BOAT TEST BAVARIA SPORT 35

By: JAMES NICHOLS, Photography by: BARRY ASHENHURST

Presented by
  • Trade-A-Boat

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There are some great things to have come out of Bavaria — BMW, Adidas, Wagner and Strauss, Oktoberfest, lederhosen — and although landlocked in southeast Germany, some equally great boats. James Nicholls samples the Bavaria Sport 35, just another from the best of the Bavarian bootsbau.

BOAT TEST BAVARIA SPORT 35
BAVARIA SPORT 35

Bavaria Yachtbau GmbH has been building high-quality sailing yachts and motorboats on its assembly lines in Giebelstadt since 1976. It has gained a worldwide reputation, with more than 30,000 boats produced of which more than 85 per cent have been exported. Motorboat production accounts for 40 per cent of the company's output in a range from 28 feet up to more than 40 feet.

On a beautiful sunny, spring day on Sydney Harbour, we tested the Bavaria Sport 35 supplied by the Australian Bavaria agent at Ensign Ship Brokers located at the famous Spit Bridge.



UNSOLICITED OPINION

While the Ensign team was preparing for the cameras, I got chatting, as one does, with an interested-looking chap on the jetty. Roger had just signed-up to take delivery of his new boat before Christmas and told me his reasons why.

"This is the fifth boat we have bought since 1978 and the third one from new. All our previous boats have been locally-built flybridge cruisers," said Roger.

"This time we wanted to have a non-flybridge, hardtop, single-level cruiser, so Rosie and I and family and friends can all be together when cruising.

"We did some research first and then visited the floating marina at the Sydney boat show," Roger added, elaborating that they had checked out a local market leader, two French offerings, an American boat and this German one. By their own assessment they felt the European boats had a lot of style and immediate dock appeal, plus sterndrives for more internal volume.

"We were particularly impressed with Bavaria's design, build quality and use of space," continued Roger.

"In conjunction with the local distributor, we were able to customise the boat to our needs and opted for an economical twin-diesel engine setup, with a bowthruster and extended bathing platform.

"The final decision was made easier for us by the current favourable exchange rate, and we were also impressed with the open-book approach and easy manner of director Andy Howden and his colleague Ian Sherwood. In the current climate the value proposition offered by Bavaria is unbeatable," said Roger.

So with my appetite well and truly whetted it was time to take a closer look at what all the fuss was about, drop the lines and get down to business onboard the Bavaria Sport 35.



SHIPSHAPE

The Sport 35 offers excellent accommodation for a small family or friends boating together, which is most apparent in the cockpit and on deck. This boat is comfortable and Bavaria has listened to feedback from its agents, distributors and owners in order to deliver a product focussed in the best direction.

Everything has its place and there is a place for everything, especially if one opts for - and as fitted to our test boat - the extended bathing platform. This gives virtually an extra metre in length overall and enhances the feeling of being on a bigger craft. This perception of size and space has been cleverly achieved by maximising efficiency and opportunity, for instance in allowing seatbacks to become lounge extensions in the cockpit.

The interior also feels spacious in part due to its excellent cross-flow ventilation and the natural light flooding the cabins - the test boat itself well-furnished and beautifully fitted out. The standard is very high, and, if the mahogany look pictured is not to your taste, fret not, an extensive range of upholstery options and alternative interior wood fittings is available.

There is a very commodious and private cabin in the forepeak, where, behind a solid top-to-bottom mahogany bulkhead, owners are greeted by a big double bed with plenty of space around it to move about.



GERMAN GENEROSITY

The main saloon with 1.9m of headroom is also liberal in size and with multiple storage options. The L-shaped galley is well appointed and offers a double stainless steel sink, which also has an easy-clean ceramic stove top. Unfortunately a lack of extra fiddles may make cooking underway impractical unless the unobtrusively-mounted microwave is used. The overall feel of comfort and quality is maintained in the sizeable heads and also in the aft cabin.

This aft cabin situated on the port side contains two single berths, which can be converted into a double berth. Here again there is plenty of good stowage space - lockers, racks, wardrobes and various other compartments. In warm weather there are also good alternatives for sleeping on deck on the comfortably upholstered settee and sunpad.

Looking at the boat in greater detail and with an inquisitive eye, one finds signs of the technical expertise in the design and construction of the Bavaria. Behind lockers, under the floor, in the engine bay; there is evidence that this boat will withstand forces far beyond those an owner would undertake in normal circumstances. Indeed, I am informed that it can take up to 8 on the Beaufort scale, or some 40-knot winds and 4m seas.



ECONOMIES OF SCALE

Despite all this comfort, style, standard of quality and sound construction Bavaria boats are very well priced. This is no doubt due in part to the company's use of assembly lines and conveyor production allowing it to enjoy economies of scale perhaps not available to some other manufacturers.

But this is a soft top sportsboat and that should mean one thing: fun on the water! So, it is time to stop looking into every nook and cranny of this well-designed 35-footer and get out on the harbour and see what it can do.



