TO DIFFERENT owners the Bavaria 37 will either represent a step on their boating journey or an end destination in itself. In its size and price band it’s still what we consider entry level for first time buyers coming into sailing these days, but it will also appeal to owners stepping up every few years as their commitment, enjoyment and how much hard cash they can commit to their leisure investment increases, writes Yachting Life boat test editor Andi Robertson. Bavaria have improved progressively over the last 10 or so years and they still represent one of the best value marques, selling ‘on price’ as we say, bringing to the consumer the benefits of economies of scale, but they have improved their build and finish standards commensurately. Bavaria owners do tend to be unpretentious and proud of their boats, but they are in turn more often a means to get out on the water and go sailing, rather than something to be cosseted, to be polished, preened and pimped. The couple who generously lent us their time and boat to take us out on their shiny new Bavaria 37 Cruiser are quite typical of the Bavaria owner. They have had a number of smaller pocket cruisers which got them into boat ownership and out passage making around the coast, and they have chartered quite extensively in the Mediterranean and Aegean. But neither option was really fulfilling and they wanted space, comfort and a good sailing ability as well. They did their homework, went to boat shows, saw the 37 and there was no other option. They wanted a modern, spacious, easy to sail utility cruiser with a good but safe sailing performance. Previous fans of sailing on the Lakes, they wanted to keep the boat on Loch Lomond where they could also use their boat as a ‘country cottage’. So when the weather is not so good, for example, or the fancy takes them, they will get in the car and go to the Trossachs, or down the coast, or up to Glasgow. And back on the loch, the boat at 37ft is not too big to sail with just the two of them.
The 2015 launched Cruiser 37 sails beautifully. The Farr designed hull is sweet with a powerful aft section offering speed and stability as well as loads of interior space. The cockpit and deck space is great. The drop down transom offers fantastic access and a big, solid bathing platform.
The naturally light, spacy interior is simple and nicely finished and one of the most memorable features of the boat. Our test boat had the standard roller furling mainsail and genoa but other options are available.
I’d probably specify a good fully battened main and some kind of Code Zero and cruising chute if you really wanted to up the performance, because I am sure the Cruiser 37 would be happy to be pushed hard. Bavaria’s series production techniques are among the most advanced in the industry. The hulls are foam sandwich above the waterline and solid laminate below. They are all hand laid up. The decks are foam cored too, but the advanced automation in the production ensures great accuracy in each area.
The hull is robustly supported by a laminated-in chassis which takes all the main keel and rig loads and there is a collision bulkhead in the forward area. The rig is deck stepped 9/10th fractional mast from Selden with twin swept back spreaders. The chainplates are substantial and bonded into the hull sides and the shroud base is wide, minimising the rig compression. The twin backstay is powerful enough.
The standard keel has a substantial cast iron bulb, but there is a shoal version too. Twin wheels give perfect forward and all round vision and the helm has a solid position for standing or sitting out, both secure and comfortable. The mainsheet is a double bridle system which negates the need for a track. One sheet pulls the boom to leeward and one to windward. These are tailed to the coachroof while the genoa is sheeted to the coachroof edge mounted tracks which keeps the sheeting angle narrower.
When you have such a wonderful sail on Loch Lomond with the surrounding snow capped mountains stretching all around, a gentle W’ly breeze and warm spring sunshine, who needs the Med?
Against such a backdrop on such a day it is easy to love any boat, but the Bavaria Cruiser 37 really is a bit special too.
It’s a double winner, Yacht of the Year for a US magazine and in Europe. Even on that basis you might be forgiven for looking for some outstanding or outlandish features which clinch the deal, but the reality is that the Bavaria 37 Cruiser is great because it does everything it should in an understated manner.
It sails beautifully, with an easy feeling. It gets up and goes in the lightest breeze and tracks well, feels sharp and is responsive on the helm. True, we did not get the chance to really press her, but the Farr Yacht Design hull really goes well.
The interior allows two versions. The two cabin option is the more popular, producing a massive port locker. The finish is excellent and there is more wood evident now with the Design Unlimited interior. It is super simple, but well executed. The galley is big with great work surface space and double sinks.
There is a big saloon table and high, comfortable settees. We liked the aft facing nav table at the end of the port seat. Up front is the owner’s cabin with a really big V berth, excellent ambient light and headroom.
Overall it’s hard not to love the Bavaria Cruiser 37. It is an accomplished cruising yacht with a good turn of speed, while being safe and spacious. For a couple on their own, or with one or two young children there is lots of space, but it is not too big to handle on their own, especially for anyone lower down the learning curve.