Right on the heels of the Bavaria Cruiser Series, including the new 33 we reviewed earlier this year (Bavaria Cruiser 33: Heavy Air Test, Flying Colors) and the 45 we reviewed before that (Bavaria Cruiser 45: Model Behavior), comes a new line called Vision. The first is a 46-footer that clearly has benefited from real-world input. A collaboration between Farr Yacht Design and British Design Unlimited, the Vision Series has started with a mid-sized cruiser that follows the trends set by other European production boats, in both style and features.
The Bavaria Vision 46 has a nearly plumb bow and carries its beam well aft which creates good room in the cockpit as well as in the interior below. The fractional Selden rig with double aft-swept spreaders carries a 110 percent jib and an in-mast furling mainsail. A fully battened main is optional.
Like the Cruiser 45, the Vision 46 has twin helms, but unlike its predecessor, the 46 has only a single deep rudder which not only drops complexity, it surely must also reduce cost. So it’s not surprising that Bavaria came back to this more traditional configuration. The Bavaria trademark drop transom is still present and forms a nice swim platform and great access from the dinghy. Faux teak trim is used on the sole and seats and the use of this maintenance-free synthetic will be applauded by anyone who has ever had to care for real teak in an exterior application.
The cockpit on the Cruiser 46 has a bit of a twist. The companionway is offset to starboard which leaves plenty of room for a large hi/lo table to port. The table also lowers to create a nice sunpad. Another advantage of this design is that with the assistance of a dashboard of line clutches, a single winch to port handles all the halyards and reefing lines. This simplifies the system and makes it manageable by one person.
Offset companionways are not new, they appeared regularly on boats of the 1980s but have rarely been used lately. Given the nice space it creates above and below, it’s a wonder why they’re not more popular with designers today.
With over 1,000 square feet of sail area, the Vision 46 will sail at eight knots in 12 on the beam and will tack through 90 degrees. Under power, the boat will cruise between seven and eight knots although given the displacement of over 27,000 pounds, it would be advisable to consider the upgrade to the 75 hp Volvo diesel with Saildrive over the standard 55 hp engine. Not to be left behind, Bavaria has also come up with their own version of a joystick docking system called Dock Control. Optional recessing bow and stern thrusters drop down from the hull to join the autopilot, in creating a pod-like experience so the boat will spin in its own length and even crab sideways to get into a tight spot.
Like many production boats, the interior of the Vision 46 stays the same through the middle of the living space and only changes configuration at each end. The salon has an L-shaped dinette to starboard with two extra individual seats and an electric hi/lo table that unfolds for dinner, folds up for cocktails, or lowers when it’s time to sleep extra guests. A straight settee is to port and with the cushions removed, the middle portion lifts up to form a small nav desk. The standard head is to starboard with a separate stall shower that can double as a wet locker.
The galley is large and well laid out primarily due to the offset companion way that affords a lot of room on the port side below. The twin sinks are on an island right at the centerline which means they’ll drain on either tack and the cabinetry creates a safe encasing effect so the cook can brace and continue with meal preparation regardless of what’s happening up top. It’s a nice change from Bavaria’s previous straight-line galley layouts that left the chef a bit vulnerable in rough conditions.
Another trend Bavaria has embraced is back-to-back overhead hatches, a butterfly configuration that captures the breeze for good cross ventilation. There are two forward and two aft-facing hatches and besides providing air, their effect is that of a skylight. With the fixed hull ports, the overhead fixed and opening hatches, and the deck ports, the Vision 46 is bright and inviting inside.
The standard layout on the Vision 46 has two cabins and one head with the large master stateroom forward. Here, there is an island queen berth, lots of stowage below, hanging space and a standard vanity desk to starboard. If you opt for the second head, it will replace the vanity. A twin berth aft cabin is to port with access through the galley. A third double cabin can be added to starboard or it can be kept as a sizeable stowage area.
Bavaria likes to say its boats are built-to-order and it’s true that only a few are built on spec for dealer showrooms. Hence, each Bavaria is personalized with choices of interior finishes like mahogany, oak or teak. Nice touches include the built-in wine locker that can either hold bottles or suspended wineglasses, the cubby for the custom coffee maker that can also accommodate a beer tap (how German), and the tool locker with a hinged door for the necessities you may need to get to quickly.
It’s hard to call the Vision a series yet – the line only has two models so far, the original 46 and the 42 which debuted on the East Coast in April. When Bavaria was purchased from Bain Capital, company representatives set out on a quest of information gathering. They spoke with dealers and owners and sought feedback, something Bavaria was not known for up until then. The Vision series was born of that refreshed effort and re-launched in the U.S. with two dealers, one in Annapolis, Maryland and the other in Mystic, Connecticut. Bavaria’s “factory direct” model means they own their distribution so these two outlets are dealers only in name. Horizon Yachts on Chesapeake Bay represents the German company as both dealer and charter company (to learn more visit Chesapeake Bay yacht charters here). There is no representation on the West Coast.
|Max. Draft (shoal/deep)||5'6"/7'2"|
|Sail Area||1,109 sq.ft.|
|Fuel capacity||55 gal.|
|water capacity||153 gal.|
Bavarias are built in a large, state-of-the-art facility in southern Germany that can produce over 3,000 hulls every year. The Cruiser line has six models from 32 to 55 feet with three of the models introduced simultaneously at the 2011 Annapolis boat show. But if the Vision design takes off, chances are that it will supersede the Cruiser line. With its more elegant lines, good build finish, and functional interior, the Vision series might just be the new launch platform for the entire brand.
Other Choices: The Catalina 455 will be of interest to those in the market for the 46 Vision, as will the Beneteau Sense 46 and the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 44.
For more information: visit Bavaria Yachts.