Saturday, December 16, 2017

ALL ABOUT THE BEAUTIFUL NEW BAVARIA (C45)


It looks even more elegant on the dynamic photos, with the boat sailing. The interior looks good, contrary to many other cruisers, the C45 has a great storage space and the performance numbers look good: the perfect main market cruiser, even if not a luxury one, at a very interesting price?

A family cruiser as good as a luxury cruiser except in what regards a luxury finish. Yes? No!!!

On top HR 44, below Bavaria C45
In fact these two denominations that are used as categories for the European Yacht of the year should be changed since they are misleading, making the public believe that the difference between two main market cruisers, a luxury one and a family one, like for instance a Halberg Rassy 44 and  Bavaria C45, has to do only with the luxury finish or at least that the difference in price relates mainly to that.

Besides the differences in finish quality and quality of interior materials there is a big difference between those two boats, one that is responsible for a substancial difference in production costs and one that has nothing to do with luxury but with sail ability and safety stability: the big difference in B/D (considering similar drafts and keels).The Bavaria C45 has 25.7% B/D ( 2.2m draft), the Halberg Rassy 44 has 39.8% B/D (2.1 draft), both with similar keels.

A huge difference that will be responsible for a very different sail performance upwind and that will make the HR, in what concerns stability, a more seaworthy boat with a bigger resistance to a knock down and much faster on the recovery from one. Also a boat with a superior AVS (128º) and a smaller inverted stability. Maybe that is why you can find the Stability curve of the Halberg Rassy on their site but not the one from the Bavaria on the Bavaria site.

Overall stability has not only to do with B/D, draft and type of keel. There are other factors as beam, hull shape and displacement. The Bavaria is a bit more beamy (4.49m to 4.20), the design of the hulls are not that different. I prefer the Bavaria hull design that will add and increase stiffness at a lower angle of heel.

The keels have a similar design, the one from the Bavaria has more 0.1m but the one from HR is a lead one, so the CG (regarding the ballast) is probably similar. The HR displacement  is superior, 13.300kg to 11935kg but  without the ballast the HR is actually 870kg lighter and that difference of weight is entirely due to the 2235kg that the HR has more on the ballast.

Looking at the boat speed polar from Bavaria with 12K of TRW, the speeds are very good, being the one at 35º  hard to believe. Probably the boat is maximized for that wind speed but it is better not forget that those numbers regard flat sea. On normal sea conditions the polar speed will continue to be good except upwind close to the wind.
As the waves get bigger, with the wind and sea condition, the wave drag increases dramatically and the boat needs more power to sail upwind. More sail will be needed and the boat starts to heel. Then the RM that comes from the ballast becomes really important, but on the Bavaria, due to the huge differences of ballast, that boost of RM will be a very small one, compared with the one of the HR and the performance of the HR will be much better than the one of the Bavaria.

While the HR will be able to maintain the upwind angle and power on, the Bavaria will have to open the upwind angle to look for power and diminish wave drag with a substancial loss in VMG. Another difference will regard the ability to resist gusts that will be much better on the HR.  When the boat heels on the gust, the much bigger ballast of the HR will bring the boat back on situations where the Bavaria will broach. That will result in a Bavaria need to reef earlier and in less speed.

The two rudder set up on the HR will also contribute for a better control in gusty conditions. Besides, with a 4.49m beam the Bavaria will have to have a very very deep single rudder, almost as deep as the draft. That will not only increase mechanical efforts on the shaft and supports as it will make delicate med mooring since the probabilities of the rudder touching the bottom are much increased when sailing astern towards the quay.

To put things in perspective I should say that this relatively small B/D is not, by any means, a "defect" from the Bavaria but typical on the so called family yachts. The Oceanis 45 has a 26.6% B/D (2.27 draft), Sun Odyssey 44 a 26.6% B/D (2.20 draft), Dufour 460 a 26.5%B/D (2.20 draft), Hanse 455 a B/D 30.2% (2.25 draft).

