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Considering a bavaria

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Nov 23, 2012
4
catalina 42 MKII Annapolis
Hi all- new to the forum and joined specifically to get some "owner feedback" (or any feedback). Just sold our '28 caliber to get a bigger boat. Will mostly be for east coastal cruising with wife/3 kids. In 5 years we're splitting to island hop for a year (yes... With the kids... For now..). Ultimately when kids older and out we look to live aboard.

So, I was targeting around '40 and the other day looked at a bavaria 38 Ocean CC (1999). Well maintained (oringial owner/loads of maintenance records etc).

My 2 big concerns:
1/ wobbly stanchions. I've read this is a weak point of Bavarias- I think they're the stainless bases. On my quick look it appears that the stanchions are moving within the bases- however there doesn't seem to be any movement of the bases within the toerail cap. Per the owner there are no leak issues. So- how big a deal is this?

2/ saildrive. I know nothing about it and growing up sailing on various family boats I am only accustomed to traditional straight shaft/stuffing Box. How much maintenance does the saildrive require and what are the pitfalls/things to look for when I take another look at the boat? Obviously I'll have the boat surveyed but would love to know if there are any easy red flag things to look for that might make me abort going that far. Kind of makes me nervous having an external gearbox (or whatever the technical term is) that isn't easily acessable etc.

Are there any other major issues with this model/year that would be good to read up on etc?

Thanks in advance. Happy thanksgiving

Brad
 
Jun 25, 2012
942
hunter 356 Kemah,the Republic of Texas
Remember you maybe getting a boat with an iron keel. So be aware of all the extra maintenance an iron keel may need.
 
Nov 23, 2012
4
catalina 42 MKII Annapolis
Don't really know what the big difference is other than iron can have corrosion- what extra maintenance (other than being aware of that) is there from lead?
 
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njsail

.
Feb 18, 2010
216
Bavaria Ocean 40 CC Forked River
Hi Brad - There were a couple other threads on both Bavaria 38 Oceans and hundreds on sail drives. We have a Bavaria 40 Ocean and absolutely love it. Like most boats it had issues we needed to correct and we make sure we do all the regular maintenance. Yes the stantions are wobbly but they work fine. Yes I would prefer solid stanchions but the cost is a lot. I've put fishing net along sides of the boat to keep the dogs from jumping off. The rest of the boat makes up for the stanchions.

If you have questions about the Ocean series let me know - there aren't that many around. I know of 2 in NJ. There were only 40 Ocean 40's made to my knowledge. This year I put a kiwi prop and I enjoyed sailing it even more. I gained about 1/2 knot when sailing.

Here is one thread on the 38 Ocean from this site.
http://forums.sbo.sailboatowners.com/showthread.php?p=856112

All in all I think the ocean series is a very comfortable cruiser. The saildrive debate you can research. I've maintained ours religiously and haven't had any issues. You can find a LOT of debate of the pros/cons of saildrives. Last year we replaced the sail drive gasket. Thats a relatively big job. The book says every 8 years or so. We got 10 out of it and the gasket was still fine when I removed it but didn't want to take chances. If I were going to a remote region of the world I would opt for a boat with a standard shaft/stuffing box configuration but the saildrive works fine for the type of cruising we do. It also provides a smoother/quieter ride in my opinion. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me.
 
Aug 2, 2009
427
Catalina 28MKII Muskegon
Separate base and tube on the stanchions. BONUS! That's what my old Grampian 26 had. If you bent a stanchion, all you have to do is replace the tube.

