Around two years ago the German builder Bavaria Yachts imported its acclaimed Virtess 420 Fly, a boat that had previously garnered a European Boat of the Year award. Bavaria applied the same sound construction techniques to its Sport 360 Coupe, a smaller and sleeker vessel with an enclosed helm. We noted that right away taking a seat at the wheel. The windshield mullions are solid and sturdy, yet thinner than what you’d find on comparable boats, allowing for an unobstructed view from the helm. The helm seat has both a flip-up bolster and a flip-down teak footrest, as well as a molded-in toe rest in the console. This gives the captain choices — sitting or standing depending on conditions and personal comfort.
Our test model came equipped with twin Volvo Penta D3 220 hp diesel sterndrives with a joystick at the helm. With the windshield and the luminous side windows we had no problem using the joystick to turn the boat within its own length in close quarters. Once we got into open waters we engaged the throttles, and the twin diesels brought the boat up to a comfortable 30 mph cruising speed. That was around 3,700 to 3,800 rpm, not far off the wide-open throttle (WOT) of 4,000 rpm (which produced a 35.2 mph top speed). That number illustrates the beauty of diesel — while the top speeds are slower than for gas power, you can cruise for long stretches dialed back just off WOT without doing any harm to the engines. And when running a boat like this outside of the inlet, 30 mph is plenty fast.
As we tested this boat in Florida, we quickly grew to appreciate another virtue: the enclosed coupe. We started the test in wilting heat, with a long stretch of idle speed zones through the Intracoastal Waterway. During that run we simply closed up the sliders to the cockpit and the windows and fired up the air conditioner. But when we got to the inlet, we opened the doors and windows and hit the button to slide back the hardtop. This turned the salon into an open-air arena where we could enjoy the sea breeze and the sun and let the wind from our running keep us cool.
To port, the salon features a long teak table and a sofa. The forward end of it forms a double-wide bench with an adjustable backrest so it can convert to first-mate seating to port of the helm. Offshore cruisers will appreciate that the table sports a fiddled rail to keep contents from spilling onto the floor. The starboard side of the salon features a teak-top entertainment center that is easily accessed from the aft cockpit.
The open cockpit proved another great place to enjoy the elements in style, while nestled in the wraparound seating that surrounds an electrically actuated teak cockpit table. The teak decking underfoot stretches all the way out to the extended swim platform. (Bavaria offers the option for a hydraulic swim platform as well.) The side decks to access the bow also have teak underfoot. It should be noted that the boat has handholds all the way forward to access the windlass, and the bow rails extend above tripping height to provide actual safety. In a nod to its sailboat heritage, Bavaria built in a clip-on wire rail over the anchor pulpit.
The Carver C37 Coupe ($376,195 with twin 320 hp MerCruiser MAG 377 gasoline sterndrives) is another boat to consider in this vein, because it also has two staterooms and a private head belowdecks. The two boats differ in their approach since the Carver has a wider 13-foot beam carried forward in a plumb bow design. Moreover, the Carver keeps the entertainment space above deck and the living space below, while Bavaria incorporates both elements belowdecks.
The four steps down from the salon lead to a dinette and galley for relaxing belowdecks. What’s notable is that both the forward stateroom and the midship cabin are closed off behind wood doors. You don’t expect this kind of privacy aboard a 37-footer. The midship stateroom features twin beds that can convert to a queen with a filler insert. The master features a raised queen. Should your crew expand from four to six people, the dinette converts to a berth for extra sleeping space.
Another thing to take note of belowdecks is how well done the joinery is on all the components. With all the solid teak, teak paneling and walnut floors belowdecks, it looks sensational. It also looks symmetrical. Bavaria attributes that to its automated routing system, which molds and cuts all the parts with exacting precision. (Here is where you give a knowing nod to German engineering.) With the built-in ports bringing in natural light and 6 feet 5 inches of headroom, it feels plenty roomy.
There’s a full head in the cabin that has a freshwater flush toilet and a shower. Where the Carver has a separate shower stall, the Bavaria’s is part of the main head — a design trade-off for incorporating a galley and dinette belowdecks. The shower sump has excellent service access.
Overall, the Bavaria Sport 360 Coupe offers a smart package that is equally at home for coastal cruising, staying overnight and entertaining. In the battle between form and function, it’s got both in spades.
Comparable Model: Carver C37 Coupe