Bavaria claims more accommodation and better performance for its Bavaria C46 second generation c-line. Can you really have both on a mass market design?

Product Overview


Bavaria C46 review: More accommodation and better performance?

Price as reviewed:

£466,876.00 (As tested ex. VAT)

It’s often thought that yachts with wide forward sections inevitably slam uncomfortably in head seas. But that’s not always the case as, when the boat heels, the hull’s immersed section changes shape and no longer presents the flat underside to the waves. Conversely, traditional hull designs with a V shape forward might slice through waves neatly when upright, but can slam badly when heeled as they present an almost flat surface that bashes down on the water after plunging off wave crests.

I tested a prototype Bavaria C46, used as a test bed for almost every conceivable extra (which made it over 70% more expensive than the base price model). For my first sail we had a cross-shore breeze of 8-15 knots, combined with an awkward short onshore swell generated by an approaching vigorous low pressure system.

On starboard tack we were therefore heading more or less into the waves, which led to an occasional soft bounce, but the motion wasn’t uncomfortable and there was no heavy slamming of the type that saps boat speed.

Bavaria’s now trademark V-bow helps create full forward sections that both increase space in the owner’s cabin forward and increase form stability. Maximum beam is carried almost right aft, where there are well defined chines. It’s a combination that creates very high form stability and excellent sail carrying ability.

The single rudder gives a very direct, light and balanced feel on the helm. Wheel pedestals are well configured, with space for big MFDs plus separate instrument displays alongside, and are angled so that you can easily see displays when sitting outboard, where there’s a great view of the jib luff.

Sailing upwind under full furling main and 106% jib in 8-10 knots of breeze at a true wind angle of 45° we averaged a shade over 6 knots boat speed.

Broad forward sections, wide transom and chines for a spacious powerful shape. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

Bavaria C46 handling

While many of today’s yachts sail surprisingly well in very light airs, I found we needed 10 knots of true wind speed for the Bavaria C46 to really come alive, at which point the boat’s motion also became more stable. The only exception was tight reaching angles with the Code 0 set, when we averaged just under 7 knots with the true wind just aft of the beam in 8-10 knots of breeze.

The test boat has a furling main and jib, both made by Elvstrom from 95% recycled polyester with 5% Dyneema that increases strength and stretch resistance. Bavaria says for this boat pricing is on a par with a classic polyester laminate, but it’s stronger and has reduced elongation under load thanks to the Dyneema content.

Vertical battens to support the leech helped the main to set well and add a useful amount of area compared to a hollow leech battenless sail. This undoubtedly contributed to the good handling characteristics though there’s also an option for a smaller self-tacking jib.

Article continues below…

Boats equipped with a fully battened mainsail have around 5% extra sail area, therefore ought to perform slightly better in light airs, even upwind.

The coachroof-mounted double mainsheet system is controlled by winches just ahead of the helm stations and works well at controlling twist. They can also be used as a partial preventer to steady the boom in light airs. It’s an efficient set-up that allows accurate sail trim, doesn’t get in the way of those who would prefer to sit back and relax, and is much safer than cockpit-mounted mainsheets.

Inboard edges of the helm pedestals have stainless steel grabrails. Photo: Nicola Brollo/

The Elvstrom permanent hoist Code 0 can be left up when furled without worry, thanks to its 50% mid girth (reduced from the 75% standard figure for a racing sail), a heavier cloth than standard, and a higher clew. The latter also makes it more suited to deeper reaching angles than a more race-oriented sail shape.

On the downside, if the code sail is hoisted and set up in advance, there’s some turbulence over the jib when sailing upwind. For most owners the advantages greatly outweigh the drawbacks, but the additional turbulence does make it a little more difficult to settle the boat into a groove when sailing upwind in lighter conditions.

Sheeted in: there’s a choice of 106% genoa or self-tacking jib. Photo: Nicola Brollo/

Bearing away, unfurling the Code 0 and rolling the jib away in wind speeds of 12-15 knots we made 7.5-8.5 knots at a true wind angle of 120°, roughly keeping pace with a more performance oriented yacht of similar size. Hardening up to bring the true wind on the beam, and the apparent therefore well forward, boosted boat speed to an average just shy of 9 knots.

The Code 0 proved to be a very flexible sail for a wide range of wind angles and the convenience of being able to leave it set will be very appealing to many cruising crews. It offers the benefit of having the sail available for use without the need for foredeck antics at sea.

Life on deck

All lines on the Bavaria C46 are led to control stations just ahead of the wheel pedestals. It’s easy to reach the winches from the helm, while there’s also space for one person outboard and another in the cockpit ahead of the pedestals. Thanks to the coachroof-mounted mainsheet there’s also no danger of the sheet sweeping across this part of the cockpit and endangering those involved in manoeuvres. There are also good rope bins aft of the winches.

Saloon area is opposite the galley, arranged around a table that lowers to form a daybed. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

The optional coaming winches on the test boat are not really needed, although if an overlapping jib is fitted, the sheet can be led back here. However, they are primarily available as an option for those who expect to sail with larger crews.

