Looks can be deceiving. With bespoke design, recognizable lines and the same details in familiar spots, the new Bavaria Vision 42 appears to a copy of the Bavaria Vision 46, except that it’s shrunk down a bit. The proper word for this would be "downsizing", a reduction in size without too many alterations.
But model updates aren’t quite so simple in yacht construction, especially not going from larger to smaller sizes. Despite apparent uniformity, the devil is in the detail. Because humans and their expectations of comfort and convenience don’t shrink as easily, a simple minimising the size usually doesn’t work. This idea demands adjustments, even though they might not be so obvious at first blush. For the hull of the 42 this means more freeboard and more beam relative to the overall length. The length-to-beam ratio of the Bavaria Vision 42 is 3:08, compared to 3:26 on the Vision 46, which is 1.2 metres longer, but only 14 centimetres beamier. Hence the smaller Vision 42 appears more solid, at least by the looks. Yet it remains an elegant boat with consistent lines.
There’s one detail that stands out: Contrary to the general trend of moving masts further aft, the Bavaria Vision 42’s stick is positioned relatively far forward, because the main bulkhead is farther forward as well. On one hand, Bavaria Yachtbau wants to achieve a spacious saloon, on the other hand, that space should not be marred (visually or functionally) by a mast support in the centre.
That’s why the J-measurement on the new Visions is relatively modest which results less effective sail area for the short, non-overlapping genoa. Wind speeds of 15 knots that gusted to 20 during the test didn’t hurt this boat in the least. The Vision 42 felt stiff upwind and remarkably well balanced. Above 15 knots, however, the main needed a reef, which can be done effortlessly by pushing buttons with the optional in-mast roller furling and electric winches.
Sailing to weather at approximately 40 degrees true wind angle the Bavaria Vision 42 hit 7.2 knots on the GPS, which is above average for a 10-ton cruising boat. However there’s no doubt that the upgraded sail wardrobe on the test boat with a radial cut laminate cloth and vertical battens in the main had a positive effect.
It was gratifying to notice how smoothly this Farr design steered through the short and steep waves despite its voluminous hull. The bow slices through the water cleanly without bashing and hobby horsing, and the crew in the cockpit remains dry even without a spray hood, positive qualities that the Bavaria Vision 46 also had in her repertoire in a heavy-weather test.
The Bavaria Vision 42 deck layout
The most noticeable and unusual feature on deck is the asymmetrical cockpit arrangement with an off-center companionway. The advantage over the conventional symmetrical layout, is the space for a large L-shaped settee with a fixed table. If desired, that table can be lowered (push-button convenience optional) turning this into a large sunbathing lounge simply by adding some cushions. The size of this area is identical with that on the Vision 46. L- or U-shaped settees thus far have been common on larger cruising catamarans or the unconventional Sense models by Beneteau. The Sense 43 therefore is among direct competitors for the new Vision.
The cockpit layout and the arrangement of the hardware were directly adopted from the 46. Notable is the large, nearly centrally attached winch on the cabin top for the mainsheet and -halyard, which could be positioned there because the companionway is not centered. Combined with the properly sized winches on the cockpit coaming (two are standard, two more are optional), the sheeting angles can be adjusted according to personal preferences. The mainsheet could be led through tethered blocks to the central winch if the boat’s sailed with crew or aft to the two winches forward of the steering wheels, if it is singlehanded. Switching takes a few seconds, which is why that’s such a cool solution by the designers.
For the simple and safe maneuvering both under sail and engine Bavaria offers two new systems: the Dock Control (parking aid with combined bow and stern thruster) and the Trim Control (tacking and gybing per bush-button command) for the Vision 42. During the test of the Vision 46, these technically advanced and pricey systems worked flawlessly, even though they are complex to install.
Compared to the 46, the area behind both wheels on the Bavaria Vision 42 is a bit tighter, yet there’s still enough space to sit comfortably while operating the boat. Because the walkthrough to the swim platform is off center, the backstay is attached on the centerline and out of the way. However a storage area for the life raft that is simple and safe to reach is missing from the cockpit. Either the raft has to be stowed away deep in the recesses of the lazarette, where it would be difficult to reach in an emergency, or it has to be lashed on deck somewhere, which nobody would want. Dedicated life raft storage has been a standard feature on boats of this size for a long time.
Sticking with what’s proven
The Bavaria Vision 42’s interior layout also follows that of the larger model. There are some limitations in the fore cabin, which has significantly less room. A lavatory is available, but not recommendable due to the limited space forward of the main bulkhead. On the 46, a forward head is also an option, but there it can be installed at a decent size and with enough separation from the island berth. But this remains one of the few conceptual distinctions between the two models.
Another difference is the huge starboard lazarette aft, which can be turned into a cabin on the 46. On the Vision 42 the restricted space eliminates this option, so a lazarette remains a lazarette with access from the cockpit and the aft head.
There are few changes in the port aft cabin, which is fitted with two single berths that can be combined into a King with inserts. Two adults can sleep here with plenty of comfort.
Starting at around 160,500 euros that Bavaria proves it still offers the lowest price compared to the competition, especially from France. Benetau’s Sense is listed at close to 220,000 while the Sun Odyssey 41 DS by Jeanneau starts at 184,300 euros. With the exclusive Vision line that is directed at private owners, Bavaria created a thought-out and logical separation from the Cruiser program that also appeals to the charter market. The Bavaria Vision 42 typifies the concept’s lower end on the size spectrum (to see the first of the new boats, see Bavaria Vision 46: First of a new generation of deck saloon cruisers). It can’t go any smaller, but there are no limits in the other direction. Therefore, the announcement of a new flagship seems inevitable.
This story originally appeared in YACHT magazine, and is republished here by permission. Translated by Dieter Loibner.
Displacement: 9.8 tonnes.
Engine: Volvo Penta D2-40.
Sail Area: Mainsail: 50sq m.
Foresail: 38sq m.
Gennaker: 125sq m.