When the stanchions bent on my Catalina 309, they were a b**** to replace because they're one-piece. Not only that, but they're installed at the factory prior to the mating of the hull and deck. VERY difficult to replace later on.
 

jrowan

.
Mar 5, 2011
1,291
Catalina 30 N/A
If you have the choice between the standard prop shaft & stuffing box verses the saildrive, then the simpler shaft is obviously less maintenance. I have seen some saildrives suffer from serious metal corrosion if the sacrificial annodes are not changed religiously regularly.
Both stuffing boxes & saildrive gaskets can leak, but the saildrive can cost A LOT to repair & or replace down the road. The stuffing box & S.S. shaft design are tried & true & wil last the life of the boat, if maintained. Applying epoxy injection into the stanchion bases would help to stiffen them up some. Otherwise Bavarias & all German boats for that matter, tend to have a good reputation for sailing performance & endurance. Just matters if you can afford it!
ps. What type of diesel engine does it have? I would avoid Volvos which were popular with saildrives. Parts are hard to find & very expensive to maintain.
 
Jun 19, 2010
50
2003 Bavaria 44 Chesapeake Bay
my two cents

I would steer you away from an older Bavaria and might suggest looking at a Hunter or Catalina or maybe a beneteau.

My experience comes from OWNING a 2003 bavaria 44 aft cabin AND more importantly now having dont work with a separate boat mfg(i wont say which).

First - saildrives are terrible - great for manufacturers but really difficult for consumers. you are very right to be concerned with an external gear box. Mfg. tout the lack of prop walk but prop walk is necessary to back a 40+ boat back into a slip in tight marina quarters. Saildrives back up straight but that is a flaw......since getting the rudder to bite requires more space in reverse than a typical marina offers. I installed a thruster in mine which alleviates the issue but i still miss the prop walk on my 30 footer.

A saildrive of 1999 vintage likely will be a significant failure/replacement point for you.

Second - Forget about ANY replacement parts made available by Bavaria USA on a boat of that vintage. I dont know about the other manfacturers out there but as you shop you should call each of them and discuss replacement parts...particularly for the internal stuff like hatches, knobs etc.

Bavaria USA was bought by Bain Capital (i think - maybe another equity shop - dont recall) and they paid too much. control of the business has changed. That change can pretty much assure absolutely no support on that 1999 model.

I would strongly recommend a boat (whether a bavaria or other brand) that has hardwood interiors (as opposed to laminates in the Bavaria). I cannot stress that enough. I would also recommend against teak rails (no matter how attractive) because they are an absolute pain to maintain.

You definitely want a three cabin and I would avoid the "pullman" style berths common in that vintage. I recall Beneteau and Catalina have some good options in that vintage (but dont know about the hardwood for interiors?).

Also I would consider buying a boat off charter. Do some math. Factor in the lower price you will pay and assume a need to repower the boat in that analysis (figure 20k or so) and compare that cost to buying a similar boat with less worn engine - the results might surprise you (better to buy a very used ex charter boat and repower/resail it - you then have a decent hull with new engine and sails/lines for less or comparable $$$).

Also - i think Bavaria's tend to be under engined in that vintage as compared to competitors. The engine should push the boat at hull speed with a clean hull at NORMAL operating RPMs.

Lastly stay away from recent Beneteaus - they have done fantastic work cutting costs making the pricing more competitive but at a real sacrifice to quality of components (all laminates now).

Since you have three kids (like i do) i would focus on LOWEST maintenance (whether your money or your time) - that means the following:

As little teak as possible and never ever ever buy one with teak decking - too hot in the summer.
Dont buy any boat with a Volvo engine -
No saildrive
furling main - no lazy jacks - popular in the 90s.

I recall there are some good jeneaus in the 40 range three cabin style of that vintage - we almost bought one.

Lastly - i live in annapolis and would be happy to show you my Bavaria and my issues with it if you like. you can PM me
 
Nov 23, 2012
4
catalina 42 MKII Annapolis
Thanks so much to you all to take the time and effort for such great responses. Really good points from all sides- always tough when something is so multivariable to figure out the weight for each variable. Njsail thsnks for thread link- very helpful. duncanhoo- in addition to the other mechanical points your comment about teak railing is definitely taken to heart. I let my caliber 30 go grey after I spent 3 days I didn't have cleaning the teak out 1st summer- so I'm in total agreement there. So, it has a Volvo which I wasn't thrilled about since I'm pretty used to/comfortable with yanmar. And I like prop walk.

