Classic forms will not work on a 38-foot center-cockpit boat if you expect the boat to compete with the interiors of current Euro-style models. There are just no traditional models for this type of volumetric distribution. Most of the Euro-styled models marketed in the United States push interior volumes to new levels so that the interior of a modern 38 rivals the interiors of older 45-footers. This requires careful manipulation of aesthetic elements.

A photo of a Bavaria 38 under sail.

A photo of a Bavaria 38 under sail.

I think the J&J design group has done an excellent job with the look of this basically chubby-proportioned boat. I say chubby because the beam is 13 feet, 1 inch on an LOA of 38 feet, 6 inches. This hull is not svelte by any standard.

Side decks are modest but useable. The cabin trunk perimeter at the deck usually governs sheeting angles because it limits chainplate and jib-track placement. In this case the sheeting angle to the chainplates is almost 16 degrees. I try for 12.5 to 13 degrees on most designs to ensure tight sheeting of genoas. Of course for a pure cruising boat of corpulent proportions, tight sheeting angles might be unimportant.

The toughest part of this type of deck design is incorporating a cockpit that does not resemble a hot tub in its dimensions. Any divot that the cockpit takes out of the cabintrunk will be a direct reduction of useable volume below. The Bavaria 38 cockpit avoids this pitfall and shows a relatively roomy cockpit with angles and faceted seat backs. While the seats appear narrow, they are long enough to stretch out on for a nap. All in all it's a well-proportioned cabintrunk that belies the volume contained. Note the fixed windshield and recessed bow well for chain and rode.

The photos of the Bavaria's interior show beautifully detailed joinerwork with solid wood trim and veneered surfaces. The layout is remarkable for a boat this size. There are accommodations for two couples with the forward V-berth converting to a double berth with the addition of a filler piece. Nothing seems undersized below. There is a head with adjoining shower stall that would do justice to a much larger boat.

A distinct advantage of the center-cockpit configuration is the ability to create a separate engine room under the cockpit. This gives excellent access to the machinery. The galley, while not huge, is generous in size and features many drawers and lockers.

The rig is unusual: an almost-masthead fractional rig. I'm not sure what the advantage is with this minimal offset. Why not just go to a straight masthead arrangement? The mainsheet traveler can be aft of the cockpit and at the end of the boom in this center-cockpit layout. This is far better than the usual midboom sheeting we see today. The SA/D is 17.8.

The keel and rudder look as though they were designed for performance. Two keels are available: a deep draft of 6 feet 4 inches; and a shoal draft of 5 feet 1 inch. The D/L is 215.

Structurally the Bavaria complies with Germanischer Lloyds requirements. There is even a Kevlar layer in the bow to enhance the impact resistance of the hull shell forward.

The Bavaria appears to be a carefully detailed design that will appeal to families looking for a comfortable and strong cruising boat with far better than average accommodations.

Carefully detailed, sturdy cruiser with remarkable layout.
Draft6'5" (deep draft), 5'1" (shoal draft)
Displacement16,537.5 lbs.
Ballast6,394.5 lbs.
Sail Area722.15 sq. ft.
AuxiliaryVolvo Penta MD22L 50-horsepower diesel
Fuel58.08 gals.
Water102.96 gals.


SAILINGlogo-115This story originally appeared in Sailing Magazine, and is republished here by permission. Subscribe to Sailing.