Finding the boat
The idea of buying a sailing boat and moving on it began to mature in our heads back in 2017. It’s fair to say that not only we had very small sailing experience, but we didn’t have a clue about the “sailing world”, meaning we literally started from scratch.
We had no other choice than to start by studying on our own: reading all kind of article that could guide us through the purchase process was our main source of information. In addition, we spent countless nights looking at boats on websites like YachtWorld or Cosas de Barcos.
Finally, it was time to put into practice what we had studied. We started viewing boats: first, we focused on nearby vessels, but soon we realized that the local market wasn’t offering many of the options we were looking for. We decided it was time to enlarge the search and consider flying abroad. We had clear ideas of what our ideal boat would look like: we knew that older constructions had been built with higher standards and were on average more solid than 2005 onwards boats; plus they fit better with our budget.
We were looking for a second-hand 40 ft vessel built for a family of two adults, meaning a maximum of two cabins and only one head (with a separate shower). Stowage was a key element as well as water and diesel tank capacity: this would have allowed good autonomy underway and less dependence on expensive marinas. We didn’t want any teak deck or fancy blue hull as we knew both options came with extra maintenance.
At the same time, we want the boat to sail well in light winds, typical conditions you often find in the Med in the summertime. Easiness of maneuvering was also something we wanted the boat to have: the ability to control almost everything from within the cockpit was a plus.
We visited different boats from various shipyards: a North Wind 41, a Wauquiez Centurion 40, a Beneteau Oceanis 42 CC, a Sunbeam 37, and a Dehler 41 DS. But it was only in April 2019, when almost by chance, we spotted that a 1998 38-ft Bavaria Ocean called Bolero, was on sale. Apparently, it was in very good shape and well taken care of by his previous owner. Funny enough, it was based at the nearby Real Club Marítimo de Barcelona, literally 10 minutes from home.
We got in touch with the owner who was nice and understood all the concerns we had. He spent plenty of time with us to make sure all our doubts were answered, he even took us for a sea trial to show how the boat was sailing. We almost immediately understood that Bolero was a model that fitted perfectly with most of the requirements we had set. We reached an agreement with the owner, we had the boat surveyed and at the beginning of June, we completed all the paperwork and the dream became true: we were boat owners!
Bavaria 38 Ocean
Bavaria, at the end of the nineties, produced a series of successful models all designed by the famous J&J studio: a firm founded by the brothers Jernej and Japec Jakopin in 1983.
The Ocean 38 design with its comfortable central cockpit, allowed to have plenty of room inside (something any liveaboard would appreciate), even being a relatively small boat (11.45 meters length), especially if compared with today’s standards. With this model, Bavaria tried to compete with well-known Northern European shipyards such as Hallberg Rassy, Malo, Najiad, and Sunbeam: all of them recognized for building very solid ships, mostly with a central-cockpit/high-displacement mentality.
Bavaria opted for a very robust fiberglass hull: below the waterline, it used fiberglass with a thickness of up to 32 mm. The front part of the hull, up to the first bulkhead, is reinforced with a 2mm thick layer of Kevlar to ensure additional strength in the event of impacts. Strength is provided by double layers of fiberglass that run on each side of the hull to the stern, as well as double lamination in the keel area, a requirement to obtain the famous Lloyd’s certificate. Above the waterline, the hull, as well as the deck, carry a core de Divinycell de 15 mm to ensure strength and insulation.
We fell in love with the interiors: the wide saloon is characterized by a large table with foldable “wings”: it allows up to 7 people to eat and when folded down, it leaves plenty of space to move around. The stretched galley comes with a mid-sized fridge, two burners & oven and a double sink.
The aft cabin stands out for its wide double bed that only central cockpit layout can allow in a 38-foot boat. The head, has a separate shower “box” and is a luxury that we value a lot in winter time: in summer, we usually get shower outside, in the open air, enjoying red sunsets and unbeatable views.
Two adults can sleep comfortably in the forward cabin, although when there are no guests, we mostly use it to stow sails and other bulky materials.
In general, the interiors are characterized by the use of solid wood, which gives a very cozy classic touch that you will not find in “modern” boats: it is a real shame that shipyards are increasingly guided by the charter market and have stopped using quality materials – I don’t know why they thought that applying the IKEA model to boats was a good idea …
The Bavaria Ocean 38 is a 9/10 fractional rig Sloop Marconi. It is distinguished by its straight keel and suspended rudder (with a mini-skeg).
Mechanics and Electronics
Images from the Bavaria owner’s manual: a very useful tool for all those who are keen on maintaining their boat on their own.
A collection of pictures of the exteriors of Bolero, in the future we will do a “guided tour” – maybe a video – with some more details.
Without a doubt, we need more pics of the interiors to show with better detail the Bolero internal arrangement, I promise we will take a few with a wide-angle lens.