All said I think I need to see more beneteaus Catalinas etc. I was really sucked into the bavaria based on the nice aft cockpit and layout, maintenance and generally great boat- (plus already has genset and ac/heat)- but I do have concerns about the saildrive and Volvo. The stanchions are seeming to be less of an issue.

Again thanks for all of the really helpful input. Duncanhoo if I pursue the 38 ill take you up on your offer/see how you have tackled issues that might pertain to the 38 (say hi to annap- I grew up there/ great place.
 
Jun 9, 2008
1,622
- -- -Bayfield
OK, I used to sell Bavarias and know a thing or two about them. First of all, Volvo Penta invented the saildrive. Most yanmar inboards use the volvo penta saildrive attached. The saildrive takes up less room, you don't have to worry about shaft alignment or leaking, they have more thrust and a bigger prop than the direct drive, hence more power and the work just fine. They must be installed properly, which they do in Germany and so that helps with the electrolysis issue and, yes, the anodes must be replaced just like on anything that has similar concerns. Most people don't know they have pencil anodes in their inboards. Some Bavarias came with lead keels and some with cast iron. Many Eurpopean boats have cast iron keels. Lead is heavier than cast iron and doesn't rust, but the design of the boat uses adequate weight to keep the boat sailing properly. Treat the clean cast iron with an underwater primer under the antifouling paint and your maintenance will be minimum. Someone said the engines are underpowered. Well, I used to compare Bavarias to all other brands and many people bought Hunters because of the better price tag, but you got what you paid for, in my opinion. You could compare two boats, the same size and the same year. The Bavaria had their stock engine more HP than the Hunter, for example. To upgrade the Hunter engine to a similar HP as the Bavaria there was a considerable upcharge. The Bavaria came with like 5 winches and the Hunter came with two. I could go on and on and when you actually tricked out the Hunter with the standard equipment that came with the Bavaria, it wasn't such a good deal after all (the Hunter) and the Bavaria was A classified offshore (all their models) and the Hunters were classified as either inland or coastal. The woodwork in many production boats are not real wood, but a almost paper look alike venier over a pressed wood composite. Bavarias use mostly Mahogany and the wood is solid, or if they use a venier, it is a wooden venier and not paper. I disagree with the above comment that Hunters, Beneteaus and Catalinas are better boats than a Bavaria. I have dealt with disatisfied customers who had water issues with their Beneteaus. One boat had one pump to do several jobs and there was a manifold system where you had to shut off the bilge pump valve and this valve and that valve so that there was enough suction for the same pump to take care of the shower sump. That is cutting corners and saving money. The Bavaria has a pump for each job. Some Beneteaus had a fiberglass pan inside the hull so that you could not get at hoses and wiring. Everywhere in a Bavaria, there is a panel that you can unscrew to get at all wiring and plumbing. The way Bavarias are made is with a sophisticated manufacturing facility where they use a computerized milling and cutting machine that cut out all panels and bulkheads used in the boat, right down to the berths you sleep on. No errors. They cut the holes in the deck for hatches and ports, drilled holes for all hardware. Most manufacturing facilites have a cadre of people with drills and jig saws cutting this stuff out which can affect quality control. Most facilities have runs of different sizes of boats in line. Bavaria can make a 50 footer next to a 30 footer instead of a run of all 50 footers and a run of all 30 footers, etc. They are so efficient that they reduce the price of the boat with a smaller labor force, more efficient molding, laminating, building of components and assembly and the use of computerization so that this reduction in price is passed down to the customer. So.....you actually get a better built boat at a more reasonable price. There are so many things to look at and compare between boats. Opening ports vs. non opening and the materials used. How much tankage for fuel, water and holding? When it comes to places to stow stuff, is there really adequate places? I remember using a Bavaria 38 at the Annapolis show and the ower removed 15 boxes of personal gear and raved about how much room there was to stow things. I have seen some boats that if you had a bucket to stow, there wasn't a good place for it. I don't sell them anymore, but could and would and I don't gain a thing by saying anything about them, but I think they are a great product and they are even better now with Farr designing them.
 