Bavaria has eschewed incorporating a tender garage in the Bavaria C46 on the basis they are inevitably a big compromise on a boat of this size, resulting in an undersized tender and smaller aft cabins. Instead it offers telescopic davits, while on-deck stowage includes two very useful shallow lockers under the cockpit benches, plus a big lazarette with access between the helm stations.

Galley is well appointed but might prove difficult to use when heeled heavily on port tack. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

There’s also a large sail locker forward, although this falls short of being sufficiently spacious for an optional skipper’s cabin. The interior arrangement of our test boat also includes a useful walk-in storeroom near the foot of the companionway.

There are two cockpit table options, either a large central one or twin tables with folding leaves that almost meet in the middle, but frustratingly leave a small gap. The test boat also has a cockpit fridge, plus a barbecue aft under the helm seats that’s designed for use from the large, electrically-operated bathing platform. Retractable davits solve the issue of stowing the tender on shorter passages in settled condition, while it can be hauled onto the foredeck for ocean crossings or heavy weather.

raised navstation puts you at eye level with anyone working in the galley. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

Smart volume

On descending the companionway the generous accommodation volume of the Bavaria C46 is immediately apparent in the wide open spaces of the saloon and impressively large owner’s cabin forward. The raised navigation station to port is a positive feature and puts you at eye level with those who are standing in the galley.

This is immediately forward of the navstation and has a huge amount of countertop space and stowage, plus options for plenty of refrigeration, including a large two-drawer unit and separate top-loading fridge. The test boat was also fitted with an optional compact dishwasher and cooker hood, in addition to a standard opening portlight above the three burner gas cooker and oven.

On the downside, it wouldn’t be easy to use the galley at all, even for making a cup of tea, when well heeled on port tack in a big breeze.

Owner’s cabin with king-size double berth. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

Our test boat has a three-cabin, two-head layout, plus a big walk-in store room, making it ideal for private owners. In this version all berths are a full European king size, with 160cm width across their entire length. Two different four-cabin layouts are also offered, including a classic four-cabin/four-heads charter arrangement, with two doubles forward. The second option is a four-cabin/two-head owner’s version that retains the appealing master cabin forward, but adds a small Pullman cabin with bunk beds ahead of the starboard quarter cabin.

The Bavaria C46 owner’s cabin is a lovely open space, with separate toilet and shower compartment. On the downside, there’s not a huge amount of stowage here. The aft cabins are of equal size, though on the test boat the port one is set up as a permanent double, while starboard is configured as two singles that convert easily to a double. Both these cabins share the well-appointed heads near the companionway.

The storeroom will appeal to many private owners and has potential to provide plenty of well-organised and easily accessed stowage, as well as space for a washer/drier.

Aft cabins can be double or twin configuration. Photo: Ludovic Fruchaud/

The standard of joinery is generally good, though our the prototype Bavaria C46 we sailed had some systems in the bilge, including the engine start battery, which are located on plywood bases whose edges were not sealed with epoxy. We’re told this arrangement will be revised for production boats.

There’s also some exposed sealant visible on deck, for instance, at the join of the coachroof and the mouldings that form conduits for the lines led aft. It’s neatly done, but even UV stabilised materials of this type can eventually turn yellow and therefore mar cosmetic appearances.

On the plus side, there’s neat and easy access under the cockpit floor to reach the quadrant and steering system. The 244lt diesel tank may limit autonomy for those who want to venture further afield, but there are options for up to a generous 800lt of fresh water.

Construction is of conventional hand laid polyester and E-glass, with PVC foam core above the waterline, reinforced in way of the chainplates and fore and aft bulkheads. The inner matrix is also hand laid in E-glass and polyester, with the keel area laminated to the hull.

If you enjoyed this….

Yachting World is the world’s leading magazine for bluewater cruisers and offshore sailors. Every month we have inspirational adventures and practical features to help you realise your sailing dreams.
Build your knowledge with a subscription delivered to your door. See our latest offers and save at least 30% off the cover price.


Overall I was pleasantly surprised by the C46 – it sails better than might be expected, particularly once the breeze reaches 10 knots, and sail handling systems are well thought out. Apart from a few caveats such as lack of handholds in the saloon and galley, the accommodation is lovely and spacious. Big selling points for private owners include the owner’s cabin and the storeroom that will help keep a plethora of accumulated kit well organised. Performance doesn’t match the best contemporary performance cruisers of similar length, but they tend to be significantly more expensive. On the other hand, the C46 is certainly equal to, or better than, most of those designed a couple of decades ago, yet has vastly more accommodation space both above and below decks.


LOA:14.5m 47ft 6in
Hull length:13.95m 45ft 8in
LWL:13.32m 43ft 7in
Beam:4.70m 15ft 4in
Draught:2.3m 7ft 7in or 1.75m 5ft 9in
Displacement (2.3m keel):12,730kg 28,065lb
Ballast (standard keel):2,575kg 5,677lb
Ballast (shoal keel):2,858kg 6,301lb
Sail area (100% foretriangle):123.8m2 1,333ft2
SA/disp ratio Disp:23.1
Disp/length ratio:150
Fuel:244lt 54gal
Water:544lt or 798lt 120gal or 176gal
Design:Cossutti Yacht Design
Base price:€315,600 ex VAT