It´s now roughly one month that has gone by since Boot Duesseldorf 2024 closed the doors. One month passed and I still have a handful of boats to talk about. One of which is the Bavaria C46. I kept the walkthrough article of this boat for so long because I felt I needed to take mor time to think it through. Honestly, to start with: This boat was and still is the most exciting yacht showcased in Duesseldorf in my mind. This means something about the show as a whole but of course it says even more about this yacht.

Let´s check out the EYOTY 2024

The C46 has been voted “European Yacht of the Year 2024” in the cruiser category and I would say this is something she absolutely deserved. In fact, I needed no less than three occasions to make up my mind. The first visit was a mere curtesy visit – and it completely blew me away. Then I couldn´t believe it and had to make sure that I hadn´t been fooling myself and spend another half an hour or so roaming the yacht. Still thrilled. And the third time I went through the boat with Bavaria´s Head of Marketing, Marcus Schlichting, who explained the boat to me. I wanted to be sure that this is all for real. And it is!

The distinct lines of Maurizio Cossutti

So, let´s follow me aboard the all-new Bavaria C46, a cruiser made for vocational sailing, the best summer family holiday. A market that Bavaria along with the other four major production brands is targeting. Quite successful so to say: After overcoming the insolvency a few years ago, production is up and running. The hiring of Maurizio Cossutti as their principal designer had not been without controversy as hard-core Bavaria Cruiser-fans disliked the edgy, modern approach found in the new “C-line” boats, but this is a thing of the past. I´d say they have found their style, kind of re-invented the brand and certainly blew away a lot of dust. So, what did make me freak out?

A Wow!-Cockpit

Let me share my first thought when boarding the C46 from the bathing platform, standing inside the cockpit and overlooking the boat: “This is never just a 46-footer!”, I thought. The impression of sheer size is absolutely stunning! Standing there feels like being aboard a 50 feet yacht, really. And this is strange since her metric measurements are 14.50 to 4.50 meters, “my” Beneteau Oceanis 46.1 has 14.60 to 4.60 meters, so she is slightly bigger by the numbers. Really strange, but the Bavaria 46 makes a huge impression regarding her size, in the best sense of the word.

Appearing like 50 feet. Easy.

A closer look onto the guest´s area and my heart rate goes up even a bit more: What a cozy, beautiful place! There is literally everything you want to enjoy on a vacation: Large settees and absolutely wonderful cushions. Wide, thick, with a large backrest, those cockpit cushions alone would deserve a prize. Guests will not only enjoy comfortable lounging here, but also the large tables.

Role model cockpit cushions

There are two of them with folding tabletops to either side. Three positions are possible: Both tops up with a free walkway in between (as shown in the pictures), both down for sailing and of course all up for the big evening dinner with a full house. And boy, you can serve a load of dishes here since the tabletop-area is immense. Adjacent to the cockpit lounge area are the two steering posts.

The helm station

As with almost all production boat brands the owners or buyers of a Bavaria C46 can customize their yacht in many respects. The boat showcased on the boat show was equipped with he single-handed layout, sporting four aft-winches. There are mounts for two additional Genoa/Gennaker-winches on the coamings for an owner who wants to squeeze out the extra kick of sailing. The helm station is nicely proportioned with a 9 inch electronic chart plotter, electronic engine throttles, controls for the bow thruster and the (always a bit odd feeling) magnetic compass. What I liked was the positioning of secondary displays and the auto pilot control to the helm station´s side so that a skipper sitting on the side steering the yacht can check the readings and engage the pilot more easily without having to get up.

Awwww, cozy!

A wonderful extra are the cushions for the aft pulpit and railing. This is a constant discussion aboard I´d say every boat: How can the skipper or the helmsman find a comfortable seating position? I´ve seen many jury-rigged cushions here, fenders turned into backrests and even sitting on fenders is common. Not so on the C46, this is just a role model for “loungy” steering style cushions. Most probably, those two locations can thus be turned into the most popular spots aboard. Well done, Bavaria!