Nodak7

.
Sep 28, 2008
1,128
Hunter 41DS Punta Gorda, FL
OK, I used to sell Bavarias and know a thing or two about them. First of all, Volvo Penta invented the saildrive. Most yanmar inboards use the volvo penta saildrive attached. The saildrive takes up less room, you don't have to worry about shaft alignment or leaking, they have more thrust and a bigger prop than the direct drive, hence more power and the work just fine. They must be installed properly, which they do in Germany and so that helps with the electrolysis issue and, yes, the anodes must be replaced just like on anything that has similar concerns. Most people don't know they have pencil anodes in their inboards. Some Bavarias came with lead keels and some with cast iron. Many Eurpopean boats have cast iron keels. Lead is heavier than cast iron and doesn't rust, but the design of the boat uses adequate weight to keep the boat sailing properly. Treat the clean cast iron with an underwater primer under the antifouling paint and your maintenance will be minimum. Someone said the engines are underpowered. Well, I used to compare Bavarias to all other brands and many people bought Hunters because of the better price tag, but you got what you paid for, in my opinion. You could compare two boats, the same size and the same year. The Bavaria had their stock engine more HP than the Hunter, for example. To upgrade the Hunter engine to a similar HP as the Bavaria there was a considerable upcharge. The Bavaria came with like 5 winches and the Hunter came with two. I could go on and on and when you actually tricked out the Hunter with the standard equipment that came with the Bavaria, it wasn't such a good deal after all (the Hunter) and the Bavaria was A classified offshore (all their models) and the Hunters were classified as either inland or coastal. The woodwork in many production boats are not real wood, but a almost paper look alike venier over a pressed wood composite. Bavarias use mostly Mahogany and the wood is solid, or if they use a venier, it is a wooden venier and not paper. I disagree with the above comment that Hunters, Beneteaus and Catalinas are better boats than a Bavaria. I have dealt with disatisfied customers who had water issues with their Beneteaus. One boat had one pump to do several jobs and there was a manifold system where you had to shut off the bilge pump valve and this valve and that valve so that there was enough suction for the same pump to take care of the shower sump. That is cutting corners and saving money. The Bavaria has a pump for each job. Some Beneteaus had a fiberglass pan inside the hull so that you could not get at hoses and wiring. Everywhere in a Bavaria, there is a panel that you can unscrew to get at all wiring and plumbing. The way Bavarias are made is with a sophisticated manufacturing facility where they use a computerized milling and cutting machine that cut out all panels and bulkheads used in the boat, right down to the berths you sleep on. No errors. They cut the holes in the deck for hatches and ports, drilled holes for all hardware. Most manufacturing facilites have a cadre of people with drills and jig saws cutting this stuff out which can affect quality control. Most facilities have runs of different sizes of boats in line. Bavaria can make a 50 footer next to a 30 footer instead of a run of all 50 footers and a run of all 30 footers, etc. They are so efficient that they reduce the price of the boat with a smaller labor force, more efficient molding, laminating, building of components and assembly and the use of computerization so that this reduction in price is passed down to the customer. So.....you actually get a better built boat at a more reasonable price. There are so many things to look at and compare between boats. Opening ports vs. non opening and the materials used. How much tankage for fuel, water and holding? When it comes to places to stow stuff, is there really adequate places? I remember using a Bavaria 38 at the Annapolis show and the ower removed 15 boxes of personal gear and raved about how much room there was to stow things. I have seen some boats that if you had a bucket to stow, there wasn't a good place for it. I don't sell them anymore, but could and would and I don't gain a thing by saying anything about them, but I think they are a great product and they are even better now with Farr designing them.
Barnacle, Most of what you say could be applied to justify almost any of the boats that you mention. However I can say that I did lots of research between the Bavaria and the Hunter when I purchased my first Hunter new. I personally found the Hunter to be "set-up" better and with a better design and value for the money. Personally I do not think you could go wrong with any of those boats. That is if you are buying new. However, if you are buying used a huge amount goes into the condition of the boat. I wish you luck on your purchase! :)

