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Bavaria Cruiser 32 Boat Review

Boat Review Date: November 2010
Author: Mike Brown

If I had not been told, I would not have known I was boarding a Bavaria: this one looked like something off the Farr drawing board. And it had more presence on the water than you expect a boat called a 32 to have. I was wrong about the length – it is indeed a 32-footer – but right about the Farr. Bavaria, under new management, is rolling out new designs.

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The interior, which is also non-traditional Bavaria, was styled by BMW, Bavaria’s more famous neighbours. There is a whole new direction here.

I had the review boat’s owner with me; he had taken delivery six weeks earlier and had apparently spent every hour not at work or asleep on board. His plan was cruising – progressively more serious – and he had committed to two years racing to thoroughly get to know his boat. He was learning fast: he had already won the Commodore’s Cup, and had taken a first and fastest in an individual race. I took his word that he had a fast boat.

He happily showed me the features that had won him and his wife. Generous headroom everywhere; a bathroom big enough for a hanging locker  - and to bend over to pick up dropped soap; both fore and aft cabins with generous length bunks and masses of storage space; and, fairly unusual in a boat this size, the galley is well and truly capable of producing hearty cruising meals. Cleverly avoiding the use of separate fiddle rails, a grab rail surrounds the galley surfaces and does two jobs well.

The dining part of the saloon has a table with folding flaps. It has an L-shaped settee on one side and a straight one on the other; seven could sit down to dinner. The table has a bin in it capable of holding nine bottles of wine, and drawers besides. Another table in the saloon is for charts. Shrunken from the glory days of chart tables, it is still bigger than needed: the dining table could handle open paper charts.

The whole space is light, with pale timber lining and plenty of opening windows - equipped with shades and fly wire. A couple could happily live aboard this boat permanently.

The cockpit could handle as many people to dinner as the saloon – around a similar folding table with wine bin. Outside meal hours it is a good working space; the main sheet (no traveller) anchors onto a fitting within the table – there are no other intrusions into the open space. The absence of traveller means the companionway can be long and clear and, a further convenience, instead of a lifting fashion board has a pair of doors. This allows a spacious access with sculpted treads and abundant handgrips.

The wheel cramps access aft from the cockpit. At anchor this is quickly removed (a winch handle plays the spanner role), and it lets you reach the vast swim platform - formed by lowering most of the transom. Also here is a hot and cold shower, and in the opposite quarter a pullout emergency rope ladder for man overboard occasions.

The 32 has an option of a self-tacking jib, but the review boat had the slightly overlapping genoa in a near-masthead rig. It is carried on a powerfully supported mast with well-swept spreaders and a wide shroud base. In a change from the general simplicity theme, the backstay tension is adjustable by a rope purchase.

We had a fine sailing day, kicking off at around 15 knots and stiffening; had we stayed out any longer we would probably have shortened sail. With our full canvas we saw eight knots come up on the GPS. The Bavaria handled the conditions well: at 25 percent the ballast ratio is not high, but the 1.95m draught gives the iron keel a long lever arm and we stood up well to the gusts.

The fresh breeze let us assess how much the 32 missed having a traveller. It turned out to be not at all: the solid vang kept the boom completely under control when the mainsheet was eased.

All the standard cruising features were present and correct: lazy jacks and bag and furling headsail, spray dodger and Bimini, and an 18hp Volvo with Saildrive that demonstrated plenty of punch when parking in the pen.

The 32 is enough boat to make new boat buyers consider something smaller than they had originally had in mind.


Base price                $170,000

Length overall          9.99m

Hull length               9.75m

Beam                      3.42m

Draught                   1.95m

Hull weight               5.2T

Ballast                     1.3T

Sail area                  51msq

Engine                       18hp Volvo Saildrive diesel

Fuel capacity                        150L

Fresh water               150L

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