REVIEW: BAVARIA CRUISER 33

By: KEVIN GREEN, Photography by: KEVIN GREEN

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  • Trade-A-Boat

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Coastal sailors would do well to consider the improved Bavaria Cruiser 33.

An evolution of the Bavaria 32 hull I sailed in 2010, the Bavaria 33 has significant improvements on the deck and layout over its predecessor. The same sensible two-cabin layout has been retained but improved, while the sail plan has been tweaked by moving the mast slightly forward – enough to make a difference.

 

BAVARIA CRUISER 33

BAVARIA CRUISER 33 SAILING BOAT

Stepping aboard, the deep cockpit with sheltering coamings is a cosy spot with enough space to seat a family or race crew for twilight competition. Bavaria continues with its excellent fold-down transom-cum-swimplatform creating useful extra space at anchor on this small cruiser. Cleverly integrating gas-assisted struts into the hinges, the entire teak-clad transom lowers to become an extension of the deck.

Another improvement over the 32 is a wider coaming for the steerer, who can now sit out comfortably on the teak slats to enjoy race-line views. Near this seating are mouldings for spinnaker winches, but the primaries are a tad too far forward for a comfortable reach from the helm, nearly in line with the 6:1 Rutgerson mainsheet block mounted on the cockpit table which integrates with the Scanstrut moulded binnacle. With space tight I’d probably fit Lewmar’s folding steering wheel here.

Ergonomics are good with power controls facing you, as do the Garmin smarts – GPSMAP 4008 and GHC 10 autopilot with wind instruments on each coaming. The folding table may make dining a squeeze but the bench seating is nicely deep in the cockpit and the portside locker is large enough for a rubber ducky plus plenty more. Overhead, our owners had wisely fitted a bimini with spray dodger, so this boat was fully equipped to go places and with the stainless steel barbecue sitting outboard, to enjoy life when you get there.

 

BELOW DECKS

BAVARIA CRUISER 33 BELOW DECK

The shallow-angled steps ease you inside and the wooden handholds set the tone nicely, demonstrating that age-old Teutonic way of doing things. So despite the high-volume CNC machining production processes used by the Giebelstadt-based factory, the wood finishes feel handcrafted. Solid teak mixed with similar veneers plus sturdily-made cupboards and doors are pleasing to both eye and hand, while rounded joinery makes the saloon a user-friendly place at sea. Also practical is the marine plywood floor with hardwood top laminates but as per modern fashion, bilges are shallow.

The rest of the layout is the same as the 32 with an L-shaped settee to starboard and a smaller one to port adjoining the small chart table. The wooden dinette table has useful drawers and is well supported by being integrated into the compression post, so another good handhold at sea. Garmin’s fairly recent OEM agreement with Bavaria has resulted in its electronics being used throughout, including the VHF; and the house battery is nearby under the port settee.

 

BATHROOM

BAVARIA CRUISER 33 BATHROOM

Behind the portside navigation table is the elongated bathroom with its manual head and there’s even enough space to fit a shower curtain. It’s good to see a traditional wet locker recess moulded like the GRP floor, making it so easy to maintain. Opposite, the L-shaped galley is a good workplace with its double-burner gimballed stove and oven. The composite worktop space extends over the stove with a hinged cover and the deep sink takes full-size dinner plates.

Chilled food has plenty space in the top-opening fridge and there are cupboards now above as well as below, although most non-perishables will require storing in lockers elsewhere and under the couches. The overhead lockers throughout the saloon are also a better use of space than on the previous model.

 

CABINS

BAVARIA CRUISER 33 CABIN

The two-cabin layout has enough living space to accommodate a family with ease. Improvements have been made from the original 32-footer that include the forward bulkhead moved aft to increase space in the previously slightly cramped V-berth, although I’d upgrade the mattress. A clothes locker and similar-sized shelved one take care of luggage plus there’s space below; which on our test boat was shared with the bowthruster.

Natural light and ventilation comes from a single, large central hatch but I’d have preferred LED to halogen lamps.

 

DECK LAYOUT

BAVARIA CRUISER 33 REAR DECK

There’s enough deck space for moving forward, solid stainless steel handholds running along the flat coachroof for support, with a fairly busy bow area leading to the pulpit as the optional bowsprit on our boat deploys the asymmetric spinnaker. There are sizeable cleats all-round including midship ones as well and decent alloy fairleads are more pluses on the 33. 