BTW if they ONLY took out 15 boxes of personal gear they were traveling light! :dance:
 
Jun 19, 2010
50
2003 Bavaria 44 Chesapeake Bay
First of all - dont believe any hype about any of these production boats sailing better/worse than the others. They are all basicly the same unless you are going to get a 7+ foot keel and great sails.

Focus on the iron sail and its ability to push the boat. on your test sail if the volvo pushes it at hull speed (whatever that is on the 38) at 1800 rpms then it has enough power. if it doesnt, its underpowered. It doesnt matter what the HP is.....it either pushes the boat well or it does not. only way to know that is to test it.

I would make availability of replacement internal fit and finish parts from Mfg very important...since whatever the mfg, these parts of the boat will start to need to be replaced. I dont know if any mfg has stuff for 1999-2000 boats - just call them and ask - dont trust the seller. I can tell you that Bavaria does not and to get them to support/fabricate anything custom from germany will not happen (i ahve tried). I KNOW Hunter will, by contrast, at least help replace doors for example.

I dont favor any production boat over the other. My two experiences are with my first boat (hunter 30 - 1992 - then about 10 yrs old) and my second (bavaria 44 - 2003 then about 4 yrs old). here were my experiences:

Yanmar in Hunter: not a single repair bill beyond regular maintenance
Volvo in Bavaria: Heat exchanger issue, replaced seals on sail drive twice, boot/shoe replacement for sail drive coming up.

There is no doubt that Bavaria's mfg process is vastly superior to all other players in the space. There margins (i know this) are nearly double (and tripple) the competitors. however, the components in the boat are of no greater quality than other production mfg. all of that efficiency results in simply higher profit not a significant quality improvement for the customer save issues with deck/hull joints, quality of hull glassing etc. Those issues will have been resolved or be obvious in a 13 year boat. Point is that the quality of the boat theOP is looking at will depend on many things beyond quality of manufacture - which is a boat by boat issue.

The rest of the Quality discussion is just branding/marketing spin. whether the boat was manufactured in germany with "german engineering" is irrelevant....what matters is each boats current condition. Tune out completely to whatever you have read in magazines (yes the reviews are biased since the mfg pays the ad bill for the publication - trust me i know), brochures and at boat shows. Trust what you hear from owners like us and mechanics. Call each manufacturer/dealer and sees who has the best customer service

Hunters are just as offshore seaworthy to sail offshore as Bavarias beneteaus etc. Offshore ratings, kevlar, etc is marketing spin as well. If you are seriously considering a real blue water run accross the pond with threekids, you should probably be considering a different boat than these.

Dont get me wrong - i like my boat - but these are the issues I believe a buyer should be aware of.

Remember buying a big boat is the ultimate compromise - i want this - but that is too much, this has this - this one has that ,etc. My advice - buy the biggest newest boat you can afford. The cost of trading up in size is considerable (brokerage fees and taxes on a sale will probably be more than the cost difference of buying an additional 4 feet), so make sure you are not putting yourself in that position (to want a bigger boat in five years). The industry loves buyers that keep inching their way up 4 feet at a time - the brokers and mfgs. just collect the cash all along the way.

DO this - look at the price difference between a 38 and 42. then add your costs of buying and then selling the 38 (including taxes and broker fees)....see how close you are to just buying the 42 in total cost.

The smartest thing i did was skip the 38 range and go straight to 44 (really 46 - the Bavaria 44 actually measures 46 - thats German engineering for you).
 
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