BOAT REVIEW Bavaria C42 Bizzy Lizzy

December 2021 Yacht Reviews
Words by Sarah Ell. Photography and video by Roger Mills.
Build Quality
MODEL Bavaria C42
DESIGNER Cossutti Yacht Design
BUILDER Bavaria Yachts Gmbh
LOA 12.9M
LENGTH (Waterline) 11.27M
BEAM 4.29M
ENGINE Yanmar 40hp with Saildrive
Mast & Rigging Selden aluminium
  • Bright, modern interior décor below decks
  • Responds nicely to the helm with well sorted sail controls
  • Easy to handle even with a crew of two
  • Plenty of room for a family with kids, or a group of adults

Getting back out on the water after an extended period in lockdown felt so good — especially with the new Bavaria C42 to take for a spin on a nearly deserted Waitematā Harbour.

With the lifting of Level 4 lockdown restrictions in Auckland in mid-October, socially distanced boat-testing was back on the menu, and we jumped at the chance to get out for a sail.
Today’s vessel in the spotlight is Bizzy Lizzy. She’s been sitting idle in Auckland for a few months now, waiting for the opportunity to head up the coast to her new owners in Kerikeri. We were initially supposed to check her out in mid-August, before her delivery up north, but we all know what happened next . . .
The C42, released in early 2020, is a development of Bavaria’s C-Line range, one of the smaller models in a selection which goes up to 57 feet (16.2 m). She’s a smidge over 12m long, with the option of two or three cabins (Bizzy Lizzy has three) and either one or two heads (this boat has two).


The C42 sports an updated hull shape, with a more beam, higher freeboard and a longer waterline than the previous Bavaria in this size range. She has a more v-shaped bow and pronounced chines, to provide both sailing stability and plenty of space down below.
Bavaria has called on Italian race-yacht designers Maurizio Cossutti and Alessandro Ganz of Cossutti Yacht Design to give its range a bit of a zhuzh-up over the past few years, and their touch can be seen all over the C42 – in its looks and performance. The chines are particularly noticeable when the boat is docked; while they skim the waterline forward, further after they rise up and pinch in a little to give the yacht quite a noticeable, rounded derrière.
The cabintop is relatively low profile, the volume down below being created by the high topsides. A coaming running aft from the cabin encloses the cockpit sides and takes the line of the cabin almost right aft.
Getting on board is easy, stepping off the dock onto the large boarding platform created by the middle section of the transom folding down and out. It’s raised and lowered by a rope purchase, but the platform is supported by gas-strut hinges to give extra support.
There’s a large, solid toe-rail around the side decks all the way to the bow, with non-slip moulded decking making it easy and safe to go forward for sailing duties or, more likely, to access the large sunbed forward of the mast. The anchor sits in a moulded bowsprit, forward of a large chain locker which also acts as storage for the fenders. Back in the cockpit, the floor, seats and boarding platform are finished in Esthec eco-friendly teak-look decking.

The cockpit is not hugely long, but because of the ample beam aft there’s plenty of room to sit around on the L-shaped seats each side. There’s a drop-leaf table in the centre, with storage in the central unit. This area is almost completely covered by a simply enormous bimini, aft of the very large dodger, making it super-practical in the harsh Kiwi summer sunlight. With its open sides, clear roof panels above the helm and large windows in the dodger, the helmsperson’s view both forward and up to the mainsail is not overly restricted.
The boat has a German mainsheet system, running continuously to either side of the cockpit, making it easy to sail her with a crew of two. The sheets are trimmed on a pair of powered winches beside the sporty-looking twin steering wheels, which are positioned right aft — so far aft, in fact, that you can drive while sitting on a little seat that folds down from the transom, with your back supported by a little cushion attached to the aft lifelines.

