Completing the current three-boat line-up in the Bavaria SR range, the entry-level SR33 is hoping to build on the successes of its award-winning siblings, the SR36 and SR41. Featuring many of the clever ideas that brought the larger boats in the range such critical acclaim, the 33 brings her own personality with Marco Casali of Too Design penning her sleek and smart exterior.
The highlight of the main deck is the convertible stern dinette, which drops down to become a sun pad or creates a charming waterside dining spot with unbroken views out over the water. Below, there is a separate double cabin amidships with an open-plan forward double and a dinette, galley and large separate bathroom in between.
Engine options are plentiful and include diesel and petrol motors from both Mercruiser and Volvo, with a single diesel option coming down the line. It's rare that we get such challenging conditions to trial a boat in for a review but was the SR33 up to it? Read on to find out.
Bavaria SR33 Key Facts
- LOA 37.402ft
- Model Year 2023
- Cabins 1
- Max Speed 32 knots
- Status In Production
- Yacht Type Sports Yacht
- Use Type Weekending
Test & Review Video
Around the Marina
The SR33 is a small, relatively light boat (7.6 tonnes light) with no keel and quite tall topsides so it is susceptible to the effects of wind and tide. Thankfully, the twin sterndrives, bow thruster and optional joystick take the sting out of any potentially tricky berthing manoeuvres and make the SR33 a pretty friendly boat to handle at slow speed. If this is an upgrade from a single-engine boat then the intuitive joystick could be a good investment but, as good as modern sterndrive joysticks are, I would still want the bow thruster to give greater control over the bow in a beam breeze.
There is still a slight delay between inputs from the joystick and the boat moving in the required direction as the sterndrives just don't have the leverage of a pod drive boat and struggle to maintain control of the bow. Our test boat had the joystick fitted but I found it quicker and smoother to spin the sterndrives from lock-to-lock using the wheel and nudging both throttles in and out of gear. In calm conditions, you can use the throttles independently and get the boat to pivot almost on the spot but with a stiff breeze or running tide, you'll require more shove to keep the boat in position. The beauty of this setup is that you can use whichever controls suit the situation and conditions, whether that's the joystick or throttles and bow thruster.
You can't guarantee the weather during a sea trial but it's safe to say that conditions for our test in the Baltic Sea in northern Germany were challenging. The SR33 had to contend with a strong breeze and a steep 4-5ft (1.2-1.5m) chop with a horribly messy wave pattern. You would never choose to take a boat like this out in these conditions if you didn't have to but the little Bavaria stood up to them admirably. It wasn't a case of slicing through the chop at higher speed, it was all about pinning the throttles at about 12 knots and getting through it with spray showering over the top of the boat.
The driving position doesn't lend itself to this sort of transition speed and even tall skippers will need to stand for the best view forward. But working the throttles and using a good dose of trim tab to keep the hull slicing through the worst of the waves the plucky SR33 made confident progress through a nasty seaway.
The pair of four-cylinder Volvo Penta 300hp motors are good companions in such conditions. The torquey diesel engines have plenty of low-down grunt to help the boat out of deeper troughs and the fly-by-wire throttles provoke a quick response when you need to react quickly to a messy wave pattern. They are quite raucous, though. This wasn't helped by the awkward speed we had to maintain upwind and not quite being on the plane, but Bavaria could do with beefing up the insulation in the engine room to counter this. The GRP sunroof probably doesn't help here, creating more of an echo chamber for the noise to bounce around in than the canvas roof would. Suffice to say it wasn't really the conditions to have the sunroof open during our trial.
Downwind the SR33 comes alive. Unleashing all 600hp up to a top speed of 32 knots the boat relishes a following sea and the super agile sterndrives make it a delight to pilot through the waves and surf through the crests. The steering is well-weighted and responsive and the boat reacts positively to some hard lock, leaning over keenly and snapping back to the straight and narrow with poise. It's an enormously fun boat to drive and really rewarding to hand steer through a following sea.
The only thing that might stop the fun is the 500-litre fuel tank, which means at 22-25 knot cruising speed the range is around 160nm. For a full set of fuel figures, see the data panel below.
