After selling their business and retiring in March 2021, Mike and Debbie Morgan set about buying a boat with all the bells and whistles for cruising the Mediterranean.

Our dream of buying a boat and cruising the Mediterranean could finally become reality. Now we just needed to turn fantasy into fact.

Our new boat needed to be a home from home which could take us around the Mediterranean in comfort and safety, could easily be handled by two and had the potential
of going further afield.

We both agreed that we wanted something larger than our previous boat, a Beneteau Sense 46, as we planned to be spending up to eight months a year onboard. Therefore, we were looking for a boat in the 50ft-plus range with a minimum of three cabins.

Mike and Debbie standing under Spirit's canopy, there is a sunny day behind.

Mike and Debbie take Spirit down the Hamble for the first time. Photo: Mike Morgan

Firstly, we did some simple maths.

For the past three years we have been spending three months each a year sailing around the Mediterranean and did approximately 1,000 to 1,500 miles per season.

By calculating the average boat speed of 6 knots this meant we were at anchor approximately 90% of the time.

Given the amount of time on the hook, we wanted our new boat to offer a large outside socialising space to enjoy our surroundings. Our budget limited us to a production rather than a custom boat.

We were already fans of the apartment look of modern boats using light-colour woods, soft-closing drawers, settees you can stretch out on and a pop-up TV that appears at the touch of a button.

Most of the time it would be just the two of us, so we wanted the boat to be easily managed shorthanded and to be equipped with every available labour-saving gadget going.

Buying a boat ready for the Med

With the purchase parameters settled, we decided on buying a boat from one of the main European manufacturers and placed the deposit on a Bavaria C57 through Clipper Marine in Swanwick.

There were several reasons we liked the Bavaria C57. Importantly she was a stock boat from Clipper and available for immediate delivery.

She came well-equipped with B&G navigation. She had a self-tacking jib and in-mast furling mainsail, and all lines led back to four large electric Harken 65 winches located at the side of the dual helms.

View of the chartplotter at the helm, its a sunny day and sun shines on the wooden deck.

The chartplotter at the starboard helm was upgraded. Photo: Mike Morgan

We also liked that both sheet winches could be controlled from the opposite side which is neat – good thinking, Bavaria.

She also had factory-fitted bow- and stern-thrusters for those tricky close-quarters manoeuvres; essential, in my opinion, for boats of this size and my limited ability.

The cockpit was simply massive given her beam of 5.3m, offering a built-in BBQ, sink, food-prep area and a beer fridge, perfect for those days lounging at anchor.

Two tables either side made easy access to the companionway, and both lowered electrically to make sun beds and the whole area was covered with a massive bimini and sprayhood.

Given the built-in dinghy garage the cockpit was high above the water-line offering good security and protection from a following sea.

Down below we particularly liked the galley which stretched across the width of the boat just in front of the forward owner’s cabin. This also provided plenty of bracing points when cooking underway.

The galley also came with two fridges, a freezer as well as a microwave. She also had a dedicated utility room between the aft cabin and the chart table.

We liked the dinghy garage, which was accessed by an electronic remote-control swimming platform that would accommodate up to a 2.9m tender or larger if you deflated the forward section.

You could also access it from the cockpit sole, which was perfect for fender storage. It had an electric winch mechanism and rollers making dinghy deployment and retrieval a breeze.

The rear bathing platform was simply vast with the swimming ladder offset making boarding and disembarking from a tender child’s play, like coming alongside your own mini pontoon.

The interior, which has cushioned benches and wooden features.

Spirit came with a light wood finish and dark upholstery. Photo: Mike Morgan

The boat was fitted with a Naviop electronic management system which meant all controls, from the bilge pumps to the lighting, were controlled via a touch screen on the chartplotter multi-function display.

What this system does is to remove the necessity of having banks of countless switches and the associated wiring. However, as a backup, there were also some good old-fashioned switches for key systems hidden in a locker.

She also came with crew quarters in the bow which provided a double bunk, built-in shelves for tools and spare parts and ample stowage for bikes and other toys.

She had an upgraded 110hp Yanmar engine, big tanks for fuel and water and a white GRP deck, which is preferable for sunnier climes.

A major ‘tick’ in the box was her construction. The hull layup was vacuum infusion with longitudinal stringers, she had a keel stepped mast, a skeg-protected shaft drive, independent dual rudder steering and a shoal keel of just under six feet.

Even the large hull windows were made from tempered glass.

To be fair most of the other boats we looked at offered many of the above features, however, the Bavaria simply ticked more boxes than the rest.

That was the standard boat, but there were a few systems we knew we wanted to add as upgrades in order to be as self-sufficient as possible so that we could spend most of our
time at anchor.

