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I checked the search engine and didn't find any test sails so I figures I'd throw this out there as it is first hand experience from last week in the Med on two boats that have found their way to this thread but without much info.
First sail for 2 1/2 days on a 2009 Bene Oceanis 37:
Region was Pourquerolles - about 50 miles 2 days. F2-3.
First impression is it looks and feels like a 35. Interior is standard - this was a 3 cabin model - with moderate storage, good headroom, poor nav station. - Note that I hate the bench / nav station looking backwards. galley was fine, ventilation was fine, cabin space and headroom was 35 footer - very similar in size to the SO 35i I sailed for 10 days a couple year back. Build quality is OK, systems and engine access is OK at best.
Sailing wise, it was a nice suprise. 6.2 to 6.5kts from about 42° thru full offwind (without a Spi)in 13 kts wind. We could point to about 38° and maintain speed while actively managing the rudder. Best was around 40-42. Hit 7.7 on a couple of occasions downwind on main and genois. Stable, very good control, predictable motion, good feedback and fingertip controls. Deck gear was undersized for heavy weather but the boat felt very good under sail. Not sport boat sailing but much, much better in helm control and feel than the SO 35i. Overall an interesting boat that needs to improve on interior build materials and quality but that has very good sailing potential. We were double handing.
After 2 1/2 days we swapped out to a Bavaria 42 due to transmission problems on the 37 (worn cone cylinder and they needed to pull the engine.... ouch!)
The Bavaria 42 was from 2007 so not a spring chicken after 5 years of charter but the first impression was that it was huge under deck. Well over 2M headroom, large cabins with good storage in fore cabin, OK in rear cabins. 2 toilets with showers and a port galley. Real chart table and nav station. The quality is much better than the SO or Oceanis in that it is full wood on anything carrying a hinge. No particleboard. very well aged with few if any signs of the beating it must have taken over the years (Kiriakoulis was the charter company in Bormes les Mimosas, France). Getting around the table was a bit tighter than expected and it could use more readily accessible storage in the main and rear cabins but overall I was impressed with the build quality and durability. (Note I always thought of Bavaria as the motor home of sailing so I was more than pleasantly suprized...)
Under sail it's not a beast or very fast but it works just fine. In light winds the boat worked very well in the 39 to 42° range. 9 kt wind we were close to 5.5kts at 40°, 12 kts we were hitting 6.5 at about 40°. Once the wind hit the 14-15 kts we could point higher in the 37° range at about 6.8kts. Offwind, once beyond 65° we were at 7.3 to 7.5 in the 14 kts wind range. Downwind (without a Spi) the boat slowed to about 6.5kts. You need a big kite downwind to keep the speed. One note is there is a fair amount of leeway - I estimate about 7° when pointing upwind at less than 7 kts wind. Good motion, decent rudder feel. Wheels got stiff around 7.5 to 7.8 kts and I'd guess around 8.2-8.3 you need to reef down to keep rudder balance. Overall the deck hardware was well adapted to the size and power of the boat (we had a furling main). I was impressed overall on the durability and pertinence of the design. It's not sexy or fancy but it does "work". The cockpit layout was a bit snug with the center table making it difficult to single hand or double hand in tough circumstances (foresail winch sheets are far apart and the table is smack in the middle to move from one to the other). Not a showstopper, but annoying to me because I like to have everything a step away. Autonomy is good on water and diesel. Fairly pronounced prop walk to port which makes docking under a strong starboard wind a bit tricky (It took 2 tries...). Establish 2 kts and it's fine however - just need to understand and compensate. We were 6.
Overall, I was pretty impressed with the build quality of the boat. Much better than the French mainstream stuff I've sailed on (Dufour 325, SO 35i, Oceanis 37, etc). Doesn't sail "better" than those boats and of the 3 mentioned the Oceanis 37 is a nice sailing boat. Depending upon your program and needs, the Bavaria is really a good boat. Plain vanilla in many ways, but it's pretty good, plain vanilla.
Happy to add more for those specifically interested in the boats mentioned. I have a personal preference for sportier boats as I've noted in previous posts.
Last edited by bb74; 05-27-2011 at 04:55 PM.