• For the newcomer, it is a package they can get to grips with – without breaking the bank in the process.
  • From a driver’s point of view, the helm is pretty good – everything is where you need it.
  • Engine access rarely gets any better – regardless of engine options.
  •  For the more experienced or the sports boat fanatic, it is a great driver’s boat that can cover some sea miles in the process.

Bavaria 32 Sport

Something Bavaria have always done well is build a solid sea boat, and the 32 Sport proves this point. Greg Copp tells us why …


Over its production span from 2003 to 2007, the Bavaria 32 Sport was available with a wide selection of Volvo engines and proved a very popular boat. Initially the most common diesel engine options were twin 170hp Volvo KAD32s and twin 260hp Volvo KAD44s, though there are a few with twin 285hp Volvo KAD300s. From 2004, common-rail 210hp and 260hp Volvo D4s replaced the earlier mechanically injected engines. Twin V6 230hp and twin V8 320hp Volvo petrol engines were also an option – the few that were built can be bought at very tempting prices. If you find an example with 320hp V8 petrols it is worth considering. Twin 320hp 5.7L petrol engines will make for an exciting drive and the money you save on the purchase price will buy a lot of petrol. You can pick one at around £45,000, though you may have to look abroad to find one. All engines were coupled to duo-prop sterndrives. Performance varied from 33 to 42 knots, and whatever engine option you chose, the 32 Sport was a cheap boat to run in real terms. In 2006, a hardtop version was introduced, and they attract an extra premium over the open boat.


From a driver’s perspective, this boat has a very good reputation. The J&J-designed hull steers as quickly (four turns lock to lock) and with the same sure-footed manner as any of its more costly competitors. Seakeeping is in the same league, as the 32 Sport conducts itself well in all but the roughest and confused seas.


It was great value for money when new as the euro was weak during its production run. Hence now they are a great second-hand bargain. Though solidly built in the hull department and well-constructed overall, fit and finish can be a bit basic compared to the more costly British and Scandinavian yards.


The helm layout on the boat I viewed is a functional single-seat affair that does not overdo it when it comes to instruments. However, all the gauges and the chartplotter are easy to read and the throttles fall to hand. The seat also has a flip-up bolster if you choose to stand – ideal for berthing. Behind the helm seat sits a small wet bar complete with fridge and triple cup holders. There is an alternative layout that has a double helm seat and a navigator’s seat to port with a small chart table. This variation also has a large sun pad aft instead of the large U-shaped seating arrangement that converts to a sun pad, as found on this boat. The U-shaped seating layout has the bonus of having a cockpit table, which, being capable of seating four large adults around it, makes up for the smaller table in the cabin below. The engine bay has enough room for any of the engine options, with a huge amount of space forward of the engines. All filters are accessible, as are the dipsticks, batteries and the calorifier. You could, if need be, secure a small inflatable tender on the forward engine room bulkhead. Impressively, the cockpit floor and rear seat lift up at the press of a switch, so you do not need to squeeze through a deck hatch to get at the engines – as could be the case.


Deck access is via 6″ side decks and not unsubstantial guard rails for a sports cruiser this size. As is often the case, it is a bit of a step up to actually get onto the side decks, which Bavaria have tried to ease with a small step and some handrails on the radar arch. The foredeck on the boat I viewed had a non-slip surface, which I must say has not always been the case with this model.


For its size, the Bavaria offers a lot of space and accommodation below. The main cabin can seat a young family of four (or three adults) and the galley is relatively well specified, with a fridge and just enough storage to keep a couple or small family fed and watered for a few days. The electric hob is a double-ring affair and the oven is a microwave – this is not unrealistic as few people relish the concept of cooking a three-course meal on board a 32ft boat. There is standing headroom for somebody 6ft 3in throughout the main cabin. The heads is compact, but still sensible, and complete with shower, though due to the fact that there is no separate shower compartment you are more likely to use the marina showers. The forward double berth is 6ft at its widest and 6ft 4in long with plenty of natural light. There is no forecabin in the true sense, otherwise there would be little room in the main cabin. If you need it, the mid cabin offers two lengthy single berths, a bench seat and a bit of standing room. To be realistic, this boat is ideal for a couple or a young family if you intend to be on board for more than a weekend.


In summary, the Bavaria 32 Sport is many things to many people. For the newcomer, it is a package they can get to grips with – without breaking the bank in the process. For the more experienced or the sports boat fanatic, it is a great driver’s boat that can cover some sea miles in the process.