Solar & Lithium

Solar has come on a long way over the past few years and a combination of high-output solar panels and plenty of lithium energy storage was in order.

After lengthy discussions with specialists Keto Marine, we opted for 800Ah of lithium provided by batteries that weighed less than a single 150Ah lead acid battery.

Because lithium offers roughly double the useable capacity of lead acid that’s the equivalent to 16 100Ah lead acid batteries with a combined weight of just over a third
of a tonne.

The workshop with concrete from where the stainless steel stern arch is resting.

A new stern arch was fabricated in stainless steel. Photo: Mike Morgan

We left the fitted lead acid starter and thruster batteries and had a switch installed to select these in the event of the lithium failing.

Given her beam, we could accommodate a lot of solar on a custom-made stainless-steel arch.

This was the largest arch Solent Welding of Fareham had ever built and, when fitted, accommodated four 420W solar panels giving a potential maximum of 1,680W.

Each of these were fitted with an individual Victron MPPT in the event of failure of either a controller or a panel.

On the recommendation of Keto, we selected a Victron power-management system which is totally automated with no need to switch from shore power, batteries or generator.

The system knows where the power is coming from and automatically switched to the available charging source. The heart of the system was a 3000kW Victron inverter/charger.

The inverter was large enough to run all the 240V appliances and for us not to worry if you could put the kettle on at the same time as the microwave.

The power management system had a screen that showed the flow of power either charging or depleting the battery bank and always showed the current state of charge.

Keto expertly managed the installation of the solar and power management and several other upgrades. As an aside, we decided to dismiss hydro generation given the time we would be at anchor and wind power for their noise.


Over the years we had spent far too much time carting dirty clothes to and from launderettes and, as the Bavaria came with a built-in utility room, we asked Keto to fit a full-sized washer dryer. This has proven to be one of the best upgrades we made.

Water Maker

Photo of the water maker, with a closed-off sink on top. The cabinet is wood.

A Schenker energy recovery water maker ensures plenty of fresh water. Photo: Mike Morgan

We selected a Schenker Smart 60ltr per hour, 12V energy recovery water maker rated at 20 amps which would enable free freshwater production all day long given the solar panels, which on a good day, would be producing north of 100A.

This has proven to be ample for our needs.


The last luxury we afforded ourselves was a custom-made mattress for the forward cabin. Whilst the standard mattresses were fine, we wanted a durable and comfortable bed for
the owner’s cabin.


We selected a Paguro 9000 which offered 9kW of output with a water separator so we didn’t annoy our neighbors at anchor.

One of the advantages of lithium is they charge very quickly and would absorb most of what a generator could throw at them.

We have found, in practice, that we run the generator less than one day in five.


We needed a light wind sail to add to the inventory and chose the furling Super Zero from Crusader Sails in Poole.

It was made from heavier material than a normal Code Zero and had a UV strip so it could be left up for the season.

Ground tackle

We wanted stainless steel chain as our experience of galvanized is that it piles up in the chain locker and can jam the windlass.

The yacht in the marina with a cloudy sky above and calm waters.

The new owners opted for stainless chain and a 40kg Rocna anchor. Photo: Mike Morgan

The Bavaria has a chain locker that could only be accessed through the crew quarters at the bow.

We replaced the anchor with a 40kg Rocna, 60m stainless chain (which james less) and 50m of rope all managed from the helm by a Quick controller with chain counter.

We also purchased a Fortress FX55 32lb anchor with 10m of chain as a backup.


We opted for a Frigomar system from Advance Yachting. It uses a variable start system, which enables it to be run from the inverter. It also can be operated in low power mode once the desired temperature had been reached.


As we planned to sail outside of the season, we wanted a heating system that would run off diesel and not rely on the reverse cycle air-conditioning.

We wanted to have heating at night and therefore couldn’t run the air-con unless the generator was running.

We opted for Eberspacher diesel heating, which was simple and would keep us warm in the cooler Mediterranean evenings.

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Navigation Upgrades

We upgraded the AIS to a transceiver B-plus system which offers higher power output and greater transmitting times. We also installed a 4G radar mainly for tracking squalls when sailing.

We upgraded the starboard helm station with a B&G MFD 12-inch unit, which is much easier to read and use underway.


The upgrades project started in April 2021 and all the options were installed within two months. In early June we took delivery and went through the naming ceremony at Swanwick Marina on the Hamble River.

After a short test sail in Southampton Waters, we took ownership of our new boat and headed off to the Mediterranean.

We are now in our second season and whilst there have been challenges, not least being attacked by orcas in the Straits of Gibraltar, we are delighted with both the boat and the upgrades and looking forward to visiting the variety of beautiful destinations the Mediterranean has to offer.

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