Bavaria 42 Sport HT Review

The Bavaria 42HT is the biggest powerboat in the Bavaria motorboat range. So, yes, I have finally met the big fella from Bavaria and survived the encounter.

2007 is a big year for the German Bavaria Yachtbau company, which produces around 3500 vessels a year. Not only does it have a new owner with significant existing interests in the marine industry, but it has an Australian dealer doing triple-time to shift all of the boats it’s selling, while continuing to expanded its operations across the country.
Andy Howden, from Bavaria Sports Boats in Sydney, explained that the larger Bavaria sports boats benefit the most from the cost savings related to the company’s streamlined production process.

As a result this big volume 42-footer hits our shores at an extremely competitive price (around $775,000) and contains some cutting edge gear like the Volvo IPS drive system and the nifty Volvo Penta Joystick docking system.
Joystick docking.

The Joystick Docking System is a standout and allowed Andy and I to get the vessel out of Birkenhead marina during blowy conditions with ease. Admittedly, as a humble boat reviewer I wasn’t in a position to be responsible for any damage to such a valuable toy, so I left the high wind marina manoeuvres to Andy.

As we lurched (during a gust) perilously close to one of those ugly and potentially damaging black oyster laden pylons at the marina entrance, Andy flicked the 42-footer’s bow quickly out of danger and explained that it’s so simple anyone can use this system.

“Hey mate, can you pass me a drink!” At that point I thought, computers crash, usually at the wrong time, and so do boats. But it seemed that the IPS Joystick system had everything under control.

Put simply, the Joystick system coordinates the bow thruster and forward facing IPS drives through one intuitive control that’s guaranteed to make any skipper look like an old salt. It’s nifty technology that quickly gets the vessel moving in any direction and on windy days, like today, the ‘booster’ switch adds more grunt to the manoeuvres. The feature was a $15,000 add-on, but in the scale of things, on this class of vessel it would be a must have option.

Some surprises
What surprised me about the test vessel was that all the hallmarks of the smaller Bavaria motorboats are carried over to the larger craft. It’s almost like the little toys have grown up.

This 12-tonne vessel has two bathrooms, two cabins, a cavernous saloon and a hardtop-covered cockpit that’s ventilated by a substantial sun-roof. It took little time to remove the aft covers and get underway, but the IPS drives did an exceptional job of delivering balanced power right across the range and still keeping engine noise to very modest levels.

Hardtops often reverberate the engine noise around the helm area, but the IPS engines are located further aft than the average shaft drive, so noise stays out of the cockpit, which is a bonus.

We spent some time fiddling with the EVC management system and worked out that the nine-hours-young engines had consumed a total of 280lt, or close to 30lt per hour, which is a sign of the IPS’s relative efficiency.

The vessel’s twin seat helm had perhaps a little too much plastic for a vessel of this calibre but offered good visibility and the choice of bolster, or sit down driving. Instruments covered all that was required and there was a space waiting for the GPS/Chartplotter of the owner’s choice.

Performance & handling
The Bavaria climbed onto the plane easily and cruised effortlessly at speeds between 16 and 25 knots. At WOT she hit 27.5 knots, which isn’t bad considering we had less than 600 horses shifting 12 tonnes of plastic, metal and timber. I’d say the 18-22 knot range would be the most popular, which will give the boat a cruising range of around 350 nautical miles. Naturally the range increases at non-planing speed and at 8 knots she was extremely comfortable.

The size and beam of the vessel suggested that it would be very stable. We didn’t get her offshore, but as an indicator there were some ornaments casually placed about below for the photo shoot and after all of our manoeuvres they were still in place ? a testament to the vessel’s ride.

Stability aside the Bavaria 42 was a lot of fun to drive and there’s no better boost to the ego than getting behind the helm of an expensive craft that responds to the skipper’s every whim.

Exceptional comfort
Naturally, the Bavaria 42 is a vessel designed for exceptional comfort. There are plenty of lounges and settees scattered around the boat. The cockpit lounge converts into a queen-size sun pad.

The swim platform offers access to a large aft storage area where a tender and outboard motor can be stowed. A local shipwright is due to fit an extension to this platform, which will add more outdoor space to the vessel.

The big galley is supported by another bar with fridge in the cockpit. The owner of this vessel had chosen to have one of the LCD TVs movable, so he could set it up and watch the TV (football) inside or out.

Other options include a 4.5kVA generator; air-conditioning and a Bergen leather saloon.

Naturally, the choice of features is up to the owner, but the base price of this vessel, with the IPS400 Volvos but without the Joystick System, is $745,000.

The accommodation set-up on the Bavaria 42 suggest that longer onboard stays would suit this craft and a trip up or down the coast for a couple of weeks would be in the diary of any new Bavaria 42 Sport HT owner. It would certainly be a comfortable adventure.