Epitomising the ultra-modern, high-volume production cruiser, Bavaria’s C50 offers plenty to appeal to today’s buyers. David Harding reports
If any builder is determined to keep ahead of the trends in a rapidly
changing market, it’s Bavaria. In the not-too-distant past, this German giant was associated with boats that were hardly the most inspiring to look at or to sail. They sold like hot cakes principally because they were roomy, remarkably inexpensive and aimed squarely at the mass market.
Then came the switch to Farr designs. Performance went up in leaps and bounds and the styling received some much-needed attention too.
Bavaria has now moved on from Farr’s Cruiser range by introducing the C models, designed by Cossutti Yacht Design. First came the C57 in 2017, and then the C45 and C50 last year.
It would be hard to think of a name with a higher profile or a more impressive pedigree in performance yacht design than Farr. At the same time, Bavaria seems to like to shake things up now and again and it’s not as though Cossutti is an unknown quantity. Good sailing performance remains near the top of the priority list with the C models, but many other factors are behind their introduction. Bavaria wanted to increase comfort, to provide more of the mod cons demanded by today’s buyers, to offer more choices with a whole range of mix-and-match interior layout options and, importantly, to build what it calls ‘smart connectivity’ into the boats in the form of a fully integrated electronics system. B&G’s Naviop lets you call up any navigation data from any screen on board. The screens also function as switch panels so, for example, you can check tank levels or turn navigation lights on or off from the helm. Monitoring data from your phone is possible now and the next stage will be the ability to control the systems from your phone or tablet. If you’re heading to your boat for the weekend and want the beers cold in the fridge and the cabin nicely warm when you get there, just log in and it’s done in a couple of taps.
Although you might imagine that this sort of electronic connectivity is a bolt-on that could be added to any boat, in practice it needs to be incorporated into the design from the outset. And that’s one reason why the Cruisers are still running alongside the C range, at least for the time being, as more basic and lower-cost alternatives. The Cruiser 51, which started life as the Cruiser 50, was introduced in 2010 and costs around £40,000 less than the C50.
Plenty of other new features are to be found in the C range too. Galleys are no longer linear but have moved aft. And whereas the Cruisers used the full length of the hull for accommodation, the new models have dinghy garages in the stern. Externally, twin rudders have given way to single blades because owners wanted the manoeuvrability under power that comes with prop-wash. They wanted self-tacking jibs too – now they’ve got them.
THE TEST VERDICT
Time was when the biggest asset of a Bavaria was its incredibly low price. You had to accept that you got what you paid for. For a 50-footer, the C50 is still far from expensive. Now, however, you get much more than just volume and Sikaflex. Bavaria is promoting the performance, the comfort, the range of options, the integrated technology, the innovation, the style, the light and airy interior and the vacuum-infused laminates among other features.
You can see why. In many ways this is quite an impressive boat. It’s a calculated, engineered product; one that has resulted from a lot of analysis and number-crunching and that has been created to appeal to the widest possible audience. The time is approaching when we will no longer need to make comparisons with Bavarias of old, in the same way that the younger generation these days doesn’t stop and point at a Skoda and say, ‘Remember what they used to be like?’
With the C50 Bavaria has, perhaps, come of age. It has produced a boat that will undoubtedly be seen in some respects as setting the standards for mainstream cruising yachts in this size range.
WOULD SHE SUIT YOU AND YOUR CREW?
If you want a roomy 50-footer for coastal cruising with all the mod cons, the C50 will probably be on your list. Of course you could sail her across the Atlantic if you wanted to, but she wasn’t conceived as a blue-water cruiser: her design makes her better suited to island-hopping in the Med, and that’s the sort of thing she will do in some style.
This is a boat you might buy instead of a villa. At the same time she’s by no means slow or unresponsive to sail, so you might have some enjoyably swift sailing as you move your comfortable home on the water from one location to another. Whether or not she appeals to your soul, she will give the logical and analytical parts of your brain plenty to think about.
FACTS AND FIGURES
Price as tested £448,696
LOA 15.39m (50ft 6in)
Hull Length 14.99 (49ft 2in)
LWL 14.75 (48ft 5in)
Beam 5.05m 16ft 7in)
Draught 2.30m (7ft 7in)
Displacement 15,490kg (37,765lb)
Ballast 4,500kg (9,920lb)
Ballast ratio (29%)
Displacement / Length 149
Sail area 131.73m2 (1,418sq ft)
SA/D ratio 20
Diesel 250 litres (55 gal)
Water 650 litres 143( gal)
Engine 80 hp
RCD category A
Designer Cossutti Yacht Design
Builder Bavaria Yachts
UK Agent Clipper Marine Tel 01489 550583 www.clippermarine.co.uk