Bavaria 32

sail_boat_review-bavaria_32-largeThe new Bavaria Cruiser 32 arrived at Yacht Sales West in Vancouver in early April. Its North American debut will be in Victoria in early May 2010. This is the first in the series of Bavaria cruisers that include a 45 and 55 foot version designed by the well known and wonderfully prolific Farr Yacht design. Teaming up with BMW Group Designworks USA, these new boats are evidence of a new modern direction adopted by Bavaria that combines great looks, solid sailing characteristics, and some neat touches that won’t disappoint.

This boat is a perfect fit for club sailors who cruise with family and friends on weekends but who want to test their race skills during the week. Bavaria is known for building a robust boat and the 32 is made to go and cruise actively.

A few features I liked right away included the end boom sheeting for great sail control, the non overlapping jib and the fractional rig. I would opt for the self tacker option allowing easy upwind sailing with minimal loss in upwind performance.

The new thrust in boat design seems to be geared to balancing look and feel with performance; if the early reports on the 32 are accurate, this boat will be a perfect fit for anyone who wants great value and performance. Early test reports have this boat tracking well upwind, at a respectable 6+ knots in 15 knots of breeze while reaching at a wonderful 7.5+ knots and cruising downwind at 6.5 knots. Easy to accelerate and “wonderfully” responsive describes how the 32 performs.

Standing on the hard at Granville Island, I was blown away by the first neat tweak Bavaria is pioneering. A wonderful drop down (gas strut assisted) transom that provides full coverage under way, a wonderful swim platform at anchor and an even better extended deck ashore at the dock. The cockpit too has wonderful feeling; it’s more like a traditional 36-footer with its seven foot plus seats the double life lines on stanchions that are well tied to the deck. Looking forward, the visibility is great and there is ample space between the rounded coach roof and life lines.

The black side windows are nicely offset by the two large flush mounted black deck hatches. The squared windows are in perfect proportion to the long coach roof and do not dominate at all.

I was surprised at how well done the interior was. The headroom was particularly generous for a boat this size and only outdone by a surprisingly larger than anticipated salon. A large centerline folding table allows the host to seat 6 for dinner easily. The galley (to starboard) is well done (good storage and counter space), it has a two-burner gas top and oven, stainless sink and icebox. A small but very functional navigation station falls to port opposite the galley. The head is perfect with its full stand up shower, larger than anticipated for a boat this size. The interior has several options in finishes but the boat I saw was quite nice with its lighter trim that no doubt contributed to the excessive internal volume feel. Ventilation is easy with seven opening port lights and two hatches.

Forward, the owner’s cabin berth is more than adequate with its double bed configuration. Below the bed numerous drawers allow for some great functional and accessible storage. There is a wardrobe on both sides providing more than enough storage for any long trip. Aft, another large cabin is tucked neatly below the cockpit and accessed by a door on the starboard. It too boasts great storage.

If you want, you can trick out the 32 further by adding in-mast furling (please don’t do that), upgrading the electronics or adding canvas – a must here in Canada. The upcharge will be minimal but will definitely enhance value.

Priced aggressively, the Bavaria 32 Cruiser is a great option for consideration as a super all around boat that will no doubt hold value for years to come. With 130 plus already on the order books its evident this boats quickly carved out reputation will contribute to the success of the Bavaria, BMW and Farr triumvirate.

By John Kerr

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