The Hanse is the one that has proportionally more ballast and maybe that is why, from these builders, it is the only one that publish the stability data. From all those it will be the one with a better safety stability, or reserve stability, having an AVS of about 117º, far away from the 128º of the HR,but almost for sure, better than the other ones.

Why do all those boats have a much lower B/D than the HR, if it is important for more safety and sailing? Because it is much more expensive to do a boat with a large B/D than one with a considerably smaller one. That is due to the needed reinforcements on the hull and boat structure to handle safely the more important forces involved. And because most people when choosing a boat are not aware or understand the technical side and don't see any diference: after all on the boat shows they look all the same and if they are all the same why pay more?

Bavaria Shipyard is short to call the C45 a performance cruiser, they say: "Pure sailing pleasure meets perfect sailing performance.. a performance rig permits higher speed...... an exceptional, superior sailing performance"

Sure, more sail area makes a boat faster but more sail area without more stability (stiffness), out of light winds  means also that you are going to have to reef a lot, earlier than other boats with the same stability and less sail area. It means also that you are going to have a problem with gusts, unless you have a full crew sailing the boat.

The Bavaria C45 has a 22.2 SA/D, the Hanse a  20.4 SA/D, being the beam and type of hull not much different. It is clear that the Bavaria will be faster in light winds and downwind but with stronger winds the Hanse, due to its considerably superior B/D, ratio will be faster upwind and on a beam reach, sailing much better on gusting conditions. The Bavaria will have to reef considerably sooner than the Hanse, becoming slower.

So much for the superior, exceptional sailing performance. I have no doubts that the Bavaria hull is very well designed but I don't believe in miracles. If the words used to describe the Bavaria ringed true then we should be comparing it with other boats with those sailing characteristics, boats like for instance the Grand Soleil 46LC or the Solaris 47.

Both have not very different hulls but a very different B/D. The GS46 LC has a 35% B/D , Solaris 47 has a 34.3% B/D. The Solaris has the ballast effect potentiated by a considerably superior standard draft (2.8m. The one of the GS is just a bit bigger. Note that the Solaris can have less draft but in that case it will have more ballast and a bigger B/D ratio.

The GS 46LC has a 19.2 SA/D and the Solaris 47 has 24.2 SA/D. The bigger SA/D from the Solaris corresponds not only to a slightly more sportive boat but to a more powerful one. The B/D between the Solaris and the Grand Soleil are close but the Solaris has not only more 0.5m draft as it has a more efficient keel, with all the ballast on a torpedo.

Regarding the speed of a boat, if the hulls are similar, what counts is not the standard sail area, that can always be altered in light winds by a code 0 (upwind) or a geenaker (downwind), but the boat power that corresponds to the boat stiffness. It is there that we can see the speed boat potential since it is what determines the sail area the boat can carry safely.

Grand Soleil 46 LC
Finally a big advantage from the Bavaria over the HR and many other boats: storage space.On the HR 44 it is really low due to the big aft cabin. On the Bavaria, on the owner's version, the boat is not only offered with a sail locker as it comes with a dinghy garage, at least that's what they say. Well, on this case I admit it makes no sense to talk about a dinghy garage, unless the dingy is deflated, because it has only space for a 2.2m dinghy, too small for most yachts, but it offers a very good storage space in the "dinghy locker".

Solaris 47
The Bavaria offers a very neat rigging with four winches at the reach of the helmsman that control all the lines on the boat. The C45  is offered in three versions, a basic one (Holiday) one with teak and better finish (Style) and another one with better sail hardware, including a carbon bowsprit, carbon spars and a boom direct control with a line to a cockpit travel, near the wheels. It also features an open transom (Ambition).

The Bavaria C45 is a great step forward regarding the Bavaria 46, a better sailing boat, a nicer looking one with a more funcional and agreeable interior. It is better but it could be a lot better. Some less positive comments show my disappointment for Bavaria not having  taken the opportunity for being really ambitious making a mass main market boat with the same stability characteristics of more expensive boats. They could have made it at least on the Ambition version. That would have given its denomination a true meaning.

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