YL racing editor Andi Robertson spends a little time in the company of Bavaria’s B/One and declares it a pleasing synthesis of all that is good in Sportboats…

LAUNCHED only last May, Bavaria’s Farr designed B/One has already sold 120 units and continues to sell steadily.

In the UK it has been a bit of a slow burn story so far, but I think it is an accessible design and concept which has a great deal of appeal for owners in the north of Britain where there is much more of a gap for just such a boat.

In the south it has been slow but there the SB3 is still strong, the J/70 is selling well and there are still the more traditional one designs holding strong like the Etchells.

The brief to Farr from Bavaria was for an economical, simple One Design which would satisfy advanced sailors, but which would also be easy to handle for family and weekend use.

Patrick Shaughnessy, the president of Farr Yacht Design has a certain bias, but it is also the boat he races week in week out at home in Annapolis:

‘It is new for Bavaria to have this style of boat and so I am sure there is an effort required to move it along.’ He told me. ‘I am proud of the product. The brief was to have a boat which is accessible. One goal is to bring young people into the Bavaria brand and at the same time it is good to have exposure to the Farr brand as well, both for people coming in at the bottom end.

We wanted to be an accessible boat, easy to trailer and launch, and does not have a lot of finicky adjustments to control. The idea is to get on the boat and go sailing quickly, so it delivers that really well.

‘The performance is impressive for the cost. We have a boat which we sail in Annapolis every week and we regularly do well against competitive boats which are priced much higher and so I think the performance per dollar is fantastic.

‘It is a great boat both reaching and running, because of the bow form which has plenty of volume to create lift easily. Normally with an inexperienced crew when you go reaching and running the biggest thing you will do is trip. So I think it is an inspired boat.’

Since arriving in Scotland, DDZ Marine have already sold two boats and both will be at this month’s Scottish Series along with DDZ’s own demonstrator which will be sailed by Olympic silver medallist Luke Patience.

Two boats sold and a third on the stocks is quite a strong indicator of the interest to date, but DDZ say they have a diary filled with test sails and so Barry Lauchlan is confident he will be able to get more boats away in short order.

To be honest, initially when I saw the boat last year I struggled to get excited about the B/One and in fact until I got in the boat for an all too brief late afternoon sail I was still not over enthusiastic.

Simplicity of purpose and use are part of the key. The controls are simple and the hardware is well spec’d. We set up the boat from scratch in a matter of an hour – first timers at everything using the step by step manual – and we trailer launched the boat off the ramp at Largs Yacht Haven with great ease.

The all in purchase price is around £28k including VAT and trailer but there should not be too many add on costs on top of that.

The class rules are strict with only the Hyde Sails package permitted. The performance main is square topped which means no backstay. The jib rolls easily and is set with a 2:1 halyard and luff rope which goes down the inside of the zipped luff sleeve to meet the multi purpose tack downhaul system that works well, although we did seem to end up with the foot a little too high off the deck.

The 9/10th hoist gennaker is 517sq.ft and sets on a simple 4ft 4in sprit which is recessed into the deck, with the kite launched normally from a turtle behind the mast.

There is a foredeck hatch, but I am not sure how much it will be used for sail handling.

The keel is lowered and raised on a simple crane system. It’s a t-style bulb of 370kg set on a relatively narrow foil, giving a maximum draft of 1.65m keel down and less than half a metre with the keel and rudder up.

The alloy rudder blade drops into a simple cassette and works really well. Also carrying on the super easy theme, the deck stepped swept back spreader alloy rig can be raised by two people. And tuning is kept easy with simple turnbuckle adjustments.

Maximum crew weight under one design rules is 285kg so that is really four relatively slim adults, the maximum crew number is six.

There is some simple accommodation which can be built up below with berths for four and even a little chemical cludgy if that takes your fancy. But certainly there is a real weekending ability for those who don’t miss cruiser comforts.

Instead of the 1720 and SB3 style granny bars there are small stanchions and guardrails which are easily removed. We sailed without them.

Sheet controls are good too. The mainsheet runs from a little bridle forward to the central swivelling cleat. At the front by the main companionway hatch all the main controls fall to hand. The main halyard is hoisted at the mast with a double cleat arrangement.

We had only a light breeze and short period of time to sail the B/One for the first time but I found it an extremely pleasant surprise. Although the foils are relatively narrow I did not struggle at all to find the groove and there is plenty of upwind sail power to provide acceleration and maximise feel.

Even in the gentle puff the B/One came alive nicely.

Initially I was a little surprised how easily she seemed to heel to the pressure. It did not suggest it will be tender, rather that there is definitely some life in this boat which is in essence similar to the bigger, grand prix one design Farr 400. Upwind it was easy to keep the boat moving through the lulls, keeping a nice sensation on the helm which never felt draggy or like it was braking, but always positive. We could squeeze quite high without unnecessarily starving the flow over the sails, keeping a nice balance.

Setting the gennaker is standard practice without any headaches and is accomplished easily by two. Keeping weight on the rail, you might suspect, will be rewarded.

Under gennaker in 5kts of breeze we bubbled along nicely in the setting sun. The boat tracked well but was always responsive, building speed when heated up then just rolling down to a more open angle when the pressure allowed.

For sure it would be nice to have had another couple of B/One’s out there to race against!

Conclusion: a great boat which, for me, is a really pleasing synthesis of all that has been good about the recent generations of sportboats.

In the UK and Ireland the 1720 had its day, but was just too big and unwieldy for what it was. Here the B/One appeals to some of this market – the mature, accomplished owners looking for a well built quality one design which has ample space for mildly less mobile crew.

But equally it has moments when it feels more of a yacht than the SB3 which is more for dinghy sailors in their first sports keelboat, and few people use their SB3 with their family.

For us this could easily have been a later afternoon pleasure cruise with a picnic, a few beers and Holli the Labrador along as sail trim coach. Well, she did see the word B/One and wanted one. As I do!