches everywhere we looked (had no idea that this yacht came with either before arrival)! We were impressed with BVI Yacht Charters Lagoon 420 from the time we saw her in her slip, to when we spun her on a dime and slid her into the fuel dock upon return. Fun and truly EASY sailing! Point and GO!
If heeling is not your cup of tea or if sail trim is still a bit mysterious, Aria is your boat. She's forgiving and has a thing or two to teach you along the way.
Catamarans in general tend to make great beginner charter yachts. True, they are wider than a Monohull, but they instill confidence in bigger seas, they don't heel over when the sails are powered up, and even though they are bigger, they turn tighter under power with their twin engines.
If you've been wondering where to start and (or) want to take the whole family, this is a pretty good place to begin.
This is what Charter sail cruising is all about! Aria, a 2007 Lagoon 420 from BVI Yacht Charters was easy to handle, fun to sail, and very comfy! This forty-two foot example of the Lagoon 420 owner's version was in outstanding shape inside and out. Our ten days on the water with her gave us more than enough time to sample this wonderful cruising catamaran under all points of sail and motor. Our review crew of five fit this yacht size perfectly. In typical Virgin Island trade wind form, we had wind speeds ranging from eight to eighteen knots though the duration of our review with one squall, on the back side of Hurricane Omar. Aria sailed well in the light breezes, averaging 4 knots in 8 knots of wind and 9+ knots when the kicked up. Motoring was quick too! Running three quarter throttle resulted in an easy 7 knots of boat speed. The feeling of size shrinks to fit once your out on the water.
What looks like a floating mansion on arrival transforms into a purpose built sailing machine once on the ocean.
Charter Advisors pre-screened manny different BVIs charter companies. After reviewing yachts offered and cost per yacht per week and balancing the various specials, we chose BVI Yacht Charters. We logged on to their website and selected a few yachts that fit our budget and review crew size before making our first call. We had a good idea of what we were looking for, our criteria only led to one place. A catamaran. But we wanted a recommendation. So, we asked BVI Yacht Charters what yacht they believed we should charter based on our needs and price range. In short, they did a great job and recommended the right yacht, and not the most expensive one. Aria, a three cabin, owner's version, 2007 Lagoon 420. Perfect. This was the yacht on the top of our list.
Did It Live Up To Expectations?
Did Aria meet our expectations? Yes!.
It actually blew our expectations away. The 2007 Lagoon 420 was in great shape. She's an owner's yacht with many nice extras, down to the details. Anti-slip mats on slippery counter areas, more cooking utensils than you can shake a stick at, custom floor throw rugs, two FREE kayaks, and every winch a powered winch! Rare find! The kayaks were a surprise! A good one at that. We didn't order kayaks, but as this was an owner's yacht, the owner kept two kayaks on board. So, they came with us, for free!
Aria is eager to please. The Lagoon 420 is famous for is saloon space and privacy afforded by the two hull layout. In the owner, the three cabin layout amps up the privacy factor even more for the review crew in the port hull. The "owner's side" takes up one entire hull, and includes a few extra touches not found on many more chartery charter boats. Full size stand up shower and full "bathroom." It really can't be called a "head." This theme is carried throughout the boat. Microwave, non-skid decorative mats on saloon surfaces, and the most oversize generator we have ever seen on a charter boat. She's built to please. And sailing her is just as pleasurable as a night aboard. Point and shoot. Literally. Her stout beam and sail plan make it easy to tack, trim and go. No heeling, no fuss. Just the rhythm of the ocean and full sails.
Aria is simple to sail, elegant, safe, and a whole lot of fun. She has a full baton main with lazy jacks and a roller-furling jib. All sails are set via electric winches and lines led to the helm. You don't even need to get out of your seat to tack or jibe this thing. Our review weather conditions stayed relatively consistent throughout the entire charter, 10-18 knot winds, seas 3-6 feet. In these conditions we saw speeds topping out around 10 knots, with an average cruising speeds in the 6-8 knot range.
We had surprise squall sneak up on us crossing the Sir Francis Drake Channel after leaving the protection of Sopers Hole. Dropping the sails was a cinch as was firing up the twin yammer diesels. After two hours of motoring though squall conditions, we were no worse for wear and were glad we didn't have to contend with the pounding our Monohull brethren were taking.
Even though the Lagoon 420 is not a small boat, we would highly recommend this yacht to new sailors. If the size is too much for you, consider a 38 or 40-foot Lagoon (or cat of your liking). The features on Aria really bring this yacht down to size and make for very manageable, simplified and stress free sailing. Experts will appreciate her systems and well thought out helm station. Her electronics are the thing of charter dreams. For you charting pros there are huge chart plotter screens in the nav station AND helm. Full auto pilot (with remote control no less!), weather electronics, radar, GPS along with all the rest of the standard goodies.
Big, Strong, And Sometimes A Bit Noisy
As with any charter, before heading to the bunk, we were topping up the batteries. On this Lagoon 420 it was a simple affair with the generator. Flip it on for a few hours and you're good to go. On this first evening we found the decibel level to be quite "noticeable." (most prevalent on the aft deck). That's the tradeoff for having a generator aboard. But you get A/C out of it. And you don't have to run the engines to charge the batteries. In comparison to the main engines, the generator is quite as a kitten. We'll keep the generator.