Builder Speed & Range Data
427 nm @ 6.2 knotseco
158 nm @ 21.6 knotscruise
134 nm @ 32.0 knotsmax
Bavaria SR33 version 2023. *Data supplied by the manufacturer.
View Full Test Results
It’s not easy to produce a 35ft sportscruiser with a hardtop and avoid a top-heavy look, as some of Bavaria’s older designs have demonstrated. They’ve always been big on volume and practicality but sometimes at the expense of style. Not here, though. The SR33 was drawn by Italian designer Marco Casali and it’s a really sweet-looking boat with a neatly raked wheelhouse and an attractive stretch of bow. It looks chunky up close and has a more pronounced freeboard than you might expect, though it’s well disguised and you’d have no idea that such a voluminous interior lay inside.
As you’ll see in the rivals section, there are some boats in this sector that forego side decks to deliver a wider cockpit but the SR33 has traditional symmetrical decks with access from both sides of the bathing platform, though it’s biased to port. There are a couple of sunroof options in the cockpit (neither are standard) with the choice between a solid GRP top, which our test boat had, or a canvas roof that opens to create a much wider aperture. Personally, I think I’d go for the latter as it gives a much wider opening and is likely to create less of an echo chamber for the engine noise.
Bavaria is a high-volume builder so building boats quickly and efficiently is key to its production model. The SR33 uses a hand-laid sandwich construction for both hull and superstructure and though it may not have the finesse and gloss of a Sea Ray or Galeon it's all solidly put together and neatly engineered. Some components feel a little bit lightweight in places but, as we discovered during the sea trial, it can withstand a fair bit of punishment. The interior, though solidly put together, feels a little sparse without the touch of an owner and would benefit from some personal effects to brighten it up.
The SR33 isn’t available with outboards, unlike some of its rivals in this sector, and you don’t buy a boat like this because of the fantastic engine room access. The layout and dimension restrictions mean you’re unlikely to have much space over the engines and you’ll be squeezing through a deck hatch to get to them. That said, once in, the SR33’s engine room it’s actually pretty good, especially the amount of space around the engines and the easy access to daily service items.
In this sector, there are a couple of schools of thought regarding the interior arrangement. Some go fully open plan, others have two separate cabins and there are a few boats that offer both options. The SR33 has a good compromise with an open-plan double berth forward, with a curtain for privacy, and a separate double cabin amidships.
This layout offers great flexibility and makes the space adaptable depending on how many people are on board. If it’s just a couple then the saloon and berth can become one large living area with the sleeping space amidships but with four on board, guests have the privacy of a separate cabin. There may be occasions where you miss the privacy of two separate cabins but unless you’re going to sleep four up regularly then the open-plan arrangement feels so much more spacious.
The dinette table drops down and can be topped with a cushion to create a more relaxed lounging area opposite where the TV is mounted if it’s specified. Bavaria says it’s not designed to be used as an extra berth but I bet it could be if it were needed, especially for kids.
Opposite, the galley doesn’t have any cooking facilities but there is a sink and fridge, the idea being that most of the cooking will be done on deck, supposedly. It’s an area loaded with cubbies, though, and storage is impressive throughout the accommodation. It does feel a bit sparse, though. Maybe it was the oak wood of our test boat (walnut is an option) but the colour of an owner’s possessions would do wonders down here.
There are no complaints about the space, though. Headroom in the saloon is well over 6ft (1.83m) and this feeling of light is bolstered by the natural light that is allowed to seep into the area. There are twin skylights in the ceiling and a decent run of windows with opening ports on either side. Air-conditioning is an option but with all the hatches and the companionway door open it should be easy enough to cool the area naturally, unless it’s a really hot, still day.
The only real place where headroom is compromised is over the berth in the amidships cabin but that’s pretty much unavoidable on a boat like this. The entranceway has well over 6ft but there’s only space for one person to get changed at a time. The small sofa is a handy spot to sit and take off shoes/socks and there’s a decent storage locker just above it. The berth is wide but a crawl-in affair, though it’s good to see repeaters for the cabin lights and a plug socket at the top end of the bed so you don’t have to shuffle out just to turn the lights off.
