If Bavaria’s new Cruiser 34 looks a little familiar, there is a very good reason for that. It's the same hull as the 32 and then the 33. Graham Snook finds out what has changed
Bavaria Cruiser 34 review
See the August 2016 issue of Yachting Monthly for the full test
What’s she like to sail?
She was responsive and enjoyable on the helm, though I felt there was slightly too much weight on the twin wheels, but the view forward is excellent. The helm positions lack foot braces so, when going upwind, sitting is the only realistic option, but then the position of the backstay gets in your way. You can sit on top of the fold-down transom but it’s not broad and the pushpit rails push into your back so it’s not comfortable.
Off the wind, as she flattens out, it’s more comfortable to stand and steer. In the 10-20 knots of breeze we had, she really picked up the pace while still remaining in control and firm on the helm. I’m not wholly in favour the mainsheet being out of reach of the helm on what is essentially a family boat. But this is the trade-off with keeping the mainsheet out of reach of small or inexperienced hands.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
Her 2.02m (6ft 8in) draught is quite deep for a 10m (32ft) boat. It adds performance but restricts where you can anchor, when you can get over sills of drying harbours etc. Also, with 34 written on the side, you’ll be constantly explaining to harbourmasters why you should pay for a 32-footer – I’d just disclose the metric length instead. Her 28hp engine had plenty of power to manoeuvre her into and out of situations.
Deck stowage around the cockpit is limited to just two sole-depth lockers in the aft cockpit seating; fine if you are cruising from marina to marina but not if you want to carry a dinghy and cruise for longer.
Below, the lack of a chart table adds space to the large saloon, and there is room enough to seat six or more around its table. Whether you need three double cabins is a choice only you can make, the port cabin does come at the expense of deck stowage and a vast heads compartment. The galley is adequate, although stowage and workspace are limited, and if you are intending to cruise with six people on board you may find the 150-litre water tank capacity a little restricting.
Would she suit you and your crew?
As an entry-level new boat, she’s great. She sails well, she’s easy to handle and offers a great combination of style, quality and value. If you do a lot of solo sailing you may find the main sheet located on the coachroof bit of a chore; it’s far easier to have it to hand when a gust hits. Obviously, choosing three cabins suggests you’ll be sailing with more crew, in which case this isn’t an issue.
In the car world, a model’s longevity is improved by adding a few new bits of restyled bodywork and more interior options. Bluntly, this is what Bavaria has done with the Cruiser 34. And that’s fine, as long as you buy the 34 with the full knowledge that it’s the Cruiser 33 with twin wheels and twin aft cabins. The curious thing is that the Cruiser 34 will soon be available in the two-cabin version, and the single-wheeled Cruiser 33 will have a vacuum-infused hull and continue to be sold. So the choice simply comes down to whether you want a twin- or single-wheeled 32ft yacht – and the mainsheet position required by that – and whether or not you need twin aft cabins.
Facts and figures
Price £131,851 inc VAT
LOA 9.99m (32ft 9in)
LWL 9.15m (30ft)
Beam 3.42m (11ft 3in)
Draught 2.02m (6ft 8in)
Displacement 5,300kg (11,685 lb)
Ballast 1,370kg (3,020 lb)
Ballast ratio 25.8%
Sail area 51m2 (549 sq ft)
SA/D ratio 17.1
Diesel 150 litres (33 gal)
Water 150 litres (33 gal)
RCD category A
Designer Farr Yacht Design
Builder Bavaria Yachts
UK Agent Clipper Marine Ltd
Tel 01489 5650583