Philip Hennessy talks to Bob Aylott about life on his Bavaria 320 as they take a relaxing sail to St Mawes
What’s she like to sail?
The Bavaria 320 Sportline was heavier and more substantially built than the ‘32′ models that followed. Her generous displacement and high ballast ratio results in a stiff hull and the ability to drive on through a choppy sea carrying plenty of sail.
She has a reasonably deep forefoot, too, making her less prone to slamming in short seas than the later models and her well-balanced rudder and keel ensure that weather helm is slight, provided she is not over-canvassed, and her motion off the wind is comfortable. Most had a deep, cast-iron fin keel but a few were built with a shoal-draught winged keel, which is said to improve her motion under sail as well as reducing her draught.
The combination of all these factors, plus the simple but effective deck layout, means she is easily handled by just one or two crew.
She goes well upwind, even light winds, and is fastest at around 45° off the apparent wind. In heavy winds she won’t go closer than 50° to the wind, but doesn’t make a vast amount of leeway – probably only 5°. She will need a first reef at 18 knots with four rolls in the genoa, then the second at 22-23 knots. Reducing the genoa more than may be expected on other boats will keep her balanced.
Downwind, she needs a breeze to get her going under main and genoa, so many owners will fly a spinnaker or cruising chute in light airs. Sailing downwind in more boisterous conditions, she’s easier to helm than many comparable boats.
What’s she like in port and at anchor?
The Bavaria 320’s internal volume is generous for a 10-metre cruiser. She has two reasonably spacious double cabins and two straight settees that are ideal for sleeping under way if you add some lee cloths. The layout is pretty straightforward, so everything is where you’d expect it. Her galley, though not massive, is sufficiently well-appointed to feed and water four people for an extended weekend and is perfect for a family or couple cruising long-term. Her saloon can seat six people comfortably for drinks, or four for dinner, around the table.
The interior is warm and woody, although some might find it a little dark due to the mahogany finish. Stowage is surprisingly good throughout. The fuel tank volume is rather limited for longer cruises, giving a range of only about 150 miles of motoring.
Manoeuvrability in port is one of her strong suits. She drives astern as easily as she goes forward under power and turns in her own length. At anchor, she has good form stability and a decent bathing platform for getting in and out of a dinghy.
Would she suit you and your crew?
This Bavaria 320 Sportline is a well-found boat and has few, if any, major problems. All sail controls on the test boat are led aft to the helm, and none of them require too much effort to use. The instruments are also close to hand for the helmsman, so she really is a doddle to sail, and is still obedient and drama-free when the going gets rough.
She’s also very cosy and comfortable below with two good-size double cabins and straight settees that can be made into good sea berths on long, open-sea passages. She will sleep six, but four would be a more comfortable crew size for longer trips.
In all, these reasonably-priced yachts make a comfortable and safe family cruiser, or a downsizing boat for folks who often have to sail alone – or simply choose to do so.
Facts and figures
LOA 10.18m (33ft 5in)
LWL 8.50m (27ft 11in)
Beam 3.20m (10ft 6in)
Draught deep/shoal: 1.52m (5ft 0in)/1.45m (4ft 9in)
Displacement 4,500kg (9,900 lb)
Ballast 2,100kg (4,620 lb)
Ballast ratio 46%
Engine 18hp Volvo MD2002 diesel
Sail area (main + genoa): 50m2 (538sq ft)
Water 200 litres (44 gal)
Fuel 50 litres (11 gal)
Designer Axel Maunhaupt
Builder Bavaria Yachts, Germany
Owners’ Association www.bavariaowners.co.uk
The Bavaria 320 is a reasonably-priced yacht that makes a comfortable and safe family cruiser, or a downsizing boat for folks who often have to sail alone - or simply choose to do so.