Written by Robin Ball
Photos courtesy of BAVARIA Yachtbau GmbH.
A no nonsense boat for no nonsense cruising.
Bavaria Yachts pride themselves in their German traditions of craftsmanship, efficiency, and excellence in quality, engineering and performance. Like many German manufacturers they strive to continuously improve. Efficiency and precision are enhanced at Bavaria through the use robotic automation in the manufacturing process. The company was a pioneer in using assembly line techniques in yacht production. In conjunction with Farr Yacht Design, the Bavaria design team create laminate and reinforcement plans for each design based on individual yacht load profiles. The result is a structural bulkhead which gets fitted into the hull to very precise tolerances. You can see pieces of this structure in storage compartments. The hull and deck are made of a sandwich construction with foam inserts. Aluminum reinforcing is applied within the deck where fitting are mounted. The surface layers of the hull use IPA resins which are preferred in marine applications to provide superior water resistance and osmosis protection. The hull and deck joint is screwed and glued together. The result is a superior product well suited to its target market.
The Cruiser 37 is promoted by Bavaria as a very fast cruiser with an abundance of space below deck. In the test boat, 2 cabin layout this is true. There is also a 3 cabin layout. What struck me about the interior was the simple, modern styling. There were very few gadgets or quirks, just efficient space with quality fit and finish.
White leatherette upholstery, white headliner and white batten styled hull liner, large hatches and abundant lighting give the interior spaciousness. Mahogany cabinetry and Ocean Line flooring warm the appearance. A large centerline salon table includes two drawers in the aft end of the pedestal. The L shaped galley at the foot of the companionway to starboard has plenty of cupboard space. In the galley are a two-burner propane stove with oven, a top access cooler with compressor, double stainless steel sinks and Corian countertops. Large deep bench and bilge lockers provide additional storage space. If you would prefer a different look Bavaria offers three wood types and finishes, three hull liner styles, four flooring styles and a choice of six fabrics, three leatherettes or three genuine leathers for upholstery.
To port of the companionway, the head included a manual toilet, a separated shower and again a Corian counter and stainless steel sink. The chart table, electrical and electronics systems are just forward of the head. Simple, no nonsense, practical use of space. In the forward V-berth and in the aft cabin the test boat had mocca (dark brown) hull liners. Both berths could sleep two with the aft berth crosswise under the cockpit. The forward berth had far more storage space due to the under berth lockers. The aft berth had an opening side port and an opening cockpit port.
The cockpit is comfortable for four and more with teak seats and generous coamings. The large centreline teak cockpit table has a molded recess in the aft end of its pedestal to accommodate a chartplotter. Teak flooring and stone coloured Sunbrella for the dodger and bimini complete the look of the cockpit. Twin wheels keep the helm off the centreline providing easier access to the cockpit from the large manual drop transom / teak swim platform. Getting on board this reasonably high freeboard boat is easier across this drop transom. The swim platform boarding ladder is stored in the port lazarette and for good reason…if you ever need to get in or out of this space. This lazarette is huge and deep as it occupies some of the space which would be the optional third cabin. There is a shallow locker under the starboard cockpit bench.
There are generous gates both port and starboard just forward of the cockpit. Each is equipped with a pair of sturdy arched (double) stanchions for support. The pulpit is split for easy access forward to the delta anchor. The anchor roller is equipped with a bail to attach the tack of the optional gennaker. There is an electric windlass and 50 meters of 08 mm chain. The deck is moulded diamond (Lego) non-skid. There is also a pair of mid-ship spring line cleats. The toe rail is solid (no holes) aluminum with open channel fairleads for mooring lines.