Data file

  • Build period:            2003 to 2007
  • Designer:                 J&J yacht designs
  • Berths:                     4
  • Cabins:                    2
  • Hull type:                   Deep-vee planing
  • RCD category:         B for 10
  • Current values:        From £45,000 to £90,000
  • Length overall:         33ft 0in (10.0m)
  • Beam:                      10ft 6in (3.20m)
  • Draught:                   2ft 11in (0.90m)
  • Displacement:          5.5 tonnes (light)
  • Fuel capacity:           121 gallons (550 litres)
  • Water capacity:         24 gallons (110 litres)
  • Cruising range:         270 miles with a 20% reserve at 22–24 knots (engine option dependent)

Points to consider


The character of this boat is dictated by its many engine options. The smallest 170hp KAD32 option has proved popular due to its low running costs and low purchase price. It is a 33-knot boat, so if you want some more punch, 260hp KAD44s turn this boat into a white-knuckle sports boat. In 2004, the Volvo D4 was offered in both 210hp and 260hp variations. The latter proved very popular – few boats were commissioned with 210hp D4s. There are a few 42-knot 285hp KAD300 boats out there, but not many. Of the few petrol-powered examples, having a boat with twin 320hp petrol V8s would be exciting. Though cheap to buy, they will not be that cheap to run, so it depends on how many hours you intend to do – even at 100 hours a year it is worth considering. The few 230hp V6 petrol boats that may be out there are best avoided.

Cockpit layout

There are two options: sun pad and dinette. The dinette version as featured here has proved very popular, and if you intend to have four people or more on board on a regular basis it is the one to go for. For couples or Med use, the sun pad version may tick all the boxes – it also has a lot of extra storage under the sun pad.


This boat is at the bottom of the curve in terms of depreciation as a result of the recession and being 10 or more years old. Subsequently it is a great-value buy that many of its British counterparts simply can’t compete with in terms of price.

Build quality/fit & finish

Bavaria are renowned for their solid build quality, especially in the hull department. In comparison to the British and Scandinavian yards, the internal fit can appear minimalistic and lacking in finesse. However, none of this takes away from its credentials as a reliable seagoing boat.

Buying in Europe

One of the reasons for such a wide range in values is the cheaper cost of buying in Europe due to the weakening of the euro against sterling (which was one of the reasons for its low price when originally launched). There are plenty of these boats in the Med, so buying one in the sun can make very good sense, especially if you intend to keep it there.

Running costs


The Volvo D4 will cost about £500 to service and the KAD44 and KAD300 likewise. The KAD32 will be a bit cheaper being a smaller 4-cylinder engine. The cost of spares has never been a Volvo strong point either in the UK or overseas, however availability and the abundance of service agents are very good worldwide. Boats with petrol engines will be cheaper to service due to lower costs for spare parts – and they do not require shockingly expensive fuel injectors or turbochargers.


Boats with 170hp KAD32Ss should return a healthy 2.5mpg (or more) at around 25 knots. D4 boats will be similar to the greater efficiency of their common-rail fuel injection systems. The mechanically injected KAD44 and KAD300 will return sub 2.5mpg. Twin 320hp petrol engines should return between 1.5 and 2 mpg in similar conditions – providing you can resist the temptation to nail the throttles.

Choice cut

2003 Price: £59,950

The boat featured in this article, which is located at Swanwick Marina, has the KAD32 engine option. If you intend to use this boat as a cruiser first and a sports boat second, this is no bad thing. You get even more space in the engine bay and servicing will be cheaper, while it will do 33/34 knots. It is in outstanding condition, immediately apparent in the quality of its gelcoat. The cockpit covers and all the cockpit upholstery look to have been replaced fairly recently, and internally the boat is pristine. Engine hours are low for its age and the boat has a full service history.


Jim’s words

The Bavaria 32 Sport is a regular, generally well-built sports cruiser, manufactured in volume production to offer maximum amenity for a comparatively low market price. If you are looking for a handcrafted yacht, this won’t be the boat for you, but her assembly from machine-made components and her furniture provide a generally reliable product that performs well.


Having said that, the Volvo power installation is the same as many other sports cruisers, and its condition will be very much a function of the maintenance it has received during past ownership. However, look for corrosion on the engines and other equipment in the engine room, as I have found that the air intakes can allow saltwater spray in rough sea conditions. Remember also that high hours on the sterndrives may be an indication that they will soon require a costly overhaul.


I have also found structural damage on occasions on the lifting cockpit sole over the engine room, due to wear and tear. The GRP cockpit sole had distorted downwards at the starboard aft corner, requiring comparatively simple local repair and reinforcement.

Jim Pritchard BSc CEng MRINA MIIMS                                                                   www.jimpritchard.co.uk

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