As an owner, you are found of your boat. And you want a boat which looks like to your vision of sailing. Even if the option equipment exists on the shipyard’s pricelist, you prefer to do it like you want. This is the story of the Hibberd Family and their Lagoon 400 Cool Running.
Who are you?
We are “Captain” Dave, “1st mate” Gudrun, “swab” Ben (11yrs old) and “swabbie” Gaby (9yrs old). We enjoy sailing our Lagoon 400, “Cool Running”, around the Tampa bay area in Florida and around the Florida Keys and beyond. Dave has sailed most of his life and competed in the 1996 Olympics in the Laser class, representing South Africa. Ben took his 1st sail aboard his dad’s Hunter 31 at 29 days old, and Gaby, not to be outdone, took her 1st sail aboard that same boat at 14 days old!
Why did you choose this boat?
Our boat before this L400 was a Hunter 41 that just became too small as our kids grew bigger. We looked for about a year at various cats and fell in love with the L400 when we stepped aboard one at the Miami boat show in 2012. One year later we bought a 2011 L400, hull # 181 and sailed it back to Tampa, FL from St.Maarteen. Ours is the 4 cabin, 2 heads. We love the fact that each kid has their own room, and we have our own cabin, and still have 1 cabin for guests. Having only one head on each hull allows them to be large and very comfortable. The boat is easy to sail single handed but still has plenty of space for long trips with a larger crew. We wanted a boat that was a modern design, functional, safe for our family and still be able to sail relatively fast and hold its value. The L400 checked all these boxes for us.
What kind of changes have you made and why?
Our boat had no Bimini shade above the helm station and we really wanted some protection from the strong Florida sun. We looked at the standard canvass bimini, but wanted something a bit more substantial in size and durability and so ultimately decided on a custom built fiberglass hardtop bimini over the helm station. I did the project in 2 phases.
The first phase was to get a suitably sized fiberglass bimini top made with reinforcing points installed to accommodate the support structure to follow. I found a manufacture in Florida that custom makes tops for high end motor boats that was willing to do this for me. Once I got this completed I constructed a wooden support structure to hold the bimini top in place at the correct height and position. I also built the slope angle to match the existing main cabin roof slope angle so that it would all blend properly once installed.
Next was getting a local welder to fabricate a suitably strong support structure. I simulated what I wanted it to look like by building the support posts out of 2 inch PVC pipes initially and they allowed me to see what angle I wanted these to be and also what the finished product may look like. I ended up having this made of aluminum using 2 inch tubing with 4 inch base plates on the top and bottom of the tubes. This was ultimately powder coated white to match the gel coat, but could also be constructed of stainless steel. The front supports are through bolted and the back supports sit on the factory installed reinforcing pads. The overall structure is very stiff and strong.
What is the estimated cost?
The fiberglass bimini was $2,500 and the powder coated aluminum frame was $1,500. Potentially a hatch could also be installed and that cost would depend on what hatch you choose. I will most likely install a Lewmar hatch with the exact same specs as the cabin hatches so I always have it as a spare if ever needed, as a hatch in the bimini top is not critical.
And did you customize something else?
Since getting the boat I have taken on a number of projects and installed the following myself:
- Installed additional high capacity 4000gph bilge pumps in each hull and 2000gph bilge pumps in each engine compartment.
- Installed LED Spot headlights on each bow to spot “crab pots” when sailing at night.
- Installed “2 person” seats instead of single seat on each bow pulpit
- The boat came with a 220V system in place (as boat was European specs). I added a completely independent 110V system with Xantrex SW3012 charger/inverter. The boat is now capable of operating worldwide with no power issues. I have also added a new house battery bank consisting of 6 Mastervolt Slimline 200amp hour each batteries, giving a total house bank capacity of 1,200amp hours.
What will be your next customization?
Installing a rack protruding off the coach roof back to hold 4 additional solar panels (250 to 285 watts each) and a small solar hot water solar panel to allow for hot water heating without being plugged into shore power or running the engine. Other projects after that are adding a water maker and small washing machine, additional freezer, and an SSB. I really enjoy doing all these projects myself so I fully understand how they operate and can maintain and operate them easily myself. In between all this work we find time to take a relaxing cruise and enjoy all the toys;)
To contact Dave and follow him: http://svcoolrunnings.blogspot.com/