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The paradigm that is the Bavaria E34

by John Curnow 17 May 2018 19:06 PDT
Virtually wake free for all those 6 knot, no wash areas © John Curnow

So if space is the final frontier, then we may very well have arrived! Such is the transformation in thought that you get after even the smallest amount of time on board Bavaria’s E34. This is one intelligent cruiser. Unequivocally, it is both the tremendous feeling that the space affords you, and the marvel at how they have achieved all this in just 34 feet that captivates, welcomes, and in a lot of ways, soothes you all at the same time.

Now in a not so strange parallel, it is the spaciousness, along with sense of openness that has literally made the E34 more accessible. This is not just in the literal sense, either, for this is a craft that is actually opening up boating to totally new markets. That accessibility, from her amenities like air conditioning, to ease of piloting, is what allows people new to the lifestyle to enjoy time on the water, for it is not a lot dissimilar to driving a large car.

To recap, the raised, aft helming position with nigh on 360-degree vision is central to the concept, as is the massive, automotive like windscreen. Some may have seen this as a challenge, but the way it involves skipper with all on board, and also makes their role easier for piloting and manoeuvring, is quite incredible.

Loaded with a full galley, two Staterooms, both with full heads, TV, fridges, sun lounge on the foredeck, aft entertaining area, BBQ, massive swim platform, huge sunroofs for airflow, a true connection from stem to stern for all on board, and Bluetooth connectivity for your preferred entertainment devices, it is hard to think of what else she might need. You can even have the optional small genset, so that you can run the microwave, air-con, and the two fridges at your favourite anchorage.

So then, what don’t you need? Well normally I am a flying bridge kind of person, and the E34 is also available with a large one, but you wonder if this is counter to the original premise, for it is not like you really need the space for extra guests. The Sedan version will easily handle your 10 guests, but you will loose that connection with everyone to a large degree, and you also gain considerable air draft to an already tall boat, which will in turn prevent you going under bridges and so forth, which will hamper your use in the boat’s sweet spot.

Could it be too big a price to pay? Every craft has a sweet spot, and this one’s is inland waterways, canals, rivers, enclosed coves, large sweeping bays and so forth is definitely where she is suited. So given it is all about displacement speeds, fun times with family and friends, and allowing time to simply pass on by, the extra deck would seem to be just more work in terms of covers and maintenance. Leaving the sedan version is literally plug in the shore power, close the electric sunroofs, the aft window and door, lock her up, and off you go. Now that’s hassle free boating right there.

Right. So we mention displacement speed, and she is available with your choice from three Volvo Pentas, as well as a hybrid. The little 60HP will take her to 7.5 knots, the 110 to 9 and the 220 to 12. Our test vessel was the 110, which at 6 knots burns a miserly 2.7l/hr for an incredible half a litre per nautical mile, which equates to an effective range of 1000nm from her 540-litre tank. That’s yacht (sail boat) territory!

At a more tractable 8 knots your range decreases to 400nm, as you go out to 10l/hr. WOT sees consumption increase to 22l/hr or 2.4l/nm, so in essence, unless you really need to do 9-12 knots a lot of the time, then you won’t need the 220HP version. All in all it means the E34 can go coastal hopping, and will happily get you there if you’ve got the time. The other impressive aspect of this craft, and indeed all Bavarias and Nautitech catamarans, is the fit and finish. I really like the faux cedar strip panelling that lines the two cabins, and pays homage to the trawlers of old. Yet it was on closer inspection of the deckhead where the finish created by the CNC milling of the moulds in the first place, and then vac-bagging of the final product, where you could really see the quality.

This of course extends to the hull itself, and all the components. Resin infusion technology stands for uniformity, strength, and lowest possible mass. What you are left with is superior durability, and when you consider that a craft like this comes in at 7.5 metric tonnes, with all that she has on board, then it is a commendable effort. The exemplary finish also extends to the cabinetry, the bulk of which is from automated processes too.

This is not the first of Bavaria’s E Line craft that we have seen. We had been on board the E40 Sedan, and whilst totally impressive, being tied to the quay didn’t do it anywhere near the kind of favour that we enjoyed out on the waterways of Queensland’s Gold Coast with her smaller sister. Jason Chipp from Ensign Ship Brokers, the Australian Agents, commented, “You can now have the E40 in a three-cabin version, as well. It is great for us to have the E40 down in Sydney, and it has proven to be a really popular boat. Having the E34 here means we can easily demonstrate just how suitable a concept the E Series is for broadwaters, harbours, and coastal cruising with their miserly fuel consumption, ultra-low wake, low impact generally, and vast spaces.”

