BAVARIA C45

The Ger­man mar­que may have run into choppy wa­ters but the C45 will surely help it weather the storm

Yachting Monthly - - CONTENTS - Words and Pic­tures Gra­ham Snook

The lat­est Bavaria is big, bold and a game-changer for this Ger­man yard. But what is she like to sail?

Bavaria has, in the past, tried to re­duce the cost of build­ing boats and stream­line man­u­fac­ture, some­times at the ex­pense of qual­ity. Thank­fully those days ap­pear to be gone – its new C45 feels like a real step up. She’s avail­able in three va­ri­eties: the Hol­i­day, ideal for those want­ing to char­ter out their boat or keep things ba­sic, the Am­bi­tion is more sail­ing ori­en­tated with a clear cock­pit and op­tions for a deeper keel and car­bon-fi­bre rig or the Style, tested here, de­signed with the owner, space and com­fort in mind.

The C45 has, how­ever, had to weather some­thing of a storm; shortly af­ter its launch at this year’s boot Düs­sel­dorf, Bavaria an­nounced it was applying for in­sol­vency. Pro­duc­tion has con­tin­ued and new in­vestors were show­ing in­ter­est at the time of writ­ing but an of­fi­cial state­ment about its fu­ture hadn’t yet been is­sued.

PER­FOR­MANCE

On the wind with 19-23 knots ap­par­ent we had to reef the in-mast furl­ing main­sail, while keep­ing a full self­tack­ing jib. She felt heavy on the helm; reef­ing the main­sail fur­ther might have given a bit more bal­ance and hope­fully re­duced her ten­der­ness when over­pow­ered. She was in con­trol, wasn’t heel­ing ex­ces­sively or grip­ing, and the main didn’t seem con­stantly over­pow­ered, so, apart from heavy helm it didn’t feel like a reef was nec­es­sary. She has a twin main­sheet sys­tem run­ning two winches on each side of the cock­pit and, in ret­ro­spect, I won­dered whether us­ing the lower sheet would have im­proved mat­ters. It was only dur­ing the heav­ier con­di­tions when this be­came ap­par­ent. In the shel­ter of Southamp­ton Wa­ter the wind re­duced to Force 4 and she felt far more balanced and more com­fort­able on the wheel.

I’m sure I could get used to the twin main­sheet sys­tem, but when we were over­pow­ered it was nec­es­sary to let out the main­sheet, only for the boom to be held by the lee­ward sheet; with a quick crew this isn’t an is­sue, but as all lines are led to the helm, the ball is in the helm’s court un­less the crew can get around the cock­pit ta­bles or wheel to the lee­ward sheet.

At 2,000RPM with the op­tional 80hp en­gine (57hp is stan­dard) she made 6.1 knots through the wa­ter and han­dling her around the ma­rina was easy due to the sin­gle rud­der.

DECK LAY­OUT

Her coachroof is low and sleek, and one could be for­given to think­ing she might lack head­room, but she doesn’t – her free­board is gen­er­ous. Furlex reef­ing gear is re­cessed below the deck, with a wind­lass im­me­di­ately abaft of it. It was nice to see the wind­lass fit­ted with cap­stan(rope drum), though it catches on the sail – a long soft shackle on the tack would lift the foot slightly to rec­tify this.

The an­chor chain feeds to the chain locker for­ward of the good-sized deck sail locker. The to­erail is wide and solid, but has no non-slip on top; teak decks are op­tional. Cleats on the Style and Am­bi­tion ver­sions are re­tractable, on the Hol­i­day ver­sion they are fixed.

There is a long, pro­tec­tive spray­hood; this could do with an ex­tra hand­hold, but there’s a good grab rail for­ward to the mast. Also, be­cause of the wide com­ings, deck ac­cess is eas­i­est from the helm, but there are no hand holds on the coam­ing as the lines are led un­der the deck and winches are at the helm.

Be­neath the helm seats were a grill and wet bar, de­signed to be used from the elec­tri­cally op­er­ated bathing plat­form – hinges for the grill lid were out­board, so the cook isn’t hidden be­hind the lid. Ac­cess to the ten­der garage is also from the fold down tran­som, steps to port lift clear en­abling ac­cess for the dinghy and the built in com­pres­sor for in­flat­ing it.

