Boat Review By Dieter Loibner

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Weapon of Mass Production

The stylish Bavaria 42 Cruiser introduces the prolific German builder's latest cruising line

When our Boat of the Year judging team first saw the Bavaria 42 Cruiser at the U. S. Sailboat Show in Annapolis, Maryland, during the fall of 2004, they experienced a mild case of déjà vu. After all, the boat's BMW-like styling and its blue-and-white color scheme are practically trademarks of the German builder Bavaria Yachtbau, which operates one of the world's most automated and technologically advanced boatyards in Giebelstadt, hundreds of miles from the nearest briny.

According to the design brief obtained from Bavaria's U.S. representative, Bruce Mundle, the new 42 is a performance cruiser aimed at "a second-time owner who desires comfortable coastal sailing with strong offshore potential." The Slovenian design firm of J&J Design delivered a stylish vessel that will indeed take you down the coast or out to the islands, and it will cut a nice fig ure at the dock or on the hook when not making tracks.

For the hull, Bavaria employed traditional fiberglass construction techniques with a sandwich laminate above the waterline and solid glass below (with a second layer reinforcing the keel area). Aramid fabric in the bow can minimize damage from a collision.

Alvah Simon, who judged the deck layout and overall ergonomics, liked the solid footing on the cockpit's teak surfaces, the square-patterned nonskid on the cabin top, and the wide and safe foredeck. The judges found the self-draining cockpit with leather-clad dual wheels to be spacious and functional. Bavaria's clever choice of oval Lewmar ports enhances the boat's exterior look and facilitates good ventilation with lots of natural light.

The test boat had the standard three-cabin layout with a bright saloon, thanks to the large, slanted, aluminum-framed rectangular deck lights abaft the mast. This layout incorporates two head/shower compartments. The forward-facing nav table is well sized for using paper charts and accommodates the necessary instrumentation as well as the electrical switch panel.

The 42 C features an L-

shaped galley in the main saloon, which raised concerns about workability in a seaway. "The double sinks are a bit shallow, and you need to strap yourself in," said Alvah. Regarding the upholstery, he said, "Above and beyond anything else we've seen." Below the floorboards, one electrical and one manual bilge pump and a sump with strainer were solid nods toward safety, as was the exemplary access to the steering system.

The test boat had a fixed, three-bladed prop, an in-mast furling main, and the 5-foot-11-inch shoal-draft keel option with cast-iron ballast. While it plowed along in the gusty 15- to 18-knot breeze with only moderate weather helm, the boat was stifled a bit by a mainsail that required some tuning tweaks.

With the boat heeling to

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