The horizontal 800W Quick electric windlass has a long chain-drop in the cavernous locker for deep anchoring, and there’s a manual override on it. Above, the Furlex headsail roller reefing system connects to the Selden rig, which also had the in-mast furling option for the factory Elvstrom sails. The alloy rig is supported by outboard chainplates and an adjustable (pulley) backstay plus hard vang.

Nothing fancy with the sheeting or halyard runs and getting my approval as they lead over the coach roof to jammers both sides, where a pair Lewmar 15s do the muscle work. For sheeting, inboard primary tracks on the coachroof close the slot nicely, as we found out at sea. The in-mast furling does compromise the mainsail but gives ease of reefing from the cockpit, a major plus for shorthanded cruising couples and Selden’s systems are proved performers at this. Overall, a straightforward sail plan on the 33, which I personally like.

 

SAILING

BAVARIA CRUISER 33 SALING

The owner of our review boat had previously swung on a mooring and found marina living rather daunting, hence the need for a bowthruster, which came into use as the crosswinds threatened to knock our bow against a rather expensive-looking vessel.

Clearing Middle Harbour I motored gently past the kayakers, paddle boarders and other craft with only a low murmur from the upgraded 28hp Volvo Penta saildrive that pushed us along easily. I slowed to allow my shipmate Andy Howden, manager of Ensign Ship Brokers Sydney, to winch the mainsail outhaul on the coachroof, then I turned us leeward before unlocking the deck jammer to unfurl the genoa. With both jobs done in minutes we were on our way without dramas, just as it should be on an entry-level cruising yacht.

Passing Middle Head we hardened-up, Andy tightening the genoa while I stretched forward to grab a handful of mainsheet before sitting out on the comfy teak-slatted coaming. Without a mainsheet track, adjustment is a wee bit limited but the aft location did allow us to put some twist in the mainsail and our performance was sparkling, climbing to an impressive 35 degrees in the 18.1kts breeze giving 7.2kts of speed on the GPS. All the while the 33 was doing very well in the lumpy conditions, aided by the folding two-bladed propeller minimising drag.

A safe amount of weather helm added to the generally balanced feel of the steering, while the hull felt stable enough as the gusts bore down on us from North Head. Another benefit from the fairly balanced helm with deep spade rudder attached was less pressure and power required from the Garmin autopilot, which I periodically clicked as I wrote my notes.

Tacking was also a drama-free affair, me winding the windward sheet while Andy freed the leeward during the turn, as we zigzagged through Sydney Heads. The Bavaria retained her sea-kindly motion in the larger swells as I reluctantly turned for home with thoughts about my own future cruising plans and how this competent cruiser could well fit into them. 

 

THE VERDICT

BAVARIA 33 SAILING YACHT

The Bavaria Cruiser 33 is a refined pocket cruiser with a user-friendly sail plan giving sparkling performance and making the Bavaria Cruiser 33 a small yacht with big credibility.

 

HIGHS

  • Overall design and layout
  • Simple sail plan
  • Protected cockpit

 

LOWS

  • Intruding aft cabin bulkhead
  • Main hatch saloon doors

 

 

BAVARIA CRUISER 33 SPECIFICATIONS

PRICE AS TESTED

$219,000

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Garmin electronics including autopilot, upgraded 28hp engine, Quick bowthruster, in-mast furling, and bowsprit 

 

PRICED FROM

$169,000

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL GRP

TYPE Cruising keelboat

LENGTH 9.99m overall

BEAM 3.42m

DRAFT 1.95m (1.5m shoal)

 

CAPACITIES

PEOPLE (NIGHT) 4

WEIGHT 5200kg (inc. 1300kg ballast)

FUEL 150lt

WATER 150lt

 

ENGINE

MAKE/MODEL Volvo Penta D120

RATED HP 18; 28 optional

 

SAILS

MAINSAIL 29m²

GENOA 22m² (106 per cent)

GENNAKER 70m²

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

Visit ensignbrokers.com.au; bavariasail.com.au

 

LAYOUT 

BAVARIA CRUISER 33 TOP DECK LAYOUT

BAVARIA CRUISER 33 LOWER DECK LAYOUT

See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #450, March / April 2014. Why not subscribe today?

Find Bavaria boats for sale.

 


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