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JOHN ZAMMIT finds form follows function on the latest sportscruiser from Bavaria

Bavaria Sport 34

There's a lot of competition in the sportscruiser market these days, especially in the 28- to 40-foot bracket. Manufacturers wanting to make an impact need to be innovative, have points of difference, or risk being just another me-too.

For the past couple of years, Germany's largest boatbuilder Bavaria Yachtbau has been working with the design team from BMW DesignworksUSA, a subsidiary of the BMW Group, to provide a fresh look to its sportscruisers.

The Sport 28, launched late in 2009, marked the beginning of this new shift. It was followed by the Sport 38 in 2010, and now the Sport 34 has landed on our shores.

The most obvious points of difference in the Sport 34 lie in its bold appearance and value for money. But that's not where the story ends, throw in dynamic sports-handling, functionality and spaciousness and you start to get an appreciation why it's already been as the European Powerboat of the Year. The judging criterion for this prestigious award includes safety standards, quality, handling, driving characteristics, space layout, and value for money.

Styled like its larger sistership, the Sport 38 (tested in Trade-a-Boat issue 413), the 34 is a nicely proportioned boat with the same spoon bow, high freeboard and forward-facing targa arch. These combine to give the Sport 34 a chic, European look that stands out from the crowd.

Our test boat was fitted with an optional bimini, which extended forward and aft of the targa arch, but there's also a hardtop version now available.




With the Bavaria Sport range it's almost a case of "if you've seen one, you've seen them all" because the Sport 28, 34 and 38 look alike and are essentially scaled versions of each other. This isn't a bad thing, as Bavarias are easily identified and, as the saying goes, "when you're on a good thing, stick to it".

As with all the boats in the Sport range, the cockpit on the 34 makes clever use of all the available space and includes U-shape seating around a table for six, a forward-facing observer's seat adjacent the helm, a large sunpad aft and a second sunpad that Bavaria calls a "wellness lounge". It's forward on the port side and makes use of an area behind the windscreen that would otherwise be wasted space.

Adding to the livability and entertainment aspect is an inbuilt wetbar incorporated in the cockpit that's fitted with a sink (cold-water only), optional electric grill and a 12V fridge. There's also a huge aft swimplatform with telescopic ladder and a hot/cold shower on the stern. The test boat had an optional gas barbecue attached to a rail on the transom.




Power comes from twin Volvo Penta 4.3 GXi petrol engines, developing 225hp each and hitched to Aquamatic Duoprop sterndrives. This combination seems a good match to this hull and the Sport 34 easily got up and out of the hole to cruising speed.

These Volvo Penta engines are the latest technology and are able to accommodate the optional Volvo EVC (Electronic Vessel Control). While this feature wasn't fitted to the test boat, EVC provides advanced telemetry to the helm for things like speed, tank levels, water temperature, fuel usage, and trip. The throttle controls are also the latest and greatest from Volvo Penta and they're able to incorporate optional cruise control, trim assist, and even a joystick-docking feature.

The Sport 34 is a really nice boat to drive from the comfortable helm position, where the view forward is commanding through the wraparound windscreen. She handles well, even when thrown around into tight turns and serpentines - as we're prone to do on our tests - remaining surefooted and precise. It's all very responsive with a genuine sporty feel.

Sea conditions on the day were good with just a slight chop, but even coming back at speed through our own wash there was no water over the bow. This hull, designed by naval architects Hans-Peter Petersen and Dieter Blank (Blank-Peterson Yacht Design & Engineering) rides well and could certainly handle a lot more than we threw at her on the day.




At a shade over 35 feet long overall, this is a nice-size boat that would suit a couple or a family wanting a social daycruiser and occasional weekender somewhere along the coast.

The accommodation below decks is surprisingly spacious, though somewhat staid - more function and practicality rather than glitz and glamour - with excellent headroom of 1.9m in the saloon. There are two cabins, one in the bow fitted with a large double V-berth and the other with twin beds that can be converted to a double.

The roomy saloon incorporates L-shaped seating around a table and the galley opposite is fitted with a double-bowl sink, twin electric hotplates, microwave oven and 12V refrigeration. The combined head and shower room is conveniently located at the foot of the steps leading down from the cockpit.

With a total of six deck hatches, six hull portlights and a cockpit-window below decks, there's plenty of light and ventilation. Clever and efficient use of space also means that storage and hanging space is plentiful.

Access to the engineroom is via an electrically-operated hatch aft in the cockpit and getting in means clambering down over the engine. I'm told there is a ladder but it's optional and my thoughts are that it should be a standard. Once in, there's plenty of room to get around and everything is housed neatly and securely.

There is a battery charger that comes standard but an inverter and/or a generator are options (neither fitted to the test boat). If you're thinking of using the 34 as a weekender, one or the other is the first option to tick; a close second would be air-conditioning.

Water and fuel tanks are located forward of the engines for better balance and large inspection hatches in the top of the fuel tank come in handy if ever there's a problem.

Getting to the foredeck by side decks, which are understandably a bit narrow on a boat this size, is safe and easy to navigate all the same. This is thanks to the bowrail extending well aft and supported by plenty of handholds. Nice big cleats were fitted to the deck, which to me is always a mark of a serious boat. The clean foredeck has flush deck hatches and the anchor winch is recessed under a hatch.

Overall, I think this is a boat with all the fundamentals: it looks sensational and stands out from the crowd; it performs well and has ample room to cater for friends and family; but it's not glitzy compared to some of the competition (especially out of the US. And that's reflected in the pricing, too.




(Facts & figures) BAVARIA SPORT 34




I regard 24kts at 3500rpm as a comfortable cruise-speed. At that rate, we were using around 70lt/h of fuel, and with a fuel capacity of 520lt, that means short coastal hops are well within range. If you really want to get somewhere in a hurry, though, you can ramp her up to WOT (4800rpm) for a top speed in the order of 34kts. The catch is that fuel usage almost doubles, but if you're racing a storm front, who cares?








Twin 225hp Volvo Penta 4.3 GXi,  

RPM         KTS            FUEL BURN (per engine)
610           3                2.6lt/h
1020         5                4.5lt/h
1495         6.9             7.7lt/h
2010         8.6             13.5lt/h
2485         9.6             23lt/h
2990        15.6            31lt/h
3490        23               35.5lt/h
4000        27.8            44.5lt/h
4500        32.1            60.5lt/h
4700        33.8            68lt/h
4825        34.8            69lt/h

* Official sea-trial data supplied by Ensign Ship Brokers




Raymarine C90 GPS-plotter, fixed swimplatform, cockpit refrigerator, cockpit grill, larger water tank (250lt), cockpit table and wetbar, solid wood joinery, camper covers, shower in head, electric toilet with holding tank, microwave, hot-water service, battery charger, and more








TYPE: Monohull
LENGTH OVERALL: 11.7m (w/ swimplatform) 
BEAM: 3.59m 
DRAFT: 1.15m (leg down); 0.7m (leg up)
WEIGHT: 6200kg (dry)




MAKE/MODEL: 2 x Volvo Penta 4.3 GXi
TYPE: Fuel-injected petrol V6
RATED HP: 225 (each)




FUEL: 520lt 
WATER: 120lt std; 250lt on test boat  




Ensign Ship Brokers,
Suite 2, Smiths Marina, The Spit,
81 Parriwi Road,
Mosman, NSW, 2088
Phone: 02 9960 2799
Fax: (02) 9960 2911




With the Sport 34 it's very much a case of you deciding what's important and what's not. You can add options like inverter or generator for serious cruising. Or you can keep it simple and save money. But the chic looks are included in the standard price.


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