Part of what was immediately noticeable in the Virtess 420 Fly was an elevated level of fit-and-finish. Bavaria has what is probably the most automated factory of any yacht builder. This means that there is an attention to detail that does not waver from one day to the next. Where the human element comes in, is in places like trim features around the doors. Flat surfaces are wood laminate, while the trim pieces are actual wood.We also noticed that quality materials are used where necessary, and substituted where it is more appropriate. For example, the overhead in the cabins is a less costly composite material as opposed to being vinyl or leather. This represents a savings that is passed on directly to the buyer.Lastly, savings are most evident by the fact that there is no "dealer base" per se. Anyone purchasing a Bavaria in the United States, does so factory-direct. This eliminates the need for shipping directly to dealers, there is no dealer floor plan, and no dealer insurance payments that have to be absorbed by the end-user. For these reasons, a Bavaria represents a lot of value at a competitive price.
Beginning at the swim platform, Bavaria has what has to be the most unique approach we've seen. The retractable boarding ladder is off to the starboard side. A set of grab handles inserts into the surface, and these grab handles are stowed away when not in use. Our test boat had the optional hydraulic swim platform ($27,860) that featured integrated stairs. When the platform is lowered, the steps to the cockpit rise from the surface and are comfortable to use regardless of whether the platform is fully submerged or partially. This is an extremely clever design, and one that we likely will be seeing elsewhere.
The platform can also be used for the launching and retrieval of a PWC. Bavaria recommends limiting the load to 1,323 lbs. (600 kg), a limit imposed strictly due to the bouncing affect of running through chop. Technically speaking, the platform can hold much more.
Stairs to both port and starboard lead from the swim platform to the aft deck. The aft deck is finished in standard teak and a dual pedestal table is mounted just ahead of a pair of doublewide seats. On our test boat, the seats were in a fixed position but the seats, and table can be on tracks and rails, allowing them to move to different locations throughout the cockpit while still remaining in fixed positions, providing safety and comfort in a sea way. This is another clever feature and one that we are surprised we have not seen from other builders.
The cockpit also enjoys protection from the extended overhead of the flybridge deck. Stairs to the port side lead to the flying bridge.
The salon is accessed from doublewide sliding glass doors that can be opened as a single, or double-wide, positioned to the port or starboard side. This is another example of the versatility that we’ve seen throughout the Bavaria lineup. We also appreciate that the salon and aft deck are all in a single level, providing a seamless transition through the space.
Upon entering the salon, the first impression is that of a wide-open space, completely surrounded by glass, providing excellent views from both the standing and sitting positions. Ceiling height is 6’8” (2.03 m). An L-shaped sofa is to starboard, wrapping around a high/low expandable pedestal table that converts the sofa into a berth, if needed. Additionally, there are two stools that can be moved from this location at the sofa, to the aft deck, if desired. And in keeping with the recurring theme of innovation, these stools easily flip open to convert into chairs, complete with storage underneath.
Moving forward, Bavaria went with putting the galley on the main deck making it easier to serve anything from hors d'oeuvres to full meals. Located to port, it features plenty of counter space, a two-burner electric stove, double basin sink, refrigerator and microwave below. In a nod to the German people's penchant for recycling, the trash receptacle is compartmentalized. Additional storage is both just before and right above the side windows. Ceiling height at the galley is a remarkable 7’7” (2.31 m).
Moving below decks, it’s exceptionally unique to find three staterooms in a vessel this size. But that is exactly what we have in the Virtess 420 Fly. The accommodations deck is accessed from a centerline companionway, and the first of two guest staterooms is immediately to starboard.This stateroom features a pair of single births and a filler cushion can easily convert them into a queen sized berth. Outside windows provide natural light and an opening portlight allows for ventilation. Overhead height runs from 5’6” (1.68 m) down to 4’8” (1.42 m). Over the inboard berth there’s 2’1” (.63 m) of space.
The master is located fully forward at the bow and as expected, hullside windows to port and starboard flank a queen sized island berth measuring 6’7” (2.01 m) front to rear by 4’10” (1.47 m) side to side. There's plenty of storage to the sides of the stateroom as well as in drawers underneath the berth. Just to the left of the entry door is a small cabinet with drawers and a vanity on top. Headroom at the entrance is 6’6” (2.01 m). The master head is to starboard and features a separate walk-in shower.
To port is another guest stateroom with split berths that can be converted into a single with the use of filler cushions. As with the starboard side berth, this one also benefits from hull side windows. However, the geometry of the main deck above creates an area of lower headroom in this stateroom. Some may view this as a negative, but we do not. In fact, it opens up possibilities.This not only makes an excellent stateroom for the kids, but if this boat were to be operated by a hired captain, this would make an excellent captain's cabin. The hullside berth can be used as a sitting area as it benefits from the more elevated headroom, while the opposite side could be converted into bookshelves and desk space.
Back out at the companionway, there’s a day head just to port. The stairs themselves can be lifted to reveal a large storage space that can house a top loading combination washer/drier ($1,890).
In order to save space, the stairs to the flying bridge are at a relatively steep angle. Normally this would be a problem, but Bavaria found a unique way to get around it. Each tread has a full step to one side, while opposite is a recessed area cut out to accommodate the leg as it climbs the stairs. It necessitates starting one's way up the ladder with the correct foot to be sure, but other than that it feels perfectly natural. Had the treads been the same depth all the way across, the shinbone would be hitting the tread of the next step up, making a very difficult transition indeed. This unique approach also allows the rising foot to make it to the next step unobstructed.