The genoa tracks are well inboard and forward on the coach top. Like most modern cruisers this boat is mainsail driven. The 105% genoa represents 27 square meters of the 68 square meter sail plan. The mainsheet on this boat is an inverted V bridle, mounted mid-boom forward of the dodger. This eliminates the mainsheet traveller. The mainsheet is led to forward to the mast and the back to stoppers and Lewmar Evo 30 – 2 speed, aluminum drum, self-tailing winches on the coach roof. The mainsheet is double ended and both ends get tossed down the companionway out of the cockpit. There is no mid cockpit clutter. A Selden rigid vang helps to control mainsail shape off the wind. A robust backstay tensioner helps to rake the mast and flatten the main upwind.
On the coaming, the test boat had one pair of Lewmar Evo 40 – 2 speed, aluminum drum, self-tailing winches although mounting pads exist for optional secondary winches. These winches were set in the forward position, well out of reach of the helm stations. As a result, this configuration of both the main and genoa sheets would not be suitable for a single handed cruiser/racer, but would provide good working space for crew away from the helm. If this is a negative, don’t discount this design just yet. Bavaria states in their promotional material that every owner can have fittings and trimming options adapted for their personal sailing style during construction. In all likelihood sheets could be led aft and the primary winches mounted in the aft position which with stoppers would allow for reasonably convenient short-handed sailing.
On our test day the wind was blowing 10 – 14 knots true from the south-west giving us a foot to one and a half foot chop. The boat came equipped with the optional Volvo-Penta D1-30 Saildrive. Heading out of the harbour the ride was smooth and quiet. The Saildrive provided plenty of power, taking us above 6 knots with ease once we were out of the harbour. The in-mast furling main and the genoa on a Furlex drum deployed easily. Under full sail we were close-hauled at 17 kn. 33-35 degrees off the apparent wind (45 degrees true). The helm was balanced with a 10 degree heel and we were making a top speed 7.2 kn. Cracked off to 50 degrees apparent (60 – 65 true) we were up to 7.6 kn and peaked an 8.0. Thanks to the small jib and the inboard sheeting positions the visibility forward was good. Again the helm was balanced, shading to a wee bit of lee helm. On a beam reach with a true wind of 9.9 kn we hit 5.8 kn. Down to 140 degrees off the wind we were still achieving 3.9 kn in 10.4 true wind. The test boat had the shallow draft keel. Tacks were quick and responsive. Having a small genoa and no jack stay, there was no interference or delay bringing the genoa over and very little sheet to bring in. The bridled mainsheet makes for very controlled gybes. By tightening the main as if closehauled, the boom has very little room to flop.
This was almost perfect sailing conditions, at all times this boat was solid and responsive. This Bavaria Cruiser 37 has plenty of space and all the essentials for a good sailing experience, packaged in a well designed, well equipped and well built product. Ordered from Bavaria, a purchaser can effectively customize their new yacht.
Specification / Technical Data Metric Imperial
Length overall 11.30 m 37′
Length hull 10.90m 35′ 9″
Length waterline 10.22 m 33′ 6″
Beam overall 3.67 m 12′
Draught standard 1.95 m 6′ 5″
Draught Shallow option 1.63 m 5′ 4″
Displacement 7,000kg 15432 lbs
Ballast 2,080kg 4585 lbs
Engine, Volvo-Penta Saildrive D1-20 / D1-30
Engine power 14 / 21 kW 19 / 28 HP
Fuel tank (approx.) 150 l 33 gal.
Water tank (approx.) 210 l 46 gal.
Cabins 2 / 3
Berths 4 / 6
Height in salon 1.95 m 6′ 4″
Height of mast above waterline 16.82 m 55′
Mainsail 41 m2 441 ft2
Foresail 27 m2 291 ft2
Gennaker 82 m2 883 ft2
I 14.06 m 46′ 1″
J 3.73 m 12′ 3″
P 13.58 m 44′ 7″
E 5.1 m 16′ 9″
Photo 1 – Solid, responsive performance from a no nonsense cruiser.
Photo 2 – The bright and well-equipped galley area.
Photo 3 – Simple, modern, efficient styling with quality fit and finish.