Feb 22, 2018
Bavaria Yachts is getting pretty serious. At this year’s “boot” boat show in Dusseldorf, there was a spectacular array of boats on display (see our boot report last issue.) But the big feature of the show was “High Noon”, a Beneteau – Bavaria shootout that appears to point to a two-horse race not unlike that of GM and Ford in the early automotive world.
Beneteau is larger, but Bavaria is certainly not fooling around. At the show on their home turf in Germany, Bavaria World took up a total exhibition area of more than 3,500 sqm presenting 25 (you read that correctly!) yachts from the lines C, Cruiser, Vision (sailing yachts), S, E, R, Virtess (motor boats) and Nautitech (catamarans). These are not runabouts – all large designs with full accommodation.
It’s worth noting that other European brands including Germany’s Dehler and Hanse have some very extensive booths as well. There was a large spread of X-Boats from Denmark, many other British, Danish, Dutch and Polish brands and more. Although the boot people can only estimate, they tell me there were 1,200 boats on the various floors. What a show.
I arrived early in the morning just as the staff at Bavaria World posed for a team photo. The size of the staff and their enthusiasm made the point in a major way.
the Bavaria World team – amazing!
In what may be a picture of the future, Vancouver’s Len Baronit had flown in to host some potential purchasers who were joining him all the way from BC. As Len explained, the boot show is an opportunity to see the brand new models inside where it’s warm in January.
Baronit is president of Yacht Sales West, which has been selling Bavaria for a decade but his dealership is not alone in Canada. In Quebec Marine 360 sells Bavaria sail from its base on the Richelieu north of Plattsburg; Mathias Marine Sports reps the power line from it’s place just further north. Just this January Greg Marlo’s Yacht Solutions was appointed a dealer in Ontario for both power and sail, aiming initially at fractional ownership buyers.
Len took the time to walk us through each new model explaining how Bavaria’s team were shaping new boats to be increasingly capable and well suited to the Canadian market. What are Bavaria’s boats like? Frankly, they are wonderful. The boats, particularly new models available in Europe are really quite exciting with bright interiors, graceful lines, smart engineering, lavish equipment lists. All at a price, of course but the new European trade deals will help.
Bavaria matches the Beneteau/Jeanneau catalog up and down the power and sail list. Beautiful power cruisers, some very sporty in a distinctly Euro way, are headed to Canada to join their sailing sisters that have been gaining popularity here for a few years.
Today Canadian giants C&C, CS, Doral and the rest are gone. Economically challenged Hunter and Catalina and a handful of other North American brands share the limited sailboat world with expanding European brands. (In Canada, the majority of new and second boat sailors continue to purchase those wonderful C&Cs and their kin, which are still delightful, fine sailing boats on their second, third or fourth tour of duty.} The powerboat world continues to thrive thanks to healthy American builders like Carver, Chapparal, Cruisers and many more plus some interesting Canadian builders including Campion, Stanley and Rossiter.
But Europe is coming our way with increasing strength. Beneteau has purchased several of those significant US brands including Four Winns, Scarab and Wellcraft and showed them off in Dusseldorf. Those European builders, particularly Beneteau/Jeanneau and Bavaria, have a huge base in the rest of the entire world that gives them manufacturing power and marketing mass. It seems likely their presence here in North America is only going to grow giving Canadians access to the latest and greatest in sophisticated boat design.