Bavaria SR33 sea trial: The best compact cruiser Bavaria has ever built?

Can Bavaria recreate the joys of the award-winning SR line on its smallest platform yet? Alex Smith heads for northern Germany to test the Bavaria SR33...

Bavaria’s SR line has been a major success since it burst onto the scene in 2020. With its elevated hull sides, charming transom dinette and inboard-only engines, the original Bavaria SR41 combined excellent volume with a rewarding layout, great looks and a really impressive driving experience.

Since then, Bavaria has done a great job of transferring those same talents onto the smaller Bavaria SR36 pretty much unscathed – but can they really repeat the trick with a boat as compact as the Bavaria SR33?

Well, the first thing to note as we arrive at Neustadt marina in northern Germany is the fact that this is not actually a 33-footer at all. With a hull of 35ft 9in and an overall length of 37ft 5in, alongside that same muscular aesthetic as we’ve seen elsewhere in the range, this feels like quite a substantial boat.

It’s still shorter than the SR36 (40ft 3in LOA) and uses the same lovely two-part hull windows. It’s also good to see that Bavaria has retained that all-important lynchpin of the SR dayboating experience: the aft-facing transom dinette.

It’s a great feature, enabling four people to perch in comfort above the integrated swim platform. As on the larger models, the table can be dropped into the gap, creating an attractive sunpad – or it can be specced as an integrated storage box, topped with sunbed cushions.

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In this case, the reduced length has compelled Bavaria to factor in a swinging backrest, which means that, when the aft cockpit bench is in operation, the transom dinette will only seat two. But the fact that the feature has survived intact is a major bonus for this smallest of the SR craft.

As you move forward, it’s clear that Bavaria has also tried to maximise cockpit space by keeping the side decks quite narrow. Happily, it has also worked hard to mitigate the impact of that with sturdy toerails, lofty guardrails and a useful (if rather short) rooftop grabrail.

While it still feels a bit tight making your way fore and aft, these features do help ease any trepidation – and once you get there, the big foredeck sunpad provides a handy extra space to relax with a drink.

Back in the cockpit, cocooned within wraparound glass, things again feel pretty good. It adopts the same port dinette, starboard wet bar and raised helm layout as the rest of the fleet.

To maximise versatility, the Bavaria SR33 can be specced with a full-scale fabric sunroof or a smaller fibreglass unit above the helm – and you can also pick either a camping cover that turns the cockpit into a climate-controlled day space or a sun shade for extra shelter above the aft dinette.

Either way, the use of elevated mouldings at the starboard helm and the port co-pilot seat are clearly a means of maximising volume down below – and while I remain unconvinced by the merits of the elevated chaise longue to port of the helm, its benefits for the space down below are impossible to dispute.

Update: The Bavaria SR33 will be making its UK debut at the 2023 Southampton Boat Show.

Read Alex’s full review of the Bavaria SR33 in the June issue of MBY, which is out now.

Bavaria SR33 specifications

LOA: 37ft 5in (11.4m)
Beam: 11ft 4in (3.46m)
Draft: 2ft 10in (0.86m)
Displacement: 8,500kg
Fuel capacity: 500 litres
Engines: Twin 250-350hp inboard petrol or diesel
Test engines: Twin Volvo Penta D4 300 diesels on sterndrives
Top speed on test: 31.4 knots
Fuel consumption: 67lph @ 20 knots / 29lph @ 9 knots
Cruising range: 119nm @ 20 knots / 124nm @ 9 knots
Noise: 87 dB(A) @ 20 knots
RCD category: B8/C10
Price as tested: €340,000 (ex. VAT)


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