Bayliner 3788 Review

Issue: March 2001

The latest addition to the ever-expanding Bayliner fleet, the 3788 flybridge motoryacht, is a cruising boat that makes not even the slightest attempt to attract the owner interested in fishing. And as a dedicated cruising and entertaining boat there are two features that I really like – the spacious flybridge and the light and bright saloon.

The single level saloon is no larger than comparable models from other manufacturers, but there are numerous design and decor aspects that make this highly used area of the boat seem very generous.

It’s an open single level plan enhanced by the use of light colours. As well, the saloon windows are large, ensuring that passengers can easily see out when seated in the saloon lounges.

The layout is similar to other flybridge cruisers of this size, but a lot of little things have gone together to make it all work in such a big, light and bright manner. Nowhere in the saloon is space and room for movement cramped.

To create this spacious open area, the second berth is tucked completely back in under the lower helm station (or the dinette, if the lower helm station is omitted). We see this happening quite a lot these days as designers try to sneak a little more space into the saloon or in some instances try to make the second cabin more accommodating.

In a layout akin to the aft transverse berth in most sportscruisers, we have a full size double berth tucked back under the saloon deck. There is a dressing area forward of the berth along with a hanging locker and small seat. It’s not the largest, brightest or most opulent second cabin you will find but it serves the purpose for sleeping.

By contrast, the forward main cabin is most generous. It features a double island berth with hanging lockers either side of the cabin bulkhead and has direct access into the shared bathroom. And I mean “bathroom” because there is a small bathtub built in with the shower recess. It’s a facility rarely found on a cruiser of this size, but no doubt a facility that a select number of cruiser owners would appreciate. However, with a 470 litre fresh water supply it may be wise to limit the use of the bath if you are spending considerable time away from port or a fresh water supply.

Given the accommodation is limited to four people, the compartment is not at all squeezy and serves the cruising role of the 3788 ideally. That said, larger people may find the doorways a tad cramped.

There are two helm stations, though the layout options allow for a single flybridge station and separate dinette in the saloon. Without a fully enclosed flybridge, the lower helm station is almost a must for Australian conditions.

Visibility from the lower helm is excellent and the inclusion of a fixed seat makes it a safe and comfortable point from which to skipper the boat for long periods, including during wet and cold weather. At the same time, the seat does not overly encroach on saloon space.

Two heater units are standard, while air conditioning is an option many will consider (though the saloon and main cabin are reasonably well ventilated).

The flybridge helm station is set forward and to starboard on the top deck. This enables a very generous lounge to wrap around the port side.

The bridge level deck extends aft to shade and shelter the cockpit below, and there is a lot of space for people to move around without tripping over each other.

Moulded stairs provide easy and safe access to the top deck, with the hatch being exceptionally large to ensure no one bumps their head going up or down. Of course, it leaves a large hole for someone to accidentally fall down as well, so Bayliner have fitted a moulded hatch to close it off, an excellent safety feature.

Underway, the 3788 is a comfortable, well balanced and easy boat to drive. During our test it did not reveal any need to use the trim tabs and it performed nicely in the optimum cruise range.

To sum up, this boat is all about cruising and entertaining, and for those roles has been well planned. The sleeping accommodation plays second fiddle.

Price at around $510,000 as tested, it sits competitively in the market. It is a complete package that leaves only a bimini and air conditioning as additional expenses.

No less than six twin inboard engine options are available for the Bayliner 3788 – three petrol and three diesel – and the twin 330hp Cummins as tested are the top range option for diesel power.

For my liking they’re probably the only engine package to be considered. While the smaller Cummins diesels (250hp and 270hp will be adequate, based on our test I believe the 330s are better suited to the boat.

They will not be worked hard to produce adequate performance for both short and long term cruising. Running at 2200 to 2300 rpm for 17 to 19 knots, the hull trims nicely and background engine noise is way down. At this speed the hull handles water conditions extremely comfortably, with no spray and an easy ride for all those on board.

At anything under 2300 the hull trims nicely and even from the lower station, the foredeck stays down low enough to give the driver a good clear view.

In the 2400-2600 range the bow does tend to get a bit higher and a light touch on the down tabs may be necessary if you are going to run for any extended period in this range. But the hull does level out without the use of the tabs, over those last few hundred RPM to full throttle.

1000 7.5
1500 10.8
2000 14.3
2200 17
2400 20.2
2600 22.8

Words by David Toyer, Photos by Greg McBean & Mark Rothfield.