In the cock­pit, two cock­pit ta­bles line the walk­way for­ward to the com­pan­ion­way; some stowage in these would have been good, or some­where to keep phones, and sun­tan lo­tion. There’s also ac­cess into the ten­der garage from the floor of the cock­pit and there are sole-depth cock­pit lock­ers out­board. The out­board leaves of the ta­bles fold up to make a sun­pad.

There’s deep life raft stowage aft of the drop down wash­boards. Clev­erly, this also gives ac­cess to the space below the wash­boards in case you drop any­thing down the gap, mak­ing it easy to re­trieve. A small de­tail, but some­thing that’s not al­ways pos­si­ble.

Much of the deck is flat, mak­ing it good for walk­ing around, and there’s the op­tion of deck cush­ions to sun­bathe on most of it, as long as you can give up some space to store the cush­ions when not in use.

AT THE HELM

Both helm po­si­tions have a good amount of space and are well laid out. This boat ben­e­fit­ted from the op­tion of the com­pos­ite wheels and Lew­mar 50ST elec­tric winches (man­ual are stan­dard). With this wheel, there wasn’t quite enough clear­ance to swing a winch han­dle full cir­cle on the main­sheet winches, mak­ing the op­tion of elec­tric winches more jus­ti­fi­able. Out­board, on the deck, was a man­ual 50ST on each side for the op­tional genoa or down­wind sails. All the lines on­board are con­trolled by these winches – four in to­tal on this boat, two are stan­dard. Lines from these winches are tamed by de­cent sized rope bins un­der the coam­ings out­board

There are out­board-hinged lift-up foot blocks at each helm, and they work well.

DE­SIGN & CON­STRUC­TION

Bavaria’s C-line aims to con­nect own­ers with the sea and of­fers large hull win­dows in ev­ery cabin, so no mat­ter where on board you sleep, you can wake to a sea view.

In 2016 Bavaria started us­ing resin vac­uum in­fu­sion to con­struct its hulls and the re­sults made for lighter and stiffer hulls. C45is no dif­fer­ent, and it also ben­e­fits from a sub­stan­tial lon­gi­tu­di­nal stringer at sa­loon seat height in each side, as well as the deep grid sys­tem be­neath the floor.

RIG & SAILPLAN

A self-tak­ing jib is stan­dard on all mod­els, while a 106% genoa, genoa tracks and winches are op­tional. A fixed bowsprit is also an op­tion. There is pad eye on the stem for asym­met­ric or Code 0 sails, aft of which is the re­cessed furler for the Style and Am­bi­tion mod­els, but not the Hol­i­day. For the Am­bi­tion the main­sheet is taken to the aft end of the boom and into the cock­pit. For both Style and Hol­i­day ver­sions it’s a mid-boom sheet­ing sys­tem with two sep­a­rate main­sheets run­ning back to the port and star­board helms

She feels solid and well con­structed, with a stiff and light hull

AC­COM­MO­DA­TION

All three ver­sions are avail­able in a com­bi­na­tion of 3 or 4 cab­ins – the Hol­i­day ver­sion of­fers a five -cabin lay­out with a pul­man cabin tak­ing the place of the aft heads.

Once at the base of the com­pan­ion­way, there aren’t a great deal of hand­holds – on a star­board tack you’ll be grab­bing the door han­dles which, of course, aren’t de­signed for this. There is the fid­dled gal­ley, a handrail aft of the chart ta­ble and one run­ning through the sa­loon, over­head, but with the 2.06m (6ft 9in) cathe­dral-like head­room – com­pared to other boats this size – shorter mem­bers of the crew might strug­gle to reach it.

The sa­loon is vast with a C-shaped sa­loon to port, a two-seater sofa to star­board and an is­land seat that slides in and out for use at the ta­ble. The base of the two-seat bench seat lifts up and pulls out to make the seat base wider and re­clines the back a lit­tle, it’s not the smoothest mech­a­nism and seems a lot of ef­fort for very lit­tle gain – the seat is comfy enough as it is. For­ward of this seat is a locker with a good amount of space in­side and on top; al­most like a cof­fee ta­ble, it makes the sa­loon more homely.

