Fresh from the drawing boards of Farr Yacht Design and the molds of Bavaria Yachts, the new Cruiser 56 was launched and becomes flagship of the German builder's model line. The sporty sloop features a plumb bow, long waterline and dual rudders, which combine to give her both a good turn of speed and excellent handling characteristics under both sail and power. (See more images of the Cruiser 56 in the CW photo gallery.)
On a near-perfect day off Alaçarti, Turkey, we pushed the speedo to near 7 knots in 12 knots of breeze up wind; our SOG jumped to 10 and change when we bore off to a beam reach. Need I say, this was a fun boat to sail.
She'd be a comfortable boat to cruise, too. The boat we sailed had two generously sized aft cabins with queen berths, a third cabin to port at the foot of the companionway with double bunks, and an enormous owners cabin forward of the saloon with a separate head and shower. Amidships a spacious nav station to starboard could do double duty as a breakfast nook for the kids. Just forward, a deep U-shaped galley gives the chef a secure place in which to work under way.
Topsides, a five-batten in-mast furling main is easily controlled by the double-ended German-style mainsheet. And the slightly over-lapping genoa is effortless to tend, thanks to a pair of electric Lewmar reversable winches. Ready to tack? Just push a button at either of the twin helms and the loaded winch automatically eases as the boat turns through the wind and the other sheet is wound tight.
When it comes time to anchor, the transom folds down to reveal a clever garage space that houses a full-size inflatable, built exclusively for Bavaria. The tender is stored partially deflated and folded in half; it's transom folds inward so the dinghy is stored with the four-horsepower motor in place. When it's time to launch, the boat is inflated using a compressor mounted in the stern compartment, and you're off.
With its easy-to-move-about deck and well thought-out spaces below, the new Cruiser 56 packs a lot of bang for the buck. And a lot of good sailing, too.