Electric Winches Over There, and Over There, and Over There
We loved having a full suite of Electric winches. The ease of sailing with these little helpers is a big plus. We set the main and the jib with the touch of a toe. That's right, toe! All the winch controls (push buttons) we're set at the foot of the helm. Two controls per winch! One button for high gear and the other for low! How cool is that! And EVERY winch was set up this way. Rare indeed! Even the Dingy Davit had a powered winch! We could set the sails, bring them back in, set anchor, and launch the dingy, all with electric ease! In fact we could do all those things, with the exception anchoring from the helm! The salt spray claimed a couple of our electric friends though. With anything powered and exposed to salt water, a two of our four (not including the one on the aft deck for the dingy) of ours got angry and quit on us. We were sailed on just fine using the remaining winches (we had plenty to spare anyway!). Salt water! It can get to the best of em!.
The Duh Factor
The only other issue we encountered though our trip was a bit self-imposed. A good lesson for all of us. When booking Aria, we did not understand that she only had A/C in the owner's suite and saloon. This was mostly a surprise to those sleeping in the starboard side cabins, which did not have A/C. Either we didn't understand that this was the set up or it was not explained well. Guess we'll have to take the bullet on this one. But this should serve as a heads up to those of you booking a yacht with "A/C". Make sure you know what you're getting to avoid our surprise
Note: The BVI Yacht Charters website DOES state that Aria only has A/C in the Owners Suite and Saloon. We obviously missed this part.
Quicker than She looks
The Lagoon 420 stunning. To look at, sail, and to live aboard for as long as you're wallet can hold out. Your wallet will give up before you want to. When you board you are truly living like the "other half". If the looks weren't enough, she is also quick on her feet. We saw speeds in the 9's with the occasional blip into the double digits in average wind speeds of 10-18 knots.
On one "fresh" day our Lagoon 420 passed a "racy" 40+ foot Monohull; ignored our "right of way" (Starboard!) and attempted to keep us from passing him. It was a futile effort. He had no chance against this beauty at full boil. We just found a sailor with an ego. Surprise, surprise! Aria headed the wind for a moment to slow down and make some extra sea-room, allowing the other yacht to pass in front. It actually felt like our Captain had put the breaks on slightly. It was kind of a cool feeling. Then, he turned aria back on her beam reach, back on her original starboard tack. Like a shot, Aria raced off, crossing astern of our new "yachtsman" friend, leaving him in our wake.
Suction Cup Cozies Not Required
As expected the Lagoon 420 is stable. Very stable. To really feel this stability we ventured outside of the protected Sir Francis Drake Channel into the larger swells of the Atlantic. Hurricane Omar had just left us about four days prior to setting off with the yacht making the Atlantic side a bit bigger than normal. Ground swells were running eight to ten feet with two to three foot chop on top.
We sailed easily at 8 knots plus without burying either bow or even a washing splash. Like we said, stable.
Fast, stable, AND comfy. That is what makes this yacht shine.
The interior is more than you would expect from a charter boat. More along the lines of a hotel suite. Galley, large dining table with booth settee, and nav station are all "up." Two bathrooms on the starboard side have two separate showers. The entire port hull is dedicated the owner's suite. It's a large cabin with lounge area and a huge master head with separate toilet, shower, and vanity. Plenty of stowage as long as you bring soft sided luggage.
Twin chart-plotters (GPS), auto-helm with remote control, speed, depth sounder... all the updated goodies you would expect. We were also glad to find an integrated iPod plug in that worked both for iPod / iPhones, but also for the Mac and PC we bring with us. One night we put a movie on the laptop and pumped the sound out of the premium sound system and tested what our Lagoon 420 had to offer in the entertainment department. We were not let down.
Water Tank Refills
We topped off the water tanks twice in ten days with 5 total people.
Marina Cay, and Sopers Hole provided quick service and prices that nearly matched each other. For info on water tank size, click here to view the Charter Advisors Spec Sheet.
We did not have to refill fuel in our 10 days.
We spent just under $400 to top the tanks off when we returned the yacht.
Note on Fuel: Prices at the time were at or near the 2008 price peak.
For info on tank size, click here to view the full Charter Advisors spec sheet.
The 2007 Lagoon 420 had all the creature comforts.
Generator, A/C, electric heat (not that we needed it), built-in inverter, integrated sound system with iPod / iPhone / computer sound jack, microwave oven, custom throw rugs, throw pillows to name a few.
In our opinion they stopped with all the fineries at the exact right point... they left out the TV and massive subwoofer. Thank goodness.
Some yachts are work to sail. Some can become tedious, while others leave you wanting more and call you back to them year after year. In the case of Aria, the 2007 Lagoon 420, the latter definitely applies. She was kind, forgiving, cared for us, and gave us some wonderful thrills well within our acceptable "margin of error." We highly recommend this BVI Yacht Charters Yacht.
Free Kayaks - two of them!
A microwave. Nice extra.
How little fuel we needed to use.
All winches were powered (we expected only one for the main!)
How striking she looked when we first saw her at the dock.
Did we mention the pirate raid at Norman Island? No? Good thing it was a few days from Halloween and the weapons of choice were marshmallows and squirt guns! We almost had a man overboard for no other reason than laughter!
Aria, our BVI Yacht Charters recommended yacht was a perfect recommendation.
We were surprised at the impressive presence the yacht had upon arrival, the ease of handling, and how simple it was to dock and moor up.
Though Aria is a big boat, she maneuvered well in tight situations, and sipped fuel when we did need to motor.
The issues we ran into were very common and minor. We frankly expected many more issues. The only thing we wished we would ask for was wind scoops for the hatches. These were offered, but we forgot to pick them up. With these in place, we could have run the generator and A/C less.
We recommend BVI Yacht Charters and their Lagoon 420, Aria for families and couples. Aria would also be a great first time Catamaran Charter for the seasoned Monohull or armchair sailor.
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Address: Charter Advisors
381 Casa Linda Plaza #367
Dallas, TX 75218
Toll Free: 800.GOCHRTR (4624787)