BOAT TEST: BAVARIA CRUISER 55

By: ALLAN WHITING

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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Bavaria’s flagship Cruiser 55 keelboat offers apartment-style living and a one-tender garage. ALLAN WHITING scores a ride

BOAT TEST: BAVARIA CRUISER 55
Bavaria Cruiser 55

Bavaria Yachts may have it figured out: if people want to take their apartment to sea - including the garage - why not make it easy for them. The tricky bits have been making this bulk look good and perform well and those tasks fell to the combined talents of Farr Yacht Design and BMW DesignworksUSA.

If a Bavaria Cruiser 55 was given a female name and could speak she'd almost certainly ask: "Does my bum look big?" Honest blokes would answer, "Yes," and be condemned to live in the boat's commodious garage as punishment! Certainly, the first impression one gains of the Bavaria Cruiser 55 on approaching its stern-to berth is the freeboard height and width of its ample rump. With a teak-faced swimplatform powered to the horizontal the garage shows off its ability to house a 3m tender, with outboard in place, along with room for additional water toys.

Cockpit access from the platform would test high-jumper Steve Hooker, so there's a teak-stepped folding ladder incorporated in the mechanism. The aft cockpit seat slides forward, making an intermediate step, to ease access and, after the twin steering wheels are spun off their hubs, can slide fully forward to the cockpit table. This seat also doubles as a gangplank for use at Euro-style moorings.

About 10 people can sprawl around the double-sinked, drop-side cockpit table that has liferaft storage underneath. The dinghy can work as a backup icebox, with access via a cockpit sole hatch!

Other clever touches in the cockpit are a pair of simple, lift-up helm floors that cancel boat heel for the steerer and fuel and water fillers that are housed in a teak-covered sump, so spillage can't mar the deck surface.

 

 

OUT FOR A BLAST


Extracting the big boat from its marina home presented a somewhat daunting task, given a crosswind and tight berth, but some judicious use of bowthruster kept the nose aligned as we dropped lines and headed through a short chop. Ample engine thrust via a four-blade folding prop soon had us in clear water, where we unfurled the working sails.

We were blessed with a 15kts nor'easter in Pittwater, gusting to around 20kts, with typical shifts of 20 degrees or more. The Bavaria Cruiser 55 heeled gently into the stiff breeze and was soon romping along at 8.5kts, heading at 40 to 45 degrees. With the boom dropped slightly off centre line, the helm was almost neutral, with some rim loading as the puffs hit. We deliberately over-sheeted the main, but failed to get the leeward deck wet.

With outhaul and sheets eased to a reach, the Bavaria Cruiser 55 clocked up an effortless 9.3kts and still the Broken Bay swells couldn't dampen the decks. The cockpit height ensures great vision for a seated helmsperson and crew, without blind spots.

The yacht can be specified with a self-tacking headsail, but the boys at North South Yachting reckon the slightly overlapping genoa is a much better working sail, particularly in concert with the necessarily flattish furling mainsail.

Off the wind, the test boat showed its ability under code zero power. The sail came out of a cavernous forward locker and was hoisted and furled, while being tacked to an extended bow fitting. Rapid furling gear on the code zero made it easy to gybe the boat and then unfurl the sail on the new gybe. Simple for a small crew.

Moving around the broad expanse of the Bavaria Cruiser 55's deck while sailing hard needed some care, because the lifelines felt relatively low, given that you're stooped and walking a considerable distance from cockpit to bow! Fortunately, there's almost nothing to trip over thanks to near-flush hatches - totally flush with optional teak-deck facings - and a low coachouse profile. Even the folding dodger tucks flush under hinged, anti-slip FRP panels.

A carbon-fibre pole was stored vertically on the mast and lowered into place for poling out the headsail or code zero.

At a RRP of $527,942 ($567,317 with the NSY Pack) the Cruiser 55 is an awful lot of boat for the money.

 

 

 

(QuickSpecs)
BAVARIA CRUISER 55

 

 

HANDLING NOTES


Powered sheet winches made light work of tacking both jib and main. Some big yachts feel huge, but the Bavaria flagship could be spun quickly through tacks and gybes, belying its bulk. Using autopilot 90-degree tacking it would be possible to sail the Bavaria Cruiser 55 singlehanded.

 

 

PRICE AS TESTED


$567,317 with the NSY Pack

 

 

GENERAL


MATERIAL:
TYPE: Keelboat
LENGTH OVERALL: Approx 16.75m
WATERLINE LENGTH: Approx 14.96m
BEAM: Approx 4.87m
DRAFT: 2.35m (standard keel); 1.9m (shoal keel)
WEIGHT: 17,200kg (dry)

 

 

CAPACITIES


FUEL: 380lt
WATER: 700lt
CABINS: 3, 4 or 5

 

 

ENGINE


MAKE/MODEL: Yanmar 4JH4-THE diesel
RATED HP: 110

 

 

SAILS


TOTAL: Approx 145m² (w/ standard headsail)

 

 

FOR MORE INFO…


North South Yachting
Phone: (02) 9998 9600
Email: info@northsouthyachting.com.au
Websites: www.northsouthyachting.com.au; www.bavaria-yachtbau.com

 

 

TRADEABOAT SAYS…


Although its design rationale is obviously cruising, the Bavaria Cruiser 55 should make a useful club social racer, too. It won't be disgraced in twilight fleets, particularly if the pole arrangement adopted on the test boat is employed for easy square running.

 

Find Bavaria boats for sale.

 


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