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“Known for its monohulls, Bavaria recently acquired French catamaran builder Nautitech and enters the multihull market with the new Open 40, a boat that has been making some serious waves at the many boat shows where it appeared this year.
Naval architect Marc Lombard has created a high-freeboard design with narrow hulls and fixed keels. The reverse bows hint at good performance, and the hard chines running from bow to stern both help part the water to keep the decks dry and provide a bit of extra interior volume while permitting waterline beam to be kept narrow. At 17,000lb, the boat is fairly light, with solid glass below the waterline and a cored, infused laminate above.
With those narrow hulls, the Open 40 sails like a witch, more than holding her own upwind—not a favorite angle of sail for most cats. Bavaria has also changed up a few options recently and added engine controls at the helms on both sides, which makes docking on either port or starboard a breeze. The interior finish is somewhat dark, which contrasts well with the boat’s white paneling, and a small shelf was added between the galley and the settee to provide a dish and cup rack.
The real story behind this boat is suggested by her name: the “Open 40.” On most cats, the saloon and galley are spread over about two thirds of the available main deck space, leaving the cockpit with the remaining third. However, aboard the Bavaria Open, this ratio has been reversed, with the idea that the cockpit is the area where cruising crews spend most of their time, making this Bavaria indeed much more “open.” The flow is excellent from the interior, past the starboard-side dinette and all the way to the transoms. Protection from the sun and rain is provided by a hardtop that extends all the way aft and also serves as the anchor for the mainsheet traveler.
Visibility forward from the helms is excellent overall, and even reasonable to the opposing forward corner through the ports. Best of all, this boat is as fun to sail off the wind as it is on a beat, providing a good turn of speed even at lower wind speeds, and will not disappoint in either private ownership or on charter.”
…But for all the diversity in this category, the judges found common ground in announcing their clear winner. The Bavaria Open 40 was their unsurpassed choice as the Best Multihull Cruiser for 2016.
Built in France at the Nautitech yard — in collaboration with Germany’s Bavaria Yachts, which recently purchased the French company, and Horizon Yacht Charters — the 40-footer did just about everything remarkably well. Murphy summed up the panel’s collective opinion: “Most everyone building cats speaks about an ‘open’ concept, but the design of the Bavaria Open 40 was so simple and elegant that it really excelled with this feature. Bavaria’s solution is a closed forward bridgedeck that connects the indoor space and the outdoor space with soft covers around the aft cockpit so you can make one continuous open area.
“The way they integrated the working space with the social space was terrific. There are two helm positions outboard at the aft end of the hulls. Initially we thought those might be exposed spots, but once we were sailing, the visibility was outstanding, better than many monohulls we tested and certainly the best of all the catamarans. There’s exemplary connectedness between the people running the boat and the people socializing on the boat. Those things added up to the Bavaria Open 40 standing out in the category.”