Lange family and “Spirit of Ponta Preta”

There was a time when my whole being turned into a trance as soon as the leaves were moving in the trees, as I was thinking about the potential windsurf session that I was missing.

March 3, 2023

There was a time when my whole being turned into a trance as soon as the leaves were moving in the trees, as I was thinking about the potential windsurf session that I was missing. I was an avid windsurfer in these days . I always said that the best way to discover unknown spots was on a boat. With age, I realized that the catamaran was a perfect choice, but there was still a problem: how to carry all my stuff? I got the response thanks to Jean-Sebastien and his family who are doing an around the world tour on a Lagoon 450. I am sharing the “Jean-Seb” answer to my problem that I now do not have anymore!

Who are you?

We are a french family – Jean-Sebastien, Marina, Chiara (14 years old) and Nikita (13 years old) – immigrated to Cape Verde in 2000. After 10 years of living on the water and in the Cape Verde waves, we wanted to leave this beautiful country and go sailing around the world in search of wild new destinations, hoping to find the same magic as that of Cape Verde before the tourism invasion of the recent years. We are now homeless and our girls are following their studies thanks to the french distance school.

Why did you choose this boat?

We fell in love for the Lagoon 450 at the International Multihull Boat Show in Lorient in April 2010. The Lagoon 450 seemed to be the perfect compromise between a too big and expensive boat, that would require a lot of maintenance and a smaller one that would not have allowed us to bring all our toys along: surfboards, windsurfing boards, stand up paddle boards, diving equipment, etc.

What kind of changes have you made and why?

We tried to find the possibility of storing all our sports equipment without resorting to the traditional storage along the guardrails. This solution is not 100% secure and on top of that, it blocks the view from the saloon, which is totally idiot while sailing and frustrating at anchor in beautiful places! The idea was to place the equivalent of car roof bars wherever it is possible without disturbing the walkways or sight. Once the “bars” in place, you can load the large boards or boardbags filled with gear. First place is on the opening panel of the bimini. This does not interfere with the passage, still allows to open the roof and offers easy access to the board from the port side deck. We can put a windsurf board or a not too long SUP board (a 7’6″ fits easily).

We have other bars in the aft cockpit to port. There again, you can secure a windsurf board or more surfboards. This is interesting because the location is protected from the wind, so we do not need to strap the board when anchoring. Nevertheless, we put the boards in a boardbag on the front cockpit floor when sailing, so it does not obstruct the access to the fly bridge. On the picture you can see a paddle also finds its place!

There is also plenty of free space on the fly bridge, around the sunbathing area. With time, we realized that we never use this space. So we also placed bars there. As the flybridge is not level, it was necessary to calculate and produce special bars (with legs of different lengths and non-orthogonal bases) so as to obtain parallel bars. For the moment, we have 2 big boardbags (burned by the sun) full of surfing and windsurfing boards, sails, harnesses, extensions, wetsuits, etc…

The bars were positioned so as to be able to install roof boxes (Thule Motion 900), which are currently on order and that we should take delivery of in Papeete. This will reduce the windage due to their aerodynamics but they will also offer plenty of storage (630 liters per box) in watertight boxes, UV resistant, locking with a single opening directly accessible from the sidewalks.

For masts, we have stored 6 RDM masts in two parts under the solar panels. By happy coincidence, the diameter of RDM masts corresponds exactly to the height between the panels and their supports.

Finally, as we still need space on a boat and we do not love to have too many things lurking in the cockpit (even if it is inevitable!), we also customized two Ikea stools. The inside is hollow with a drain at the bottom and can store masks, tubas and other towels. And to avoid damaging the teak floor, we have fitted protection pads at the feet.

What is the estimated cost?

For the bars on the roof, we used 800mm Plastimo handrails: U.S. $ 146 for 2 bars. Bars for aft cockpit handrails are  500mm Plastimo, because there is no place to put a 800mm: U.S. $ 117 for 2 bars. For the 2 x 2 bars on the flybridge, as  they had to be custom made, the price was more expensive: 930 euros for 4 bars (unmounted). All the equipment was purchased in Sint Maarten and Saint Martin. For the roof boxes, the price is very expensive in the Pacific because of  the transportation and taxes (the total cost > € 1000 per box), but it is much cheaper in Europe. As for each stools, the plastic base Ikea costi € 12 and the wooden board, custom cut by a carpenter in Cape Verde, 9 € each.

And what would be your next customization?

Stop! We took lots of shipyard extras (watermaker, genset, electronics, solar panels, sun  awning canvas,gennaker, inverter, washing machine) for a “ready to go” boat. The aim was to avoid too much customization to take our time. Of course, there were a few imperfections at the beginning, but we now have a reliable boat, secure and ready for the Pacific.

We now want to enjoy our time with family and sail in search of magical spots! We were last week in San Blas (where I took a few of the photos as others were taken to Cartagena de Indias) and the Pacific Ocean will open its doors soon. Let’s go for the “virgin waves”!

The adventures of the “Spirit of PontaPreta” and her crew are available online: