Bavaria USA – Dedicated to the Cruising Life. Innovative modern designs and factory direct sales make the new Bavaria Cruiser and Vision lines remarkably attractive players in the U.S. cruising market by George Day
The day Fletcher Ryan and I took the new Bavaria Vision 42 out for a test sail in Mystic, Connecticut, the flags on the flag poles along the river were flying board flat and the tops of the trees were swaying enthusiastically. The wind was piping and Long Island Sound promised to be bumpy.
Fletcher manages the Bavaria USA sales and charter office in Mystic and is an old hand in the sailing business and an experienced sailor. That was a good thing. We motored down the river and rolled out the mainsail as we got to the sound, opting right away to reef. Next, we rolled out the 110 percent jib and fell off onto a close reach. The V42 put her shoulder down and began to lope through and over the waves as we accelerated to eight plus knots.
We banged around the Sound for an hour or more and I was thoroughly impressed with the way the 42 handled the breeze and the chop. The unique main sheeting system allowed us to perform jibes in the truly windy conditions without breaking a sweat. And the close sheeting angles on the jib made the boat very close winded.
This last quality really came into play when Fletcher and I decided, like two overgrown boys (or sailors), to sail the 42 back up river to the marina along a winding channel with sand flats all along the way and humongous wind puffs making life interesting. The 42 simply ate up the channel. The boat tacked quickly and easily, was able to pinch higher than most cruising boats and when cracked off scooted forward with alacrity. The helm was light and we never had to crank hard on the sheets because the jib is quite small.
I have sailed all of the Bavarias that Bavaria USA has brought into the country but this was the first time in winds over 25 knots and chop over four feet. And this was the first time sailing hard in very tight quarters. In one word, the 42, like her sisterships, which are all Farr designs, is an “awesome” cruising boat to sail.
A NEW CONCEPT
Bavaria Yachtbau has been building cruising boats in Germany since 1978 and over the years the company has made a series of forays into the North America market. Just over three years ago, Bavaria USA was formed by American Kenny Feld, who is the managing director, and the owners of Horizon Yacht Charters in the Caribbean, Andrew Thompson and Sylvia Driver.
The concept behind the company was to create a factory direct sales operation that would allow owners to buy a highly customizable production cruising boat that will be built to their specifications and delivered in a remarkably short span of time. Bavaria Yachtbau’s enormous yacht building facility is capable of mixing and matching features in a new yacht as it moves down the production line. The factory can turn out over a thousand new boats annually and each one can be different and unique. And because of the efficiencies built into the production process, the company can pass along to customers the cost efficiencies of large scale and automated build techniques.
To operate a factory direct sales, service and charter operation regionally across America, Feld and his partners knew they needed regional sales offices. Beginning with the office in Annapolis and with the hire of national sales manager Geoff McCord, they hung out their first sign in June 2011 and launched the business.
Over the last two years, Bavaria USA has opened three more regional offices. They chose Mystic, Connecticut as the site for their New England office because it is halfway between Boston and New York, near the best cruising grounds of Southern New England and Long Island Sound, and well served by both public and private transportation.
In late 2013, they opened a new office in San Diego and immediately tapped into a big sailing market that was ready for their boats. The first six months saw a lot of activity that complimented the efforts in Mystic and Annapolis very well.
Going forward the team will continue to open regional offices in the four corners and central Great lakes areas of the country.
An important part of this strategy and a great benefit to prospective owners are the charter fleets that each locale is setting up. The fleets have several new boats that are on display and ready to sail and they also offer new owners a charter management program that allows them to defray costs with regular charter income.
So, if you are interested in buying a new Bavaria, you can take a sistership out on a charter to see how the boat really functions and then when you decide to make the purchase you can design your own unique boat and have it delivered in about three months.
Bavaria Yachtbau came under new corporate ownership about four years ago and a new management team came aboard to steer the company in a new direction. The team set out to revamp the line and hired Olympic sailor and design industry veteran Daniel Kohl to drive product development.
The result in 2014 is that the company has six new models in its Cruiser line and two new designs in the Vision line. Bavaria went to Farr Yacht Designs to create the new hulls for the fleet and the results are boats that have plenty of volume inside for exceptionally spacious accommodations yet hulls that are also true to the Farr reputation by being fast on all points of sail.
The boats have been set up for family cruising, which often means just two people handling the sheets and lines. Roller furling is available on both the mainsail and jib, and sheets and control lines lead back to the cockpit. With an autopilot steering, one person can handle all sail trim alone.
Design Unlimited LTD. has been engaged to work on the design’s ergonomics and styling. The cockpits have truly been designed for the way we cruise, which is in the cockpit all day with easy access to the water via the huge folding swim platforms aft.
With the platform down, you have a real waterfront patio with comfortable places to recline or dine. Teak trim in the cockpit gives the boats a true yacht style. Teak decks are an option that will add a touch of elegance to the boats.
Down below, the saloon is the center of life with a large dinette and spacious galley. Each of the boats has several optional interiors so you can arrange the sleeping cabins and heads to meet your needs. Also, you can choose the type of wood used for furniture and trim, the style of the wood floor panels underfoot and the type and color of the fabrics on the cushions.
While we see more modern Euro-styling in the new designs coming to the U.S. from Europe, spaces that are often spare and angular, Bavaria has chosen to offer a more traditional vision of yacht styling that embraces the warmth of rich woods with pleasing and comfortable seating and sleeping spaces. Certainly, the elegance that emerges in each boat will hold its style and value for many years to come.
Bavaria Yachtbau has been a pioneer in the advanced building techniques for creating modern fiberglass cruising boats. While the hulls are still solid composite below the waterlines for strength and durability, the hull sections and decks are all cored laminates with high density foam coring for lightness and insulation. Stringers and bulkheads are all securely tabbed into the hull and floor liners to form a monocoque hull that is robust without being too heavy.
German engineering is world famous for quality and innovation and the Bavaria Cruiser and Vision lines of cruising boats live up to that reputation very ably.
For more information contact Bavaria Yachts: 855-222-1122 or log on to www.bavariayachts.com.