Set sail for the lap of luxury

Why go powerboating when you can have the wind behind you? Bavaria Yachtbau's Vision 46 yacht aims to please, writes David Lockwood.

Why go powerboating when you can have the wind behind you? Bavaria Yachtbau's Vision 46 yacht aims to please, writes David Lockwood.

Malcolm and Jane are Gen Y-ers. No, not in the landlubber sense. It's short for generation yacht. The baby boomers have found the time and wherewithal to sail off into the sunset. Not that they are strangers to boating, mind you; it's just that this is their first yacht. Oh, and a nice one at that.

The new Vision 46 from Bavaria Yachtbau, a German production-boat maker, aims to lure motorboaters aboard. Recently retired, with children who have flown the roost, Malcolm and Jane are a case in point. The former powerboaters now relish the new challenges that yachting delivers.

Quite by design, the high-volume Vision marries motorboat-like living spaces with modern sailing controls. Malcolm says he started thinking about "going green" after completing a couple of courses and cruising from Southport to Sydney with sailing school EastSail at Rushcutter's Bay.

"I liked it [coastal cruising] and wanted a yacht of my own. I got bored with the powerboat, zooming to a bay, having lunch and going home. Sailing is more of a challenge and the wind is free," he says, as we swing on the anchor in North Harbour, the shadows lengthening and wind blowing out yonder.

The Vision 46 is a so-called deck saloon yacht with raised coach house or cabin top to boost internal volume. It's the first big hook for motorboaters, since the headroom and surrounding glass keep you visually connected with the outdoors when down below.

The high-volume hull also boasts a sprawling cockpit where you can kick back with family and/or a dozen friends on this yacht. An overhead bimini, infill and dodger create the yachting equivalent of a shade cloth over the deck.

Yacht cockpits aren't known for comfort, but thanks to an unconventional offset companionway, the L-shaped lounge and dinette on the Vision 46 are of powerboat proportions. With the table on a high/low pedestal, and with supplied infill cushions, you can create a shaded daybed after that long passage somewhere.

Meantime, the transom lowers drawbridge-fashion on a pulley to create an impressive bathing platform. The swim ladder is cleverly concealed, while an optional bracket lets you use the coveted hot/cold transom shower hands-free.

Below deck, the Vision 46 comes in two- or three-cabin variants with one or two bathrooms. The owners opted for living and storage space over accommodation.

Superyacht artisan Design Unlimited's deft hand with the interior teamed tradition with contemporary styling to create a timeless sense of chic. Thanks to all the windows and hatches, it's all very light and airy, quite unlike stuffy yachts of yore.

The surprisingly spacious guest's cabin is aft, with two big single berths that convert into a double. The dinette in the saloon and navigation station opposite can be made into impromptu double and single sea berths, too.

Yet the galley with island servery, twin sinks and big fridge is the centrepiece of the saloon. And the bathroom wins out with its separate shower stall.

The transition from power to sail wouldn't be complete without some push-button sailing aids. The main and headsail are the furling types, but the optional Trim Control Jib and Main Package, which also features twin composite wheels, does the hard work.

There's an electric Lewmar two-speed halyard winch on the coachroof, with a pair of main and secondary winches either side of the cockpit. These latter electric sail-trim winches are accompanied by push-button panels that let you "in" and "out" the headsail and main on either tack with a finger.

With a Garmin electronics suite including integrated autopilot, and a bow thruster to assist docking, the Vision 46 is raring to go.

We got mid-8 knots reaching out to sea, hit high-6 to low-7s to windward, and loped along at high-6 knots on the way home ... as the sun headed west and our crew assumed various positions on lounges.

This is the modern way of sailing and, yacht makers such as Bavaria hope, it might just lure more motorboaters to the fold.

The Vision 46 was selling for $470,000 fully loaded with Smart Sailing, Comfort, Trim Control Jib and Main and Navigation packages plus individual options.


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