Issue: July 2004
BMB’s James Mark Anthony and Andy Howden are the first to admit that Bavaria Motor Boats isn’t the first name that springs to mind when people start looking for the latest in express cruiser development and technology in Australia. But since their introduction onto the Australian market in 2000, more than 25 BMB powerboats ranging from 25 to 38 feet have now been sold and the number is climbing rapidly. On the other side of the coin, Bavaria Yachtbau (Germany), the manufacturer of Bavaria Motor Boats, has been building high quality yachts from its Wurberg factory for 25 years.
In 1998, BMB began upgrading its state-of-the-art production techniques and added 25,000 sq m of additional floor space to its existing factory. This allowed BMB to expand its production output from 1200 boats a year to more than 3000. In the last four years more than 200 BMB yachts have been sold in this country, so the build quality of its yachts is well established, but now it’s the quality of BMB powerboats that’s turning heads and stealing the scene. Yes, build quality is important, but so is value-for-money and the BMB 32 is exceptional value.
Why’ Well, for starters she’s a true 32 footer, not 32 feet including marlin board and bowsprit. This means that you are actually getting 34 feet of usable space from a 32-footer and there aren’t many 34 footers around with a $278,000 price tag. The BMB 32’s layout is extremely well thought out and the single level design from the helm out to the end of the swim platform creates a feeling of space and togetherness. This clever design also carries over into this boat’s performance and handling with a standard engine package that delivers good fuel economy and spritely performance.
The test boat is fitted with twin Volvo Penta 4.3lt 225hp GXI/DPS sterndrives with Duo Props, which under optimum conditions produce 42 knots (50mph or 75kph). Even though this boat has been in the water for a few months ‘ she had a bit of growth on her bum ‘ she could still hit 40 knots pulling 4600rpm. Other engine options are twin Volvo Penta 5.7lt GXI/DPS petrol engines and three diesel motor variants including twin Volvo Penta D6-310 EVC/DPH 298hp units. The twin 225s have more than enough power for fun boating, but it is this boat’s handling that is most impressive.
You can throw the helm from lock to lock without fear of getting yourself into trouble as the hull dances from rail to rail ‘ which of course we did for the photo shoot. Also impressive was that after throwing the boat through numerous doughnuts and tight turns there wasn’t a drop of water on the windscreen. The helm was extremely light and responsive and even the slightest movement of the wheel got an immediate response from the bow. In short, here was 5400kg boat that handled like a high-speed runabout. But her weight is also another asset when handling rough water and chop, allowing her to slice through swells cleanly. No banging and crashing all over the ocean here.
The BMB 32’s hull is also extremely well balanced and even though the boat is fitted with trim tabs, they are only needed to trim an uneven load. What about slow speed manoeuvring around the marina’ No problems here either, because the stern drives are far enough apart to work efficiently in isolation and the Duo Props get a good bite on the water. Although, having said that, the standard fitment bow thruster certainly makes life easier. This boat’s engine room also get a ‘tick in the box’ ‘ it’s enormous. Electrically operated gas struts lift the aft deck floor to expose the two compact V6 engines. There’s plenty of room to move around in here and it’s easy to carry out routine maintenance and daily servicing.
But there’s also another side to BMB powerboat that isn’t normally spoken of at length. Each boat must have a CE certificate of conformity to reflect minimum demands stipulated by the EU for free trade. All Bavaria Motor Boats are built in excess of these requirements and all qualify to Cat BOffshore rated Force 8 on the Beaufort scale. The only thing the BMB ask is that you close the cabin door when the wind hits Force 5, so the upholstery below decks doesn’t get damaged by spray. I mentioned earlier these boat were good value for money, so what do you get for your dollar’ Starting at the helm, the Carbon Fibre dash features full instrumentation and extra dash space to mount a comprehensive electronics package.
One additional instrument you don’t see on many boats is a chain counter. Using this with your depth sounder ensures you lay out the correct amount of chain for the depth, so you anchor securely. The bolster driver’s seat makes standing and driving extremely comfortable with clear vision to all quarters. This seat is also forward/aft adjustable. The aft cockpit is relatively open and easy to move around. For the navigator and a couple of friends there’s a U-shaped lounge to port and a wet bar, fridge and sink to starboard. Behind this is another U-shaped lounge with a rectangular table for alfresco dining. The entire seating arrangement can also be folded down and it converts into a large and useful flat sun pad. Speaking of the Aussie sun, the test boat is fitted with a permanent bimini that offers good protection over the helm and most of the aft cockpit.
There is a solid stainless steel transom door, which locks securely and gives access to the wide swim platform with its integral ladder and hot/cold transom shower. Out on the foredeck are three large hatches shedding light into the main cabin and another sun pad for those wishing to soak up a few rays. The entire foredeck is surrounded by a solid, high, stainless steel bow rail, which extends all the way back to the transom. Below decks there are two double berths, the bow vee berth for mum and dad and a double bed in the amidships cabin under the helm floor.
Although this cabin has a low ceiling there is a small lounge at its entrance where you can sit to get changed before going to bed. This cabin has an opening porthole and a hanging locker. The main saloon is spacious and open with a lounge and oval table to port ‘ it doesn’t convert into another bed ‘ and a fully functional galley to port. This features a good size refrigerator, two-burner stove, sink, microwave oven and plenty of storage cupboards and drawers. The compact bathroom is sited next to the galley and while it’s a little squeezy, there is plenty of room to complete your ablutions. Generally speaking, I found it hard to fault this German-built boat. If I had to say anything it would be to maybe lighten up the wood used in the panelling and joinery.
This would make the main saloon seem even bigger than it already does. The BMB 32 is an ideal cruiser for mum and dad and a couple of kids, or two couples to overnight in. The beds are large enough to get truly comfortable in, so you don’t have to squash up against your partner ‘ unless you want to that is. Then, because the amidship’s cabin has a solid door, two couples can sleep in complete privacy. The BMB 32 boasts all the comforts of home and her sparkling performance and responsive handling make her fun and a pleasure to drive. With a price tag of around $278,000, this big 32-footer is sure to be a winner on the ‘looking for value’ Australian market as a gutsy all-round family weekender.
Longer stays are also a distinct possibility.
Words and Photos by Ian Macrae