The Bavaria Easy 9.7 is an entry-level boat intended to offer excellent value for money. It has been created by stripping out some features from an existing model, without compromising on the quality of the vessel itself. See our first look video aboard the Bavaria Easy 9.7 at the Southampton Boat Show.
The goal of this model is to attract more people into boat ownership. Bavaria’s UK distributor, Richard Hewitt of Clipper Marine, points to family cruising boats of 20 or 30 years ago being smaller and more basic, but also more affordable than most of the current boats in the new boat market. Hence the introduction of the Easy 9.7.
It's based on Bavaria’s Cruiser 33, but has a pared down specification and interior fit out which saves around £20,000 on the total cost. This gives a base price of around £50,000 and typical on the water price of £70,000, including VAT.
A considerable amount of expense has been saved in the semi-open plan accommodation, without significantly reducing the quality of the interior. Most noticeably, the lockers behind the settee berths in the saloon have been replaced by deep shelves. The galley is a basic unit – the cooker isn’t gimballed, there's only a single sink and a front-loading fridge. Other economies include a lack of drop leaves on both the saloon and cockpit tables.
On the plus side, you still get the same volume as in the Cruiser 33, including a spacious aft cabin (although the door is an option). The lack of a forward bulkhead also means the 33’s decent sized forecabin area merges with that of the saloon, creating a feeling of space and light that you would normally only encounter on a larger yacht.
On deck and performance
Externally one of the most immediately noticeable differences between this boat and the Cruiser 33 is the lack of the fold-down transom bathing platform, which gives a slightly sportier open transom appearance. There’s also only a single wheel, which eschews the current fashion for twin wheels, although on a boat of this size it’s arguable whether they are a benefit. A better option is to fit a folding wheel, to allow easy access to the transom, without the weight, complexity or cost of a twin wheel installation.
As standard, sail controls are basic, but functional, with the mainsheet, for instance, handled from a stainless steel hoop at the forward end of the cockpit table. While this has the disadvantage of it not being clear of the cockpit, it's also easier to maintain more efficient sail trim, which will also pay off in terms of easier steering.
A reasonably generous sail area and close-sheeting headsail promises reasonable performance by the standards of out-and-out cruising yachts. However, quality sails and improved deck gear would be needed to extract the full potential from the hull. Having said that, the hull is a little narrower than that of some of Bavaria’s competition, which should reduce wetted surface area, making it more easily driven.
Equipment and options
Although the standard equipment is fairly minimal it's possible, either at the time of the initial purchase, or at a later date, to buy packages to upgrade the fit-out to more or less match that of the Cruiser 33.
What it does best
The idea of taking an existing and well-known product, and reconfiguring it to provide a more affordable route into ownership of a new boat is certainly an appealing concept. While it's always difficult to make predictions about future, it looks likely five or 10 years down the line that this will also be a more economic boat to own in terms of depreciation. It would not be surprising if used prices of the Easy 9.7 and the Cruiser 33 start to converge relative to their original price when new.
These are easy to spot but aren't fundamental to the operation, enjoyment or safety of the boat. For many people they will be easy to live with, although some of the benefits of the original boat are of course lost with the pared down specification. However, overall, If you’re in the market for a new boat, but find that the existing offerings mean that you would be paying a lot of money for features you don’t need, this may be the model for you.
Other models in the range
The Bavaria Easy 9.7 slots in at the bottom end of Bavaria’s main 10-model range of sailing yachts, which extends right up to 56 feet. It’s therefore the lowest priced model by a significant margin with the exception of the much smaller Bavaria B/One sportsboat.
At a similar level in the market there are a number of other options, one of the most obvious being the new Beneteau Oceanis 35, which despite the name has a similar hull length to the Easy 9.7, although it is wider and is overall a larger and more expensive boat. Price-wise therefore the Oceanis 31 (search all Beneteau Oceanis yachts for sale - www.boats.com) may be a closer comparison. Another possibility is the Hanse 325 (search all Hanse yachts for sale - www.boats.com) or Jeanneau’s Sun Odyssey 33i (search all Jeanneau yachts for sale - www.boats.com).
Bavaria Easy 9.7 specifications
Draught (standard keel): 1.95m.
Draught (shallow keel): 1.50m.
Sail area: 51sq m.
Engine: 18hp Volvo Penta.
For more information visit www.bavaria-yachtbau.com.
More Bavaria yachts are reviewed on www.boats.com here: Bavaria Cruiser 33: Curvy and Smooth, Bavaria B/One: Sportsboat with Weekend Potential.