Once a month I sweep my drawing board clean and put on my reviewing hat. There are many components of a design that affect the tone of the review. Sometimes I'm friendly with the designer, and I also have a very strong sense of the boats that are subjectively appealing to me. So please accept the fact that I am frequently partial, and my reviews, from time to time, reflect that partiality. I don't know any other way to do it.

A photo of a Bavaria 42 sailboat.Take the new Bavaria 42, for instance. Looking at this design for the first time, I just can't help but think this Bavaria is an assault on the Hallberg-Rassy line. From the basic proportions to the aluminum-framed windshield, I see the influence of H-R. I am guessing that the brief given the J&J Design team included specs on the H-R series.

This is a very good-looking boat in a benign and family friendly way. You will not confuse this boat with the latest racing machine. Given the bulk, the lines are nicely sculpted and the molded detailing is superb. I like the way the aluminum-framed windshield terminates into the coaming recess. This is what I call "eye candy."

At 195 the D/L seems ambitious for this boat. You can play with hull structures all you like, but rigs, engines, batteries, watermakers, heaters, inverters, tankage and the plethora of required cruising gear are fixed-weight items. I think we are safe in considering the 21,380-pound displacement a "light ship" displacement. Beam is on the broad side, but it falls short of corpulent at 13 feet. The DWL is stretched, and the ends are consequently shortened. There are two keels offered: the standard 6-foot-5-inch bulbed fin and an optional 5-foot-5-inch bulbed fin.

The interior layout holds no surprises — no sexy or silly angles — and is as standard as I can imagine for this size boat. There are staterooms for two couples, each with its own head, and the aft head has a large shower stall. The galley looks fine, but I don't like sinks located up against a bulkhead. I prefer counter space on each side of the sink, if space allows. The designers could have slid the range forward along with the sinks and then put the bank of drawers aft of the sinks.

The saloon looks inviting and will be a comfortable place to gather and relax. Access to the aft head is from both the saloon and the aft cabin. This layout benefits from its lack of tricky but useless design touches. The photos show the level of interior finish to be wonderful with lots of solid teak trim and teak veneers. This will be a very comfortable and practical cruising boat.

The rig is unusual in that it is fractional. My own boat is fractionally rigged. This has several benefits. The fractional rig pushes the mast forward, and in this case, it moves the mast out of the middle of the main cabin and nestles it up against the forward bulkhead. From a sailing perspective the big sail is now on the boom and easily handled, especially if you go with a Leisure Furl boom, my favorite new piece of gear. With the mast and center of pressure of the mainsail forward, you can probably sail this boat reasonably well under mainsail alone, if you are feeling lazy. The spreaders are swept 18 degrees.

If you are looking for a true cruising boat in this size range you would be remiss to not check out this handsome design.

A comfortable, practical family cruiser.

Draft6'5" (standard), 5'5" (optional)
Displacement21,384 lbs.
Ballast7,936 lbs.
Sail Area1,042 sq. ft. (in-mast furling), 1,096 sq. ft. (battened main)
SA/D21.64 (in-mast), 22.76 (battened)
AuxiliaryVolvo 59-horsepower diesel with saildrive or conventional shaft and strut
Fuel60 gals.
Water105 gals.


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