The very efficient, streamlined hull form, in combination with bow and stern thrusters means the E34 on test was very, very manoeuvrable, provided for great comfort, and with a full keel had a kind motion, together with giving the prop that little bit more protection. Chipp added, “For instance, up here on the Gold Coast Broadwater we’ve got a lot of shallow inlets and waterways. Sterndrives are OK, but the amount of damaged props that we get with some of our brokerage boats that we see all the time is notable. To have that bit more protection, along with the lower maintenance of a traditional straight shaft makes it more robust, and that’s fantastic.”

It is important to note at this juncture that the traditional set up is also easier to pilot at slow speeds, as sterndrives require a lot of helm input to move the legs all the time, and this does become unpleasant and annoying. Equally, the paradigm of the E34 becomes even more evident when you place her next to an older 38 to 40-footer, and realise that you could place the whole of the other craft inside Bavaria’s E34!

“It’s got to be one of the biggest 34s on the market. I think it’s the combination of the fact that they’ve used every bit of space inside the boat, the helm position, the two full cabins (the for’ard one even has scissor beds), two fully kitted out heads, and saloon level galley, all inside a 10.3m footprint is fantastic. Even when people walk around, or go down to the for’ard cabin, your vision from the raised seat is not totally impaired, and the skipper retains not only contact with the guests, but also full command of the craft.”

Another notable element is that the light and airy context also extends to surfaces and finishes, which stands for easy cleaning, and a mould-free boat. Over time, this means the pleasure of ownership continues, and there is greater retained value come time to move her on.

Chipp is also clear about how this craft is able to bring people into the lifestyle. “She’s easy to get on to, stable, has plenty of grab spots, yet she’s also light and airy. Our backbone is brokerage boats, and we have a lot of demand for sports cruisers. More often than not, people choose this type of craft because there are not a lot of options. They want something that they can get under bridges, and is easy to cruise around in. The E34 is a boat that’s brilliant with comfortable walkways around the side, all that single-level through the saloon, plenty of headroom, so you’re not ducking biminis with all their bows and frames, or trying to hang on to a windscreen as you walk past.”

“She’s a lovely safe boat that gives people a lot of comfort as well. The high freeboard means you do not get spray coming over, and the whole craft just gives you a real sense of security. People love the good high area of the cockpit with a nice transom that folds down, so you don’t have the swim platform stuck out of the back all the time.”

“We always thought the E Series would have a special niche for people who like to take the dog out with them, or are less agile, but certainly there is a market for young families as well, by virtue of the two cabin arrangement. She’s very safe with the platform up, and with the railing clipped off across the stern. Mum and dad can be sitting there driving the boat, and see their kids all the time. All the openings are higher up, so you still get air flowing around, but none of the safety issues.”

Even with a full keel, the powerful bow and stern thrusters can push the boat exactly where you want to go, and with the aft seating position, you can back into your pen with both ease and confidence, for the transom is just over two metres behind you.

“No one can argue that a bow and stern thrusters aren’t going to make the boat easier to manoeuvre. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, you will use them, and on a day like today where I had to drop someone off from the bow, I could just hold it there all steady. The fact that you can do that in any sort of wind condition means that you are going to get out and use the boat, so it’s money well spent, and so, so much easier than a pair of sterndrives and a bit of bravado”, commented Chipp.

So if it is all about bringing new people to the pastime of going boating, then it seems the simplicity of it all is what is the main attraction. The E34 draws less than a metre, which means you can anchor right up close to the beach, and just about step off. She’s easy to use, open from the inside, yet safe on the side decks, with tremendous grab rails, and a flat foredeck to lounge on. You can be under cover out aft to get away from the sun, and whilst there also cook up your BBQ lunch or dinner.

Even if you are inside preparing food, you still look out of panoramic windows, not tiny portholes. Indeed the only things below decks are the accommodations. Here too, as owner you get to choose whether you take the for’ard VIP cabin for yourself, or tuck yourself away completely in the self contained aft Owner’s Stateroom, and keep your head for your own private use.

In finishing, it does not matter whether you are out with three or four souls or a party of ten, you will feel like there is a lot of room for all. Everyone loves the hassle free aspects the E34 delivers, and this especially includes how easy she is to moor. Equally, many a craft less than 40 feet is not ideal for people over 6 feet in height. This is not something you will have to concern yourself with when considering the E34. So to call a boat a paradigm is a big call, but when you consider how brilliant the concept is, how well it is made, and how much it makes you want to take her out and go boating.

You can find out all about Bavaria’s intelligent E34 here. If you are in Australia, please contact Ensign Ship Brokers to view her, and if you are at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show, then make your way to the marina to see her first hand. This is a craft that will change your take on what a boat of this size can achieve, and what going boating is all about. Pure and simple…

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