SCENIC grandeur doesn’t come much better than Loch Lomond on a sunny summer’s day and the best place to view Britain’s biggest inland water is afloat. So enter, the perfect motor yacht for the job, because the new Bavaria E40 has far and away the best all round vision from anywhere in the main saloon, than any other cruiser of its size, writes YL editor Alistair Vallance.
The forward ‘windscreen’ is immense, massive/and reminiscent in fact of a cinemascope screen.
All side windows are high and clear, meaning not only spectacular views, but a bright and airy feel to the saloon.
Great play is made in the keelboat business about the advantages of a deck saloon yacht where you can view the anchorage or the marina while seated in the main dining area. Fine, but nothing compares to the all round vision, and I mean 360°, provided by the Bavaria E40.
Anyway, after a day sailing this German built newcomer, launched to the press for a first UK sighting off the bonnie banks, at Cameron House Marina, it quickly became obvious that there were other attributes of this unique semi displacement hull with its centre boat mounted engine, shaft, P bracket, propeller and a rudder. No stern drive here.
Yes, this is a proper cruiser, a stately craft which behaves impeccably.
Our test model, the Sedan version, captured our interest as soon as we went to step aboard.
Staircase steps port and starboard on the transom. Fold down bathing boarding platform in between, surely more common on a 40/44ft yacht?
However, when questioned, the Bavaria team from Germany, Clipper Marine crew from the Hamble and Scottish dealer Stan Prosser of Marine Sales Scotland admitted that the Vripack design did indeed start out as a blueprint for a cruising yacht, but they changed direction and created an interesting half way house for a motor cruiser, giving it a 30cm deep keel.
And there lies another story… as each Bavaria E40 arrives in the UK by road transport it is accompanied on the low loader with the keel. On arrival in Britain the main hull is lowered and bonded onto the keel before delivery to the new owner.
On Loch Lomond, the 30cm deep keel made its presence felt, giving steady progress on a day of mixed weather, varying from strong cross winds to sun and calm.
After casting off from Cameron House Marina, the E40 edged out to open waters with judicious use of bow and stern thrusters with the 150hp diesel at ‘slow ahead’.
Weathering the Cameron House headland, we gave the Volvo Penta D3 the full 3,200 revs. The scribes weren’t paying for the fuel!
At 10kts the Bavaria Sedan behaved as if stabilised, ocean liner style, and this speed offers ‘get you anywhere quickly’ progress on Loch Lomond.
Going through manoeuvres, the wheel on the centre controls console is hydraulically supported, but a bit sluggish in fact taking six full turns from hard aport to full starboard.
The benefit of the shaft engine and rudder though, was seen in the E40’s ability to turn in its own wake with the wheel hard over.
It must be said that positioning of the console, with all controls to hand is socially brilliant. For once, guests don’t just see the back of the skipper, he or she is right there as part of the ship’s company and because of the huge ‘windscreen’ and elevated saloon seating, forward vision is first class.
The galley slave too can enjoy being part of the social fabric of the cruise, since full catering facilities are sited to port with the large saloon table behind ready to be served.
The six seat cockpit is cleverly designed as a ‘two and four’ to allow ample access space to traverse from transom to saloon.
While up top, the width of the side decks is adequate for moving forward while under way, but use of the handhold rail is recommended.
Once at the bow, the huge space for a double sun bed is surprising on a 40ft cruiser.
Bavaria’s E40 comes with either two or three double bedrooms. We had the latter for the UK launch and such is the beam designed into the Sedan that two double cabins were accommodated aft with a shower/heads to serve both. Drawings of the optional, huge double berth aft cabins however, had us drooling…
Access to the Volvo Penta D3 engine is amazingly simple. The well muffled power plant under the saloon is easily accessible in its own engine room.
Through the saloon and down to the forward cabin, it also boasts a double bed in a traditional ‘V’ shape with its own separate heads and separate shower accommodation.
Cabin clothes storage is not massive, but all three beds lift from the foot for loads of bags storage.
After its UK launch and an opportunity for Stan Prosser to invite potential customers aboard, the E40 was transported to Southampton Boat Show where it joined the Flybridge version in a twin display.
The cost of the E40 in Sedan form as tested spec’d to the gunwhales and fully commissioned in Scotland is £292,000 inc VAT, but if planning to cruise on large inland waters, owners might like to consider the all green hybrid power option: diesel/electric with lithium-ion batteries and only adding £18,000 to the price tag.