The bathroom is a decent size and its position means it can take full advantage of the headroom that’s been worked into the saloon. There is quite a tall lip on the door frame, which is all too easy to catch a toe on as you come in and out. The sink is separated from the toilet and shower by a door, so it’s not a wet room, but there’s no way of avoiding the toilet getting a soaking when the shower is in use.
It’s clear that some real thought has gone into the SR33’s helm design. The layout of the main controls is excellent with the throttles, joystick (if fitted) and remote control for the MFDs mounted on a moulding that stretches out beneath the skipper’s right arm. Adding the trim tab controls would be a good idea but the design means you can sit back in the (small) double helm seat with full support of the backrest and still reach the throttles and adjustable wheel.
The MFDs are touch screen but the remote dial allows you to flick between the screens and their functions without having to lean forward. The 12in ones we had on our test boat are an upgrade from the 7in standards and I would encourage this option to be ticked. The glass bridge installation looks the part, too. The Volvo Penta screen, which displays a plethora of engine information, is mounted flat behind the steering wheel and would be better placed on the lower dash, next to the windscreen wiper controls.
There’s lots of adjustment at the helm thanks to the adjustable wheel, seat bolster and footrest - though even tall skippers won’t be able to stand and poke their heads out of the sunroof. There is a side window, for quick communication and ventilation for when you don’t want to have the roof open. As good as the driving position is, most will still feel the need to stand as the boat gets over the hump but once she’s settled down the seated position is great. Any other gripes? The only storage is one cup holder, so some more cubby storage would be helpful but apart from that it’s a good setup.
This is where the SR33 gets clever. As standard, there is U-shaped seating at the stern but upgrade options include a large covered storage void with a sun pad on top or, the option I would choose, which is the aft dinette that converts into a sun pad by dropping the table. We’ve seen this layout on the larger SR models but it’s just as effective on the entry-level boat and creates a waterside terrace that will be a lovely spot to sit and take in the view. The conversion to a sun pad is really easy, too, with a single cushion that slips over the table top and a two-way backrest, which creates the space to stretch out.
If you like your water toys or want to store a (deflated) tender, the ‘boot’ option may be worth a look but even on the aft dinette version there are decent storage voids flanking the sun pad for ropes and a couple of fenders. The bathing platform is fixed, so a light tender will either have to be stowed on davits/chocks or you can stow a deflated one in the aft storage area if you choose it.
There is access up both sides of the transom but it’s much narrower to port, though this does allow you to head straight onto the port side deck from the bathing platform. The side decks aren’t all that wide but they have good toe rails and there are well-placed handles on the superstructure to help lever yourself forward.
The foredeck is given over to sunbathing space with a set of smart cushions that have plush headrests that can be added and removed. The area is flanked by rails with cup holders handily integrated into them. The anchor locker provides crucial deck storage as well as a space for the chain to pile into. It could be improved by segregating the chain from other items to avoid loose ends being pulled into the windlass and the lid has no ram or even a stay to hold it in place, so it could slam down in a swell.
Back to the cockpit and one of the compromises of having such useable side decks is that the walkway through the main deck feels slightly pinched, meaning it can be a bit awkward to squeeze past each other if two people meet in the middle. The wet bar is a really good size, though, and features the usual amenities including either a gas or electric cooktop, sink and fridge. Opposite is the main dinette, which is on a pair of fixed legs so can’t be adjusted for height, but is a really good size and along with the dinette aft means you could easily host eight for lunch.
The GRP sunroof is slick and well-engineered but, for me, it doesn’t open the cockpit enough and only really serves the helm and the seating on the opposite side. The optional canvas roof will likely make more of the area and allow you to open the dinette up to the sky when the weather suits.
The designers have been quite ambitious with the area opposite the helm but I’m not sure how well it works. They’ve created a small forward-facing navigator’s seat and a double-ended chaise longue with a backrest at its aft end and a pillow forward, the idea being it can be used for sunbathing with the roof open. For me, though, the seat is too small to be comfortable for long journeys and the chaise longue isn’t going to be a comfortable place to sit on the move if there is any form of chop. I’d prefer a proper double bench as you see on the Beneteau GT36 or Sea Ray 370.
