Germany's reputation for engineering excellence extends to the waves. David Lockwood reports.
Demand for luxury German-made conveyances is defying gravity. But beyond the autobahn, Bavaria Yachtbau is setting about reinvigorating the pleasure-boating market.
The new 35 Hard Top or HT, which builds on the pre-existing soft-top sister ship, is a versatile craft. With local agent input, the sportscruiser has greater Australian appeal.
We took the 35 HT on the ideal test circuit: exiting Pittwater for the wilds of Broken Bay, glancing up the mouth of the mighty Hawkesbury, before arcing out to sea and returning unscathed to the marina. While the boat would sit equally well at Darling Harbour, the Hawkesbury and its fiord-like tributaries is a more of a suitable playground.
The boat's hull and deck are the handiwork of BMW Group's DesignworksUSA, an industrial design office with everything from bobsleds to dump trucks in its portfolio. But compared with its predecessor, the 34 Sport, the new 35 has increased hull-side glazing and therefore more light below decks.
Of course, the lid is the biggest enhancement. Although the smallest HT in the range, the 35-footer packs a lot aboard without being cramped under the hardtop and at the helm. But as we touched on, it is thanks to local input that this German-made boat is a good fit in Australia.
The Bavaria agents were poised to add a stainless-steel mounting bar to the nice deep swim platform to serve as a mounting point for a barbecue and, with snap davits, a spot to tote the tender. The extended swim platform is a must-have factory option.
Meanwhile, the Euro derivation is evident with the oversized sun pad at the transom - below which is a massive lined-storage hold - and the second strap-in sun pad on the bow. Wide and welcome decks, backed by moulded tow rails and handrails, make going forward safe, while the concealed windlass adds to the safety factor.
With the addition of a small rear awning, one would gain even more shade over the cockpit lounge and dinette opposite the amenities centre with fridge and sink. The unconventional chaise longue behind the windscreen proved an ideal place to recline.
Side-opening windows and a three-stage manual concertina canvas infill in the hardtop let you dial up fresh air or weather protection.
The helm offers a sports wheel, seat with bolster, good spread of analog engine gauges, multifunction Bavaria 12V control panel, and there is an optional battery monitor to keep check on the inverter on our test boat. This gives away-from-dock 240V autonomy - run the microwave oven, boil a kettle, and recharge your modern-day devices - without the expense of a generator.
Galley amenities include a Waeco fridge with freezer tray, two-burner electric/alcohol hob, sinks, crumb dish and ample storage. The big mixer makes a statement, while the mahogany joinery and faux teak and holly floor add to the cosiness. The boat's lighting adds to the ambience at night.
A TV/DVD hinges off the wall alongside the galley and faces the lounge/dinette in the saloon. It will be the centre of attention at night and on winter days. A bathroom with hot and cold water and a saltwater-only head is handy to the companionway. For sleeping there's an island berth up front for owners and twin transverse single berths in an aft cabin that convert to a second double bed.
With bow thruster, we decamped with ease. Under way, the twin 220hp Volvo D3s diesel engines proved clean-running, quiet and amazingly clatter-free. This boat's owner came out of a Riviera flybridge cruise, hence the preference for the diesel engines - another German invention - that you don't normally see on a boat in this class.
With full water and fuel aboard, and no trim tabs, the small 2.4-litre blocks took a while to shift the 35 HT to planing speed.
However, at 3100rpm to 3200rpm we were cruising down Pittwater at 22.5-23 knots for 54 to 60 litres an hour. Off Palm Beach, I noted 3400rpm and 27 knots for 66 litres, which is a good return. Top speed was 31 knots.
The package price of $357,292 includes the upgraded Volvo Penta D3 220hp diesel engines and a boatload of options.