Boat Review: Bavaria Vision 46

According to Bavaria, the new Vision 46 is: “designed, from the start, to embody the cruising sailor’s wish list.” I have to admit, though, that I wasn’t paying too much attention to this wish list as we cast off lines prior to a recent delivery from Mystic, Connecticut.
Author:
Publish date:

According to Bavaria, the new Vision 46 is: “designed, from the start, to embody the cruising sailor’s wish list.” I have to admit, though, that I wasn’t paying too much attention to this wish list as we cast off lines prior to a recent delivery from Mystic, Connecticut, to the Newport International Boat Show.

Bavaria Vision 46

The forecast called for steady east-southeast winds with occasional squalls. As a result, I was far more curious as to how the boat would do if and when the wind piped up. Like the Cruiser line, which Bavaria first unveiled and then brought across the Atlantic over the past couple of years, the Vision 46 is a beamy boat with plenty of lounging space aft and accommodations below. This is all well and good, until the boat starts to heel dramatically in a heavy breeze. At that point, all too many modern cruising boats start rounding up into the wind, as the rudder loses control. I was particularly concerned since unlike its cousin the Bavaria Cruiser 45, the Vision 46 has only a single rudder.

Bav46

Making our way along the Connecticut coast, though, it didn’t take long to realize my concerns were completely unfounded. Sailing out from behind the lee of Long Island, the wind picked up to 15 and then 20 knots, with gusts of 25 knots and more—all the while shifting back and forth so that we alternately found ourselves on anything from a close to broad reach.

A few hours later, rounding Point Judith we were also treated to some pretty impressive swells coming on our starboard quarter. But the Vision 46 handled it all with little if any problem.

Bav46_3

I’m not sure how the Farr Design Office did it—chalk it up to a nice big rudder and well balanced canoe body?—but the boat remained under control the entire time, even when we pushed the boat under too much canvas. As the wind started cranking up into the high teens, I could certainly feel the helm beginning to load up, but it never once lost its grip. It was more a case of the boat letting us know how it felt, telling us it was time to reef and giving us plenty of time do to so without scaring us in the process. When we did roll in a bit of our in-mast furling main, the boat promptly settled back down, as did the helm. Once again the message was loud and clear, without ever once becoming hysterical. Check one very big box on this sailor’s wish list!
[advertisement]

As for the other boxes, Bavaria did a pretty good job with them as well. Belowdecks, the boat is well built and well laid out with a whole host of details that are both practical and well executed. Among my favorites are the deep centerline sinks set in a kind of “island” in the galley space; a retractable nav table that slides down to create a nice long sea berth in the port settee; a retractable saloon table that creates a double to starboard; and excellent engine access via the companionway steps and quarterberths.

Topsides, the arrangement is as practical as it is comfortable. Sybarites will love the trademark Bavaria drop-down swim platform and the way the cockpit table can be lowered to bench level to create and open-air double berth. Hard-nosed sailors will appreciate the twin helm stations, which include a roughly oval-shaped cushion where you can wedge yourself in while on watch and the cut-out in the hinged seat that allows you to swing your leg through and straddle the helm when beating.

Bav46_2

Of particular interest is the boat’s offset companionway, with all control lines leading to a single winch to port, à la the latest generation of TP 52s and the Farr 400. By moving the companionway to port, Bavaria was able to free up more space belowdecks for the galley and centerline sink. It was also able to streamline the topsides layout and construction processes by eliminating a second winch. If it sounds strange putting together a boat this way, it’s not. In fact, it didn’t take long to not only get used to the arrangement, but wonder why more boat’s aren’t put together this way.
[advertisement]

Finally, with its Vision line, Bavaria decided to push the envelope aesthetically, creating a look more in keeping with its Gallic competitors, in contrast to the very conservative lines of its Cruiser series. The result is a boat that is thoroughly modern and very good looking. As a practical matter, the large, deck-saloon-style windows combine with a wealth of hatches to admit plenty of ambient light. Wide side decks, good molded-in antiskid, flush hatches and a wooden toerail make moving about a breeze. Jib sheets, and Bavaria’s double mainsheet arrangement run back to the helm for easy tending.

bav46_4

I was surprised to discover that the “teak” cockpit sole and cockpit benches were, in fact, a synthetic material recently brought to market by a German manufacturer. The result is more than just acceptable, it’s excellent. The only reason I even noticed was because the seams were too good to be actually, mathematically precise to a degree that would simply be impossible when laying individual planks. The advantage to a synthetic deck, of course, is that fact that they require, in essence, zero maintenance and never splinter or go gray. I hope the market embraces this bold move on the part of Bavaria.

All in all, a great boat—and a memorable delivery. If only they could all be that much fun!

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 45ft 10in

LWL: 42ft 2in

Beam: 13ft 8in

Draft: 5ft 6in (draft)

Displacement: 27,116lb

Sail Area: 1,109 ft2

Bavaria Yachts USA

Related

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell. Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.com No chafe, safe stay  If you’re leaving the boat unattended for a longish period, there’s a lot to be said for cow-hitching the shorelines, as this sailor did. They’ll never let go, and so long as the ...read more

belize600x

Charter Special: Belize

It would be hard to imagine a more secure spot than the Sunsail base on the outskirts of the beachside community of Placencia, Belize. The entire marina is protected by a robust seawall with a channel scarcely a few boatlengths across. It’s also located far enough up Placencia ...read more

DSC00247

DIY: a Top-to-Bottom Refit

I found my sailing “dream boat” in the spring of 1979 while racing on Lake St. Clair in Michigan. Everyone had heard about the hot new boat in town, and we were anxiously awaiting the appearance of this new Pearson 40. She made it to the starting line just before the race ...read more

01-oysteryachts-regattas-loropiana2016_063

Light-air Sails and How to Handle Them

In the second of a two-part series on light-air sails, Rupert Holmes looks at how today’s furling gear has revolutionized sail handling off the wind. Read part 1 here. It’s easy to look at long-distance racing yachts of 60ft and above with multiple downwind sails set on roller ...read more

HanseCharles

Video Tour: Hanse 348

“It’s a smaller-size Hanse cruiser, but with some big-boat features,” says SAIL’s Cruising Editor, Charles J. Doane. At last fall’s Annapolis Boat Show, Doane had a chance to take a close look at the new Hanse 348. Some of the boat’s highlights include under-deck galleries for ...read more

amalfitown

Charter Destination: Amalfi Coast

Prego! Weeks after returning from our Italian flotilla trip last summer, I was still feeling the relaxed atmosphere of the Amalfi Coast. It’s a Mediterranean paradise, with crystal-clear waters, charming hillside towns and cliffside villages, plenty of delicious food and wine, ...read more

image005

Inside or Outside When Sailing the ICW

Last April, my wife, Marjorie, and I decided to take our Tartan 4100, Meri, north to Maryland from her winter home in Hobe Sound, Florida. This, in turn, meant deciding whether to stay in the “Ditch” for the duration or go offshore part of the way. Although we had both been ...read more

MK1_30542

SailGP: There’s a New Sailing Series in Town

San Francisco was the venue of the biggest come-from-behind victory in the history of the America’s Cup when Oracle Team USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand in 2013, so it seems only fitting that the first American round of Larry Ellison’s new SailGP pro sailing series will be ...read more