By separating the cruiser from the racer, the builder is free to be more lavish with appointments and to add a little weight if that will enhance the boat's cruising appeal. It appears that Bavaria Yachts has done just that with the Bavaria 39 Cruiser, one of its new range of models aimed specifically at cruisers. Belowdecks, the boat is furnished with generous quantities of thoughtfully designed mahogany joiner work, and above, the cockpit is sculpted more for the needs of loungers than for energetic line tailers.
The Bavaria 39 has a three-cabin layout, two aft and one forward; in a 39-foot boat, that pretty much dictates an along-the-side galley in the saloon. This boat certainly has enough beam to carry it off, and the galley is workable on either tack by virtue of the high seat back on the island settee that completes the four-sided dining area. The bonus in this arrangement is the full-size nav table and the roomy aft head.
While the two aft staterooms are basic sleeping quarters with enough standing room to permit dressing and undressing with relative ease, the master cabin forward has all kinds of space, a large berth, a dressing seat, and a private head. This is a cozy haven wherein to pass the quiet hours when in port, not a repository for damp sail bags. In the saloon, the plush upholstery beckons a crew happily weary from a day in wind and sun to sink into its padded excess.
On deck, the cruising focus is evident in the substantial double anchor rollers on the stemhead. In the cockpit, a large steering console accommodates today's big-screen nav aids but tends to dominate the space. Access forward when boarding from the transom entryway would be difficult without the Lewmar folding-wheel option. There is no factory-installed provision for line tails tumbling from the cabin-top rope clutches, so a couple of tail bags on the bulkhead may make sense.
The solid breeze, fluctuating around 15 knots with frequent higher gusts, that prevailed throughout Cruising World's Boat of the Year testing session last October proved to be above the range that several of the performance cruisers, the Bavaria 39 among them, could handle comfortably under full sail. As they all did when on the wind, the Bavaria rounded up strongly in gusts, even with full rudder on, until we reduced sail area considerably. This we achieved most effectively first by rolling up some jib, then by reefing the main. Thus reined in, the boat still sailed quickly and responsively.
Structurally, the Bavaria is reassuringly conservative. The hull is made from solid laminate below the waterline and an Airex-cored sandwich above, and it's stiffened by glassed-in hat-section frames. In the bow area, Kevlar reinforcement improves impact resistance. The cast-iron ballast keel is attached to the hull with stainless-steel keelboats, double-nutted and backed up by washers.
Comfort, performance, strength: What more could you ask for in a dedicated cruising boat?
Jeremy McGeary is a Cruising World contributing editor.
BAVARIA 39 CRUISER
LOA 39' 2" (11.94 m.)
LWL 35' 2" (10.72 m.)
Beam 13' 0" (3.96 m.)
Draft 6' 1" (1.85 m.)
Sail Area (working) 890 sq. ft.
(82.70 sq. m.)
Displacement 18,260 lb.
Water 95 gal. (360 l.)
Fuel 55 gal. (208 l.)
Engine Volvo with saildrive
Designer J&J Design
Sailaway Price $190,000
Bavaria Yachts USA