Sailing the Bavaria Cruiser 55 in Palma Mallorca

10:27 AM 0 Comments

This week I was fortunate to have the opportunity for a bit of sailing on the Bavaria Cruiser 55, our design 673. My day for the opportunity was Monday, the 26th of April. I arrived in Palma around 11am, and after finding my hotel set off to find the boat.

Conditions were absolutely beautiful… for power boating. Palma had its typical sunshine, but was presenting us with a pretty weak sea breeze for the day. I had been excited when the plane landed because we landed into the bay which meant the sea breeze was already established. Unfortunately there just wasn’t much to it for some reason.

The sailing day was set up as a bit of a lead in to the Bavaria board meetings. On the boat for the sail we had quite a crowd onboard with the whole Bavaria board, as well as executives from Bavaria, and local support from Bavaria Spain.

Once outside the harbor area we unfurled the mainsail and jib. Windspeed was maybe 6 knots although the left side of the bay looked like it might hold a little more pressure. The guys went to work to trim up the sails and I settled in on the helm to see how the boat felt. We extended on a long port tack so I was able to get a pretty good feel for the boat. In general the boat is very easy to drive. The helm is well balanced and the boat tracks very easily. While the conditions were quite calm and the sea flat I came area impressed with the boat and feel pretty confident that it would be very rewarding for an owner. Our concern is always to provide enough helm feedback for an owner in light conditions and I think the boat delivers very well in that regard.

We had slowly gained on a bigger schooner that had left the harbor ahead of us. When we finally passed them windward they felt the need to go for all their remaining sail. The extra sail area definitely worked for them and they closed up under us to leeward. We tacked away to be polite and headed off to the right side of the bay. Andrew Burt took the helm so that I could have a look around the boat. The boat is very easy to get around on and provides good access to everything a cruising sailor would need. The standard cruising sails fit the boat well. Mainsail shaping isn’t that easy with the furling mainsail although I’m sure that the convenience factor will make the decision for most buyers. Unfortunately the breeze continued to lighten as we got to the right, and after an hour on each tack we decided to tack and bear away for home.

The wind speed was now probably down to 4 knots and while the boat was still making respectable speeds broad reaching we went for the motor early to provide a bit of apparent wind over the deck. Under motor the boat can make some pretty impressive speeds and will definitely get into harbor quickly. Good motoring speed is always a good thing when cocktails are on the horizon.

The key to docking a twin rudder of boat is to avoid very low speed maneuvers. Entering the marina we stayed fairly quick and made good use of the optional bow thruster to get back into the slip without any drama.

I came away impressed from the sail. The boat felt genuinely good in very light air. After my sail on the Bavaria Cruiser 45 in Holland (extremely windy conditions) I’ve definitely seen both ends of the spectrum on these twin rudder cruising boats. This appendage solution should give plenty of confidence to any skipper. Good feel in light winds, and incredible control in challenging high wind and heeled conditions. The sensible interior layouts, modern styling, and attractive prices from Bavaria make these pretty special boats. I look forward to a well rounded sail in some moderate breeze. Hopefully the buying public will see these new Bavaria Cruisers for the goodness they are and bring one a bit closer to home for me.

Patrick Shaughnessy