A nice reminiscence

Another set of secondary displays by the way had been installed right above the entryway, just like in the old days. I like this approach, it kind of “democratizes” the skipper´s information, easily accessible and readable for everyone aboard. So far for the “on deck” experience, which by itself was a revelation (by the way, notice the clever water-drain at the sprayhood. Nice little details!), let´s see what this boat has to offer below deck.

Bavaria C46 under deck: A nautical lounge

Many think they know it. Many think they´ve seen it all. But apparently, that´s not true. If you happen to be a Bavaria charter client now and then or you have never stepped aboard a C-line boat, hold back with bias, this is something new. At least for the C46 I can say: This brand has completely re-defined itself, again, good job, Maurizio Cossutti!

Classy, open and nice

I know from a few Bavaria-owners that they do not fancy this new approach. To many edges, too modern. Well, read my article about the all-new Arcona 50 – I would say, the time of the “good old sailboats” from the 80ies is finally over. This is how modern (interior) yacht design is done nowadays. And again: I really like it. The C46 is a light-suffused, open and friendly styled boat. Her interior, although following a classy layout pattern, offers some nice things.

Modern, light-suffused

What strikes me most is the almost baroque lighting variety in the salon. Almost all of the LED-lights are indirect, making for even more depth, having the furniture “hover” visually above the floorboards and giving the whole salon a nice, modern and high-quality look. As for the primary lights, which are normally seldom used round LED-lights in the roofing panels, aboard the C46 these are again LED-stripes overhead. It looks very premium.

Natural light as a theme

Also very nicely done is the concept to harvest natural light and beam it into the boat. That said, the C46 has a large window gallery behind the mast stand. Two of them are large window stripes, two skylight hatches can be opened to let in some fresh air. These hatches open to front and back so no matter from where the breeze is coming, there´s always a nice stream of salty wind entering the boat.

The light enters from above …

This looks awesome when inside the salon. Together with the large side-windows in the coachroof it almost feels like standing inside a winter-garden sunroom. During daytime outside there´s no need to switch on the light in here, I would say. Also, when underway, paired with the windows in the hull, there should be some nice reflections creating a great atmosphere.

… creating a light atmosphere below.

All this is thought through and neither exaggerated nor did I had the feeling that something was missing. I instantly felt “at home”. The large internal volume is – that was apparent when stepping aboard or from looking at the voluptuous hull – is absolutely staggering. Especially the head-room above me (I am 1.86 m tall) really contributes to this overall feeling. But also when you look at the details, this boat has some nice surprises for you …

Living aboard the C46

When on vacation, of course, enjoying good food and nice drinks is a prime. Bavaria did take care of that with a generously sized longitudinal galley. Moreover, this galley had been “folded” into a U-shape to allow for a good old fashioned nav-station (about which I talk later in detail). The U-shaped galley kind of “cuts off” the kitchen from the living and lounging area, a plus for me as I literally hate longitudinal galleys where you always have to look at the dirty dishes …

A great place to work

Freezing space and room for the ship´s cook is plenty, I guess you could spec the boat accordingly when ordering one. I heavy seas there´s always a handle or a railing to catch a tight grip onto. Vis-à-vis the galley on the other side of the salon, the dinette is located.

Let´s have dinner!

Again, a pretty classic layout but it´s the finishing that is convincing. Bavaria went for a U-settee, kind of mirroring the kitchen. The seats adjacent to the bulkhead and the ship´s hull have backrests, guests sitting near the companionway or on the poof will have to sit tight without a backrest. By that, the overall light feeling of the salon is maintained.

Real Captain feeling

I mentioned it already, although the C46 will probably be a best-seller for the charter industry, many owners will opt for one of these boats. As such an owner, you will most certainly love the nicely done skipper´s station. A slightly elevated, cozy and well-sized nav-station with a comparatively big chart table, a great looking switch panel, secondary chart plotter and VHF.

Check out the large handrails

It´s an ongoing discussion and I would say during the nine days of Boot Duesseldorf and the almost 3.500 visitors on our Beneteau stand, every second visitor is mentioning the chart table. If its not “too small” or “too big” then it is “placed at the completely wrong location”. This, in many, many variations, is also part of my daily life as a boat dealer. Anyway, I like chart tables and a dedicated space for the skipper and I find the solution within the Bavaria C46 exemplary!