The base price of the SR33 with twin 250hp Mercruiser petrol engines is €345,457 inc (19%) VAT (correct at time of writing) with our heavily loaded test boat coming in at €455,794 inc VAT. This price included some expensive options like the €50,000 upgrade to twin D4 300hp engines and €15,000 for the Aquamatic joystick, the €15,000 Comfort Package, bow thruster (€5,300), sunroof (€7,830) and 16,000BTU air-conditioning (€15,350) amongst other items.
Nearly €500,000 for our test boat's specification is a lot of money by anyone's standards but, in this sector, the SR33 still represents decent value for money. Many have enticing base prices but once the equipment needed to create a turn-key package has been added, the price tends to soar. There is an element of that with the SR33 but there are tweaks that can be made to the specification that could bring the price down a touch. The potential for a single diesel engine option is one of them. It's not available yet but Bavaria hopes to offer a single Volvo Penta D6 in the future (probably the 440hp or 480hp), which would likely be an efficient option with reasonable performance. Not to mention the extra space that would be created in the engine room and the halving of servicing costs.
Our Options & Pick
I think the single-engine option is worth investigating but for now, I'd go for the D4 300s as they're only a couple of grand more expensive than the other twin diesel option, Mercrsuiser 270hp V6s. The bow thruster is a must-have but the €15,000 joystick is probably surplus to requirements unless you dislike the idea of manoeuvring the boat with the throttles. The €15,000 Comfort Package adds lots of bits you'll want such as the wet bar fridge, electric toilet, foredeck sun pad, teak decking and an improved lighting package. No sunroof is standard but, for the reasons mentioned above, I'd go for the fabric one over the GRP version for a cost of €1,780. Another reason to go for it is that it's €6,000 cheaper than the GRP roof.
Trim tabs are a €2,150 option that you'll want to add and €9,180 on the twin 12in Simrad MFDs is well worth it. The aft dinette is €3,840 and, in my eyes, the option to go for unless you really need the added space of the €2,660 storage box. The camper cover is €2,870 but means you can fully enclose the cockpit.
Inside, the White Oak timber is a €2,440 option and though it brightens the interior up I think the standard walnut will look classier and feel warmer. Most owners will want the autonomy of a generator; here there is a choice between €24,000 6.4kW unit or you can pay €4,000 more for one with an 8kW output. If the 16,000BTU air-con (€15,350) is fitted then the larger capacity generator is a sensible addition.
This is a competitive sector but it's one where Bavaria is very much at home. The smart thing about the SR33 is that it appeals to both the heart and the head. Bavaria's eye on value on volume often made its boats a sound investment but by bringing in Marco Casali and adding some Italian style, the SR33 also appeals on a more emotional level. The cockpit is cleverly laid out, the interior is spacious (if a little sparse) and, as we found out first-hand, it punched above its weight at sea. It may not represent the value for money of Bavarias of old but if you're in the market for a boat like this the SR33 should certainly be part of the conversation.
Reasons to Buy
- Handsome lines
- Clever cockpit
- Impressive sea keeping
- Value for money
- Spacious interior
Things to Consider
- Sparse interior
- Base specification is quite basic
- Engine access
Rivals to Consider
For many, boats in this sector are a step up from a first boat or a day boat and a route to broadening cruising horizons and adventuring further afield. Let's see what the SR33 is up against.
There are boats in this sector that have open-plan lower deck layouts and others that have two separate cabins and the Beneteau Gran Turismo 36 is in the latter camp. Separate double cabins flank a lower saloon and galley with a separate bathroom that's shared between the two. The main deck layout features a sun pad aft and a dinette amidships. Cleverly, the wet bar is positioned to the aft end of the deck, which allows cooking smells to escape more easily and creates space for an extra run of seating opposite the main dinette. Having four forward-facing seats in front of the dashboard is a nice addition for when the boat is on passage, too. The Beneteau is one of a handful of boats in the sector that are available with inboard and outboard engines. With a starting price of €232,100 ex VAT (correct at the time of writing), it's good value, too.
The Sealine S335 is a great package that can be had as an open-cockpit sportscruiser or with an enclosed wