Tuesday, May 6, 2014


The Bavaria 50 MKII, now denominated 51, is on the water. The boat looks nicer on the outside with a more modern and good looking cabin but the hull is the same. It is not properly old but the Farr hull was already on the "classic" side back in 2010, now it looks slightly outdated mainly on the transom area and  on the keel design.
On the presentation video, with 3D drawings, the interior looked better with a lighter wood. they tested the boat on Yacht.de and it had a dark mahogany  interior.  It does not look very interesting, not better than the one from the Hanse 505 and I don't like very much the Hanse interior. The boat sails well, but that can be said regarding all main mass market boats, that today are designed by the best NA. Have a look at the Yacht.de video:

The only thing I really like on the boat (more than on the competition) is the possibility of having 6 winches, 4 on the cockpit and two near the steering wheel. Bottom point, if you want a Bavaria have the smaller, but better designed and more modern Vision 46 (also a Farr design):
If you want a boat more classic and not on the spirit of what is today called "deck salon" and want a boat along the hull lines of the Bavaria 51, a boat less based on solo racers (beamier and with all the beam pulled  back), have the  Jeanneau 509. It is a better design, nicer, with a more modern hull/keel and  an incomparably better interior (Philippe Briand design):
And then if you want the advantages of a hull strongly influenced by Open racers, you have the four other European mass market 50fters. They sail with less heel, less roll downwind, easier on the autopilot at a possible cost of a very slight worse performance upwind (and an eventual slightly more uncomfortable motion). The advantages are real for a cruiser and the disadvantages are disputable and will vary from boat to boat since other factors have influence on upwind performance and boat motion upwind other than a bigger beam. Let's have a look at them, the Hanse 505, the Sense 50, the Oceanis 48 and the dufour 500GL.
The new Hanse 505, a Judel-Vrolijk design is one of the nicest looking Hanse, on a more virile tone than the Jeanneau, with a nice nice hull/keel. I find the interior a bit better than on the other Hanse, specially if a right combination of colors/woods is chosen and those big port hulls give to that interior a much more open feeling. I prefer this interior to the one from Bavaria, with its tiny port hulls and kind of functional but indifferent outlook.
The the Sense 50, a bit more expensive and also slightly slower but with characteristics that will make it a very interesting boat for living aboard extensively, with lots of space for two couples, big storage space and an unmatched  outside living space. A very Innovative boat, the first of a series and a bright design by Berret / Racoupeau. Like the Bavaria 50 this is also a 2010 design but contrary to the Farr design, the Sense 50 still looks like a brand new design.
The Oceanis 48, also designed by Berret / Racoupeau share some of the characteristic from the Sense 50 but on a more conventional interior layout, with less good finish and a nicer price. A comfortable and easy to sail boat but not as fast as some of the others, specially upwind. The interior is not as nice as the one from Jeanneau or Duffour, but it is a functional one.
And finally the one I like more (among these) the Dufour 500GL, a Felci design. The boat has a hull from the same family but I find it particularly nicely designed and that includes the interior with a very elegant galley solution and a great saloon. A beautiful boat that manages to disguise the high freeboard all these boats have to the point of looking a bit like a performance cruiser.

There is lots of interesting solutions on this boat: One of them, particularly important in what regards solo or short handed sailed, is the position of the winches. While all the others have one winch at each side at easy reach of the wheel men (and other two away on the cockpit) the Dufour has two on each side at easy reach, one slightly forward the wheel and the other aft. Take a look at the very interesting and functional galley, at the very nice saloon at details like places for storing the lines, the big sail locker, the outside cooler and most of all the one that makes me envious, the integrated barbecue :-)
Of course, personally I would change any of these by the smaller but more sportive Azuree 46. Sure it has not the same amount of interior space but it would have plenty for my needs and it is a more enjoyable boat, faster and more fun, able to sail with very light winds.
 The final cost would not be much different from the one of a Bavaria 51 but off course, that would not be fair because the Azuree 46 is not a main mass market cruiser but a performance cruiser and does not target the same type of sailors that would prefer one of the others.


  1. Thanks for this fascinating and informative round-up of these 50 footers, Paulo. After watching the videos, I have to agree with you that the Azuree 46 is the boat I would choose, of the ones sampled here (though I am eagerly awaiting the arrival of the Dehler 46, which is one of the sexiest boats I've seen in a long time, and one that I believe you think highly of, as well).

    Of the remaining boats, the Jeanneau would be my next choice, followed by the Dufour. The Beneteau Sense and the Oceanis line really don't capture my fancy, which, as you know, leans heavily towards performance cruisers that do well under IRC or the Open-style boats from the folks at JPK, Structures, etc. Oh, and just about anything designed by J/V, Mark Mills, Jason Ker, or an Italian NA. :) Truly we live in a time of so many wonderful design options that it's almost impossible to make a bad choice - and perhaps impossible to make the "perfect" choice.

  2. Hanse 505 - this powerful sailboat is made by the German company Hanse Yachts, one of the largest manufacturers of sailing and motor boats in the world. Read more