There are so many sports cruisers on the market today that to really stand out in the crowd a new arrival needs to have many individual features. The BMB 330 Sport is one such distinct vessel for a number of reasons but what makes the Bavaria 330 really stand out is her internal fitout.
There are so many sports cruisers on the market today that to really stand out in the crowd a new arrival needs to have many individual features. The BMB 330 Sport is one such distinct vessel for a number of reasons. First, the cockpit is all on one level. Not a unique feature, but something that's rare on sports cruisers with an aft transverse berth.
But what makes the Bavaria 330 really stand out is her internal fitout. Unlike most locally built and imported sports cruisers the test boat hasn't followed the American trend of adopting an open saloon and cabin layout. Quite the opposite, this Bavaria gives us the European option where the cabins are separated from the saloon by bulkheads and doors. These give complete privacy in both sleeping berths and don't rely on folding partitions or curtains. This layout makes sense in the cooler climates because the full partitions make it easier to warm up below deck areas.
The interior also has a different look from its American sisters. Every piece of joinery, storage locker, bulkhead, door and floor is made from polished timber. While most other sports cruiser are fully carpeted, the BMB has steered clear of that look and gone for the practicality of timber strip flooring to combat wet, dirty and sandy feet. We test some boats that use timber, or vinyl in heavy traffic areas like the saloon, but few boat builders completely remove the carpet.
While the interior lacks the soft fabrics, multi-coloured veneers and linings of the American sports cruisers, this is still an extremely practical interior that's both classy and comfortable. There are no moulded linings, except in the bathroom. The attention to detail in fitout and joinery is absolutely first class and the suede leather finish of the dinette lounge is magnificent.
Apart from the bulkheads separating the forward and aft cabins from the saloon, the layout below deck remains conventional. Both cabins are roomy for a 10m sports cruiser and each has a good sized double bed. The forward berth is slightly angled, providing a fair amount of dressing space at the foot of the bed with a step up the side to make changing of the bed linen easy. The aft cabin has an enormous transverse berth with sufficient dressing space inside the entry to the cabin and separate lounge area. The bathroom has dual access from the forward cabin and saloon, maintaining the individual cabin privacy that BMB has strived for.
While the helm station may not look as glitzy as some other imports, it is extremely well designed, fully equipped and features a classy sports steering wheel. The helm station is also designed to be comfortable for the skipper to either stand or sit while driving. Seating in the cockpit makes excellent use of the available space, while the layout of the seats and the other facilities shows design flexibility. The hinged backrests allow lounge seating to be rearranged to suit travelling, eating or just relaxing. These backrests are extremely sturdy, so they shouldn't fail under constant use.
The rear lounge converts into a big sun deck that is accessed straight from the boarding platform. There's also a lift-out table with hinged side wings that can be used as a drinks and snack table, or for full meals. And when the sun is well and truly over the yardarm the refrigerator and wet bar are close at hand.
By sticking to a design that incorporates a single level cockpit, the builders have created plenty of space below the floor. While the engines take up most of this space, there is still room to install a generator, a small air-conditioning unit, or possibly build in some racks to store some diving equipment. The boarding platform is reasonably high off the water when the boat is at rest. While the high platform level will stop water washing back into the cockpit, it does mean the boarding ladder - neatly set into the boarding platform - is essential when getting out of the water and back into the boat.
But the BMB 330 really shines out on the harbour. This is a sports cruiser and the twin Volvo 315hp, 5.7lt, V8 petrol sterndrives make sure there's plenty of power on hand the moment the hammer is dropped.
When the throttles are slammed open the twin V8s, aided by the efficiency of the Volvo Duoprop sterndrives, blast the 330 onto the plane. They produce acceleration that's more ski boat than sports cruiser. Even with more gentle throttle operation it doesn't take much power to ease the hull smoothly onto the plane. The beauty of the Duoprop sterndrives is the absence of any torque and the boat's ability to track straight. There's also no propeller ventilation regardless of how hard the boat is thrown about.
The combination of the Duoprops and twin 315hp engines, make this an invigorating boat to drive. Response to the throttle is sensational, while the agility and handling at any speed is more like a powerful runabout than a 33 foot sports cruiser. It's not something any owner would do with a boat load of guests onboard, but she can be pulled hard into a turn and will keep hanging on. She powers through the turn with minimum speed loss or engine revs and without the slightest hint of prop ventilation.
Do you get the impression we liked it? You're right, we absolutely loved it. This boat is a driver's delight and you just won't want to take her back to the marina. Our test wasn't as long nor as extensive as we would have liked. The combination of engine power and Duoprops produce the vessel's performance, but the combination highlight just how well the hull handles power.
With a starting price of $308,500, the test boat is competitively priced. You can pick up a 33 sports cruiser for less, but it will almost certainly deliver less power through single propped sterndrives.
While the company may be new to powerboat buyers in Australia - although maybe not if you have an interest in yachts - Bavaria has been around the international boating market for a while. In fact this German company has been in business since 1978. The firm is ranked among the top four production sailboat builders in the world and the second largest in Europe. It delivered in excess of 1780 sailboats and 220 powerboats during the 2000/2001 fiscal year. The powerboat arm of the company has been up and running for approximately two years and now builds six models from 8.2 to 11.6m. They are designed by J & J Design in Slovenia, the same design studio responsible for all the sail boats Bavaria make.
The 330 BMB's performance and interior layout will help this boat find its niche in Australia. Especially where a buyer is looking for private accommodation in the cabins and an interior layout more suited to boating in cold weather. This boat can extend the boating season and would be at home on Victoria's vast and beautiful Gippsland lake system. Or how about year round boating on Sydney Harbour, Moreton Bay, or the Gold Coast? Just remember to stock up on Bavarian Pilsner...
The BMB 330 Sport is powered by twin 315hp, 5.7lt, V8 Volvo GXI/DPS sterndrives through Duoprop legs. The double propellers on each sterndrive unit eliminate propeller torque and ventilation.