Exemplary nav station

I would love to have such a nice table, such a nice overlooking position. It indeed is something special being the skipper or the Captain of a boat – be it doing your logbook-entries, the trip planning and weather routing or just your morning coffee checking the latest news from land, this nav station elevates the skipper and is a perfect example of how to execute this.

Onboard loft-character

Bavaria is a brand that is well-know for its furniture quality. I am almost a bit jealous crawling this yacht. As for the big production boat brands, each brand has their own specialty and positioning. For Beneteau, it is clearly the sailing properties, easiness and safety and clean, neat lines. For Bavaria, the focus seems to be set to the inside or comfort-aspects of the yachts. Their interior quality is simply stunning.

Yes, that´s an owner´s cabin!

There is literally not a single square centimeter of bare GRP to be seen in owner´s cabin. The joiner is of a heavy quality and frankly: It looks awesome! I mean, I am standing in a production boat and although it maybe lacks a bit esprit and attention to design-features, the finishing quality is gorgeous! The clearance between the different parts of the joinery is very little and – even more important – the clearance remains constant throughout the boat.

Note the cabinets here and there

This also goes for the aft cabins: Nicely done, well sized and again not a single bit of bare GRP. The aft cabin´s stowage is also exemplary. Next to the usual big cabinet right next to the door, there are two cabinets alongside the bed. I remember many sailing trips when stowage was scarce and I had to live out of my duffel bag, or worse, both occupants of one cabin had to live out of their bags. Not so much for the C46 guests, I am sure.

One of the small WC

The Bavaria C46 comes with an interesting choice of different layouts. The owner´s cabin always features a dedicated WC and a shower, when two front cabins are ordered, the shower becomes the second bath. For the aft part, there´s the “owner´s version” with one bathroom, a version with two aft bathrooms and one with a Pulman double bed cabin. Also in the bathrooms, a nice heavy grating is to be found, something I´d love to see in our boats as well. Completing my walkthroughs inside the C46, this leaves me with a very, very positive impression of this boat.

Astonishing furniture quality

But why can Bavaria maintain such a superior quality in their joinery? I ask Marcus and he kindly offers to show me around in the shipyard back in Germany, an invitation I instantly accept. You can look forward to the next article in a few days: Last week I made my promise to drop by down there in Bavaria (to be exact, it´s Lower Franconia, people there will insist!) come true and received a full shipyard tour. In any case – at least for the one boat I saw, the joinery is jaw-dropping.

A big surprise for me!

I know, I know, the shipyards tend to put boats on the shows which are especially nicely equipped and the attention in preparing the yachts for the audience is often much higher than on the ordinary boats leaving the workshops. I also know that this Bavaria had everything  there was on the options list, lacquered furniture, all possible packs, yes. And maybe most of the C46s which the common sailor will get to charter won´t have this stunning equipment. But it is nevertheless a showcase of what is possible and at least any owner can opt for this when ordering a boat.

My overall impression of the Bavaria C46

Is the C46 a masterpiece and role model for 46-feet cruising yachts? She isn´t of course, such as all the other boats on the market aren´t either. Anyone wanting to buy a yacht should look for himself if this is the boat he seeks. If her character suits, the impression, the gut-feelings. This new Bavaria certainly is a head-turner and a fresh new player on the field. I am sure that many clients will be attracted to this boat, to the comfort she offers and little details I pointed out (and many more, I am sure). For other, she might not.

Big Mama, for sure

Standing in front of her huge bow section I try to figure out how she might sail. Any boat that is good at one point suffers at some other details. Volume, wide sterns, thick entries and bow sections often mean a lack in sailing performance and agility. Sleek, pointy and fast hulls on the other hand might not offer the comfort and volume a sailor seeks. For the Bavaria C46 of course there is no exemption from this equation.

In the end I am amazed by this boat. The yard manages to propose a boat that has its own character, that is modern and nicely done. Personally, I am still not a fan of the new Cossutti lines, I must confess, but you shouldn´t judge a book by its cover. Her volume, her interior design, layout and finishing quality is great and that was certainly the biggest learning for me during Boot Duesseldorf 2024: Well done, Bavaria, this is really a great boat!


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