Between the two wheels, a large B&G chartplotter is integrated into the back of the central console of the cockpit table, with a pair of smaller digital instruments and a gimballed compass on the rear slope of the coaming just in front of each wheel. On the starboard side is the throttle control and push-button start for the 40hp Yanmar diesel (with saildrive), and controls for the bow thruster.
Bizzy Lizzy’s owners are into taking it pretty easy on the water, so ordered just the basic sail package: a 42.7m2 mast-furling Elvstrøm mainsail and 37.5m2 self-tacking jib. If you want to boost the performance, a 109% overlapping jib, a 155m2 gennaker and a code zero can be ordered. The rig is a sturdy-looking, twin-spreader aluminium Seldén section with a bridle backstay which splits to run to the stern quarters.
There is another pair of winches on the cabintop, both of which have been converted to electric to make hoisting and adjusting sails even easier. Using these it’s easy to ‘hoist’ the main from its in-mast furler, and then deploy the furling self-tacking jib, which also sheets on one of these cabintop winches.

Heading down below, five steps lead down the large companionway into the voluminous saloon below decks. The Yanmar diesel, accessed by lifting up the companionway stairs, and is both easy to get at and well sound-insulated. There’s plenty of dry storage under the cabin floor, with the various panels lifted up using a suction device, so there aren’t lots of access holes in the floorboards.
There’s a good two metres of headroom in the main cabin, and only slightly less in the two aft cabins and the master suite up in the bow. There’s plenty of sunshine coming into the warm, woody interior through high-level cabin side- and through-hull windows, as well as a large central hatch.
Bizzy Lizzy has a pretty traditional, Kiwi-friendly layout, with the L-shaped galley to port at the bottom of the stairs. The galley has a single sink, three-burner gas stove and a very large under-bench fridge. There’s a Bosch microwave as well as the traditional gas oven, and lots of storage space in the cabin sides, making the most of that generous beam.

The large saloon seating area is forward of the galley, with a settee on the port side and a u-shaped sofa to starboard. This wraps around an ingenious table, which unfolds like origami around the mast-support post to double in size when required. It can be lowered to create another double berth. At the forward end of the port settee is a lidded chart table, along with the VHF and stereo controls.
The master cabin in the bow has its own head/shower compartment, and there is a pair of double quarterberths aft, as well as the guest head and shower to starboard opposite the galley.
Bizzy Lizzy is fitted with a bow thruster for maximum manoeuvrability when docking, especially when the boat is being sailed two-handed. When it’s time to head out onto the harbour, it’s a breeze to get her out of her corner spot outside Busfields and into the fairway. Once out on the harbour, a few pulls on a few lines and we are engine off and sailing, without anyone having to leave the cockpit.
It was a strange feeling heading out of Westhaven onto the waters of the Waitematā. In some ways it felt familiar — I’ve headed off to check out a new boat and do a photo shoot tens, if not hundreds of times over the years — but at the same time it was profoundly weird to be a) outside; b) with people other than my family and c) on a boat, hoisting sails and literally sailing away from lockdown — albeit only for a few hours. The harbour itself was also strangely quiet, with no stream of boaties heading away early for a long weekend and even a reduced number of ferries buzzing back and forth.

Getting on the helm, I am pleasantly surprised by how responsive she is. The steering is light and even minor adjustments to the wheels has a quick result. Coming on the wind actually feels quite exciting, with the boat leaning into its chines and settling into a comfortable groove after a little bit of adjustment. Bearing away is also smooth, the boat flattening out and accelerating, and riding comfortably through the light chop. There are options to up-spec this boat into racer-cruiser mode, which would be rewarding if you felt the need for a bit more speed and performance.

The C42 was named 2021 European Yacht of the Year in the ‘family cruiser’ category by French Voile magazine, and it certainly fits that brief. There’s plenty of room for a family with kids, or a group of adults, to spend many comfortable hours on board, enjoying an easy and undemanding sail to some quiet bay before settling in to swimming, entertaining and relaxing under that massive bimini, or down below if the weather isn’t playing ball. Hopefully Bizzy Lizzy will be able to make her ay north to her new home soon, so she can start playing a big role in her new owners’ lives.


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