TRACK TESTING

My first impression from the jetty of a tall boat looking a little stolid is quickly dispelled when we are on the move. The helming position is excellent and visibility is good, which is nice to have for manoeuvring in tight spots or to keep a good lookout on the harbour on a busy Saturday afternoon, when every man and his seadog are out and flying about.

The sporty steering wheel is adjustable and there is a sturdy foot brace to help you find your most comfortable position. All the mod cons are fitted and the options on the test boat include bowthrusters and joystick. Perhaps these extras are not entirely necessary on a boat this size but are nice toys to have.

Driving the Sport 35 on the wheel is what I want to experience though. The hull pushes water nicely and there is plenty of power on tap through the twin five-litre MerCruiser petrol engines (Volvo Penta diesels are available should this be your preference). I did feel the Sport 35 was a little sluggish on the transition, but I think this was only because its bottom needed a good scrub. Once on the plane though I could feel the grin on my face start to spread even wider than the flat wake behind us - due to the beautiful handling from the Z-drive and hydraulic steering. In fact it felt almost as if I was driving a big skiboat, so perfect are the Bavaria Sport 35's manners and responsiveness to the helm.

The hull is of a very rigid construction providing lots of security in heavier weather, but the ride is soft and pleasant without the slam of some other boats. Response to the throttle, too, was instant and with a little practice I quickly became used to this Bavaria's handling characteristics. Fun on the water it certainly provided and I would say that this craft provides the same sort of thrills and enjoyment of a boat one step in a class size above. From my driving position I was able to operate the anchor from the helm (in fact the only position except in emergency or mechanical failure).



STROLLING TOPSIDES

Having parked in a sheltered spot I took the opportunity to venture farther forward on the foredeck and take another good look around. The wide sidedeck walkways from the cockpit provide easy access for even the clumsiest, with a good stainless steel handrail to hold on to if you are caught off guard by the swell. On the foredeck is a very relaxing upholstered double sunlounge area immediately ahead of the security glass windscreen.

The sun was getting quite high in the sky now so I returned to the cockpit to take advantage of the double bimini tops, which provide excellent shelter even at speed. With the optional extended platform coupled to the standard swimplatform the cockpit area is of considerable size, even with the Aussie barbecue on the rear rail. There is also a warm and cold deck shower plus a telescopic bathing ladder. Plenty of seating is available too and this can be variously configured, one ingenious seat can be forward- or rear-facing depending upon whether you are underway or stopped for lunch and an afternoon swim.



OPTIONS APLENTY

There is a plethora of options and packages available to allow owners to create the boat that suits them and their own needs. Teak on the cockpit floor for instance, an engine bay ladder, multimedia and entertainment options, hood covers in a variety of colours, as of course is the upholstery - the list goes on and on.

A quick look under the hydraulic engine hatch reveals a swathe of typical German engineering, all well laid out and easily accessible. Safety again is not forgotten with a CE fire extinguishing system installed as standard for peace of mind.



THE VERDICT

Look for the Bavaria Sport 35, the latest iteration of the boat we tested this day, it will be on our shores by now. It has had a name change, has improved interior natural light due to bigger side windows and is available with coloured hull options.





[HIGHS]

› Superb performance and handling characteristics

› Excellent accommodation

› Quality construction and engineering

› Multiple interior upholstery and timber packages

› Well priced

› Extensive options throughout



[LOWS]

› Stove could do with extra fiddles





[TRADE-A-BOAT SAYS… ]

I am impressed by the Bavaria Sport 35 and its ease of handling, and as we rush along I chat easily with Andy Howden of Ensign Ship Brokers about his company's philosophy of long-term relationships. They offer a range of Australia-wide aftersales support and service centres that are available for all Bavaria products. It is not just about selling the boats but about keeping the owners happy once they have been sold a Bavaria, though that should not be too difficult a task with the quality of boats on offer.





Specifications: BAVARIA SPORT 35





PRICE AS TESTED

$297,000



PRICED FROM

$230,000



GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP

TYPE Planing monohull

LENGTH 10.8m (overall); 10.28m (hull)

BEAM 3.59m

DRAFT 0.7m (legs raised); 1.15m (legs lowered)

WEIGHT Approx 6200kg (dry)



CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (DAY) 8

PEOPLE (NIGHT) 4

FUEL 520lt

WATER 150lt



ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL 2 x MerCruiser 5.0l MPI DTS

TYPE Petrol V8

RATED HP 260 (each)

DISPLACEMENT 5lt (each)

FUEL SYSTEM MPI



SUPPLIED BY

Ensign Ship Brokers,

Smiths Marina, The Spit,

2/81 Parriwi Road,

Mosman, NSW, 2088

Phone: (02) 9960 2799

Fax: (02) 9960 2911

Web: www.ensignbrokers.com.au

 

Originally published in Trade-a-Boat magazine #436, February 2013.

Find Bavaria boats for sale.

 


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