There’s stowage un­der all the out­board seat­ing, but the lay­out of the cush­ions doesn’t match with the locker ac­cess boards, so one has to re­move three cush­ions to ac­cess one stowage com­part­ment to port.

There’s a de­cent amount of solid wood vis­i­ble around the boat, there’s also a fair amount of sealant around the bulk­heads. All the doors have rub­ber seals and a re­as­sur­ing weight to them.

The for­ward area on this lay­out was one master cabin; there’s an op­tion for it to be split into two smaller cab­ins. Not only do you get one large berth, you also have sep­a­rate en suite shower and heads com­part­ments, ef­fec­tively mak­ing the area for­ward of the mast into your pri­vate do­main. You’re also treated to two 82cm long hull win­dows, cov­ered by neatly re­cessed Oceanair blinds. Shelves run the length of the berth, out­board, while at deck height there are four bot­tom-hinged lock­ers on each side. The head of the bed, for­ward, has LED read­ing lights on stalks, which have three set­tings – bright, low and red – as well as USB sock­ets in their base.

The aft cab­ins of­fer good sized berths too. These are rec­tan­gu­lar, and the port cabin of­fers the op­tion for it to be used as a twin rather than a dou­ble.

Her coachroof is low and sleek, but she doesn’t lack head­room

The heads, aft, has a sep­a­rate shower com­part­ment with a Per­spex door and all shower pumps present are au­to­matic.

CHART TA­BLE

The chart ta­ble is aft fac­ing and the 45cm (1ft 6in) square lid has a leather cov­er­ing. While the ta­ble width ex­tends 93cm (3ft) out­board, in­board the fid­dle is a measly 1.5cm high. It was good to see a won­der­ful ver­ti­cal stowage for charts be­neath the ta­ble, which at 8cm deep, doesn’t of­fer a great amount of stowage it­self. Out­board in this yacht was the op­tional 32in tele­vi­sion.

There is no switch panel as Bavaria have opted to use a Canbus sys­tem op­er­ated by the Naviop soft­ware in part­ner­ship with the B&G chart plot­ter. Any of the B&G plot­ters on­board (in­clud­ing the ones on each helm) can be used as the switch panel. One down­side is that there’s no man­ual over­ride, but if a fuse does blow the sys­tem knows, and will di­rect you to it on the boat and tell you which fuse needs re­plac­ing.

GAL­LEY

If there is one area that stands out and re­ally sells the C45 it’s the gal­ley: it’s huge. The work sur­face is 1.83m (6ft) long, and if that wasn’t enough there’s the op­tion of a fold-up ex­ten­sion to it. There’s bot­tle stowage in a bin locker aft of the three­burner stove. Out­board there’s di­vided and par­ti­tioned stowage and for­ward is a nice, deep pantry locker. Fridge/freezer stowage is by way of a dou­ble drawer Isotherm unit in­board. This boat also sported the op­tional dish­washer, be­neath the twin sinks in the long Co­rian work­sur­face. Out­board at deck level is a line of cup­boards, the one above the stove housed the op­tional ex­trac­tor fan, while set into the for­ward locker was the mi­crowave (also an op­tion).

MAIN­TE­NANCE

En­gine ac­cess was good, though on the test boat the im­peller ac­cess was ob­structed (this has now been rec­ti­fied). It might have been nicer if ac­cess to the pri­mary fil­ter was eas­ier, as it is it’s tucked be­hind the en­gine, but there’s a tech­ni­cal space be­tween the two aft cab­ins and could also house a gen­er­a­tor.

The self tack­ing jib was easy to use and there was plenty of sail power, but the helm felt a bit heavy

The cock­pit was large and com­fort­able with space to re­lax, or get in­volved with the sail­ing

LEFT: A walk­through be­tween the cock­pit ta­bles is a clever use of space RIGHT: Ex­cel­lent en­gine ac­cess with a tech­ni­cal space be­hind

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