Once on the flying bridge, a comfortable entertainment venue is immediately to starboard in the form of a U-shaped settee, wrapping around a teak pedestal table. In the folded position, the table can slide from one side to the other making it easier to get in and out of the settee. Drink holders are built into the stainless steel support frame. With the table unfolded open, there is plenty of seating for six for dining.Aft and to port is an open-air galley with an electric grill ($973), a teak covered sink and an ice maker (or refrigerator) are now standard in the US market.
The flying bridge helm is mounted to port and the opening for the stairs leading to the cockpit also provides excellent sightlines to the stern when backing into a slip. This also provides for a full view of the port hand side of the boat. Engine controls and joystick still remain to the starboard side of the wheel. A pod type console has ample room for a 12” (30.5 cm) navigation display.
The lower helm is to starboard and provides excellent sightlines all around the boat, and certainly to the entire length of the starboard side. The digital engine controls are located on a flat panel to the starboard side with trim tab controls and the IPS joystick just ahead. The panel itself is a soft tone to eliminate glare. Most notably, however, is the lack of clutter from switches. A touchscreen panel, similar to an iPad, is located to port and is used to control all of the ships 12-V electrical functions and pumps. The 110-V panel is under the seat and to the side. Engine gauges are to either side of a center panel used to house a 10” (25.4 cm) multifunction display. Ahead is a massive single piece windshield with narrow mullions to the side that do little to impede visibility.
There are sidedecks to both port and starboard that can be optioned for teak decking ($8,288). Handrails along the side of the flybridge work in conjunction with the rail height beginning at 24" (61 cm), and increasing to 29” (73.7 cm) at the forward end. All cleats are 14” (35.56 cm). At the bow, a split rail allows for nose in docking. A quick windlass is mounted vertically to the deck. Controls for the windlass are at both helms, not at the bow, however a handheld remote control is included.
Standard power in the US is a pair of Volvo Penta 435-hp IPS600 engines. A credit is provided for those seeking a smaller engine package. Additional information can be provided by Bavaria Yachts USA.
This is certainly a nice performing boat. The efficiency of the IPS600 engines became clear as even at our full throttle rpm setting of 3490, we were burning a combined 44 gph while running at 32.4 kn. That gave us a range of 210 nautical miles. Certainly there's not much of a fuel penalty for running at full throttle, so in general, the cruise speed can be more dictated by the comfort level. With that being said however, the most economical speed came in at 3000 rpm, the same speed we ended up running at for comfort, and 25.3 kn. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 31.00 gph and increased the range to 232 nautical miles.
Handling was also excellent. We had relatively calm seas during our test off of Fort Lauderdale, but as usual, seas managed to build up as we were exiting the inlet and running through gave us some revealing characteristics. We found that plunging ahead at full throttle will certainly generate some pounding and that is to be expected anytime any vehicle goes this fast over speed bumps. However, with the speed pulled back to a more normal cruise the ride became much more comfortable. Now the bows were able to penetrate the waves rather than oppose them and the Virtess 420 Fly really started to show her true colors.In beam seas she was even more comfortable, remaining on a level keel and simply riding through the troughs with a level of grace that allowed us to pretty much put the throttle setting wherever we chose.Following seas were a little bit different. There was no wandering of the heading from the seas pushing the stern, but what we did experience was the exact opposite from the head sees. This time, when hitting a wave too fast, instead of driving up and over the wave, the narrow entry allowed the Virtess 420 Fly to penetrate through the wave. While there was always enough buoyancy to eliminate any concern for “stuffing” the bow it did have the effect of applying the brakes and reducing speed considerably. What we found, was that the better technique is to slow the boat and allow the bow more time to gain its buoyancy to travel up and over the forward wave. This made for a comfortable ride with the following seas with only a minimal speed penalty.She did seem to lean excessively in turns, but this is a characteristic of most IPS driven boats. They also turn slowly as the pods limit their throw at higher speeds to counter the effects of any heavy-handed captain, and certainly that of a test captain trying to push the parameters of the operational envelope.
Price of the Boat
The American edition has a base price of $765,938 delivered to Fort Lauderdale with full dealer prep and a full two-year bow to stern warranty included.The upgrade package includes a 110-V chilled air conditioning system at 55,000 BTU (32,000 BTU is standard), outlets in each cabin and ventilation for the windshield ($19,880).
Bavaria is relatively new to the American marketplace and as such some adaptations had to be made to the German way of thinking. In short, the boat had to be "Americanized". This means that features Americans take for granted are simply not desired in European models and thus, needed to be added as standard. For example, the American version has TVs in the salon and staterooms, air-conditioning throughout, and therefore more of the need for a generator… just to name a few items.With that said however, Americans can still benefit from some of the German engineering that comes with the boat. Remarkably high topsides give way to high ceilings inside the boat. The highly automated construction process results in a boat that exhibits no vibration underway and surprisingly low sound levels ranging from only 72 dB to a maximum of 84 at full throttle in the main salon. And frankly, those sound levels had more to do with the air-conditioning fans than the main engines.Overall, we were quite impressed with this boat from both a comfort level and an operational level. Because she is sold factory direct, to get a hands-on feel one needs to travel either to a boat show where she is being displayed or to the North American offices in Dania Florida. The trade-off, however, is an excellent boat at an exceptional value for the money.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Bavaria Virtess 420 Fly (2016-) is 37.3 mph (60 kph), burning 44.00 gallons per hour (gph) or 166.54 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Bavaria Virtess 420 Fly (2016-) is 29.1 mph (46.8 kph), and the boat gets 0.94 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.4 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 267 miles (429.69 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|2 Additional 3 years on major components|
Additional 3 years on major components
(It's quick and FREE!)