Despite its fame, its longevity and its prolific output of boats, the Bavaria power range is actually quite compact, with only five key hull lengths in a closely targeted bracket from just 29 to 44 feet. It starts off with a pair of simple, open "Sport" models at 29 and 32 feet before building extra versatility into the three larger craft. All three of them (the 35, 39 and 44) are available in either Sport or Hard Top form and with or without the Highline upgrade package. Notwithstanding the two Virtess 420 models and the recent addition of a new Sport 360 and Sport 400, that means the core of the established Bavaria power range comprises a total of 14 sports cruiser models – and having been launched at its home exhibition in Dusseldorf, the new Sport 44 HT Highline has now taken its place as the flagship of that fleet. See some footage from aboard the Sport 44 HT.
Up top and down below
Step on board via the vast aft swim platform and you are greeted with a very agreeable symmetry to the layout. Despite a main deck that uses a diagonal cockpit walkway with an expansive seating section to port, the tiered aft deck leads up and around the central engine hatch and forward toward the bow deck, via broad walkways on either side of a pleasantly contoured cockpit structure. It means every piece of main deck equipment is framed by a teak-lined space, making not just a fine stylistic statement but also enabling you to make your way around entirely unhindered.
However, the breadth of those lateral walkways appears to cause no damage at all to the scale of the internal cockpit. A large aft wraparound C-shaped seating section comes with a table for dining. Further forward, ahead of the starboard wet-bar, the two-man helm seat is matched on the port side by an L-shaped bench that projects forward onto the dash, generating not just a second two-man seat but also an aft-facing lounger. Certainly, the mouldings at the helm (and at other areas around the hard top structure) seem unnecessarily thick and intrusive for a non-fly craft but there are numerous apertures for light to enter this boat, not just in the roof and through the sliding side windows, but also in the seat bases and on the foredeck.
Down below, this three-cabin version continues to make great use of the space. In addition to the main suite, a pair of heads compartments and headroom of almost seven feet, you get a pair of guest doubles – each of which can be converted into twins with the simple manipulation of the central infil cushions. In truth, these two guest cabins are no larger than the beds they contain but with a very large sleeping platform, decent light, sensible storage, quality materials and good privacy, they provide everything you need.
There is an optional layout incorporating two larger ensuite cabins but the show boat’s triple-cabin arrangement makes extra sense because in addition to sleeping space for six, it means the second heads compartment can be sensibly butted up against the aft bulkhead of the first. This saves space and money and increases reliability by minimising the complication of wiring runs and plumbing networks.
However, the most remarkable feat of the 44 is not its laudable common sense but its ability to blend apparently contradictory features. For instance, despite its sporting external profile it offers huge below-decks headroom; despite comfortable sleeping for six people in three cabins, it offers two heads compartments and a big central lounge section; and despite broad walkways and plentiful open spaces up top, it provides a cockpit of distinctly generous proportions. Most crucially, however, it seems to do all these things without making the design feel in the slightest bit forced. On the contrary, with rigorous consistency not just in the conceptual arrangement, but also in the materials and finish, it feels much more organic and cleanly resolved than a great many less complex 44-footers.
What does the Highline package involve?
As upgrade packages go, the Highline looks like sound value for money. Though it might sound to petrol-heads like a nod toward the race-ready Nissan road car, this package is more to do with high-end finish and optimised usability than driving dynamics. It includes an exclusive gelcoat colour, an extended bathing platform, teak in the cockpit as well as on the side decks, underwater spotlights, LED lighting, upgraded upholstery, a Fusion sound system, a bow thruster, a cockpit fridge and a pair of sliding side windows. The fact that it would cost £18,000 more if you specified these Highline features as individual upgrades from the options list makes the top-spec package a very tempting proposition.
I have no wish to reinforce traditional stereotypes regarding the German approach to design and construction - but the Bavaria 44HT Highline really is a very sage, measured and complete piece of work. Stylistically understated but rigorously practical, this flagship sports cruiser makes the kind of sense that empties your mind of doubt. It’s not just built to optimise user-friendliness in this three-cabin form but also to make the inclusion of options and upgrades simple, seamless and problem-free. With thoughtful design, rock solid build and sleeping for six, even the price of this high-spec flagship looks extremely good by market standards. In short, if you want a thoroughly well sorted midsized sports cruiser, the Bavaria’s formidable competence is too profound to ignore.
Bavaria 44 HT Highline: Notable standard features
GRP hardtop with integrated cockpit lights
Teak-lined bathing platform with ladder
Windscreen wipers with wash system
Security glass windscreen
Double helm seat with stand
Co-pilot seat withsunpad
Bolster for cockpit sunlounger
Wetbar with sink
Bavaria 44 HT Highline: Specifications
LOA (with bathing platform): 14.99m
Fuel: 1,500 litres
Water: 410 litres
Cabins: two or three
Berths: four to six
Power: 740-870 hp
Engines: from twin D6-370 / D6-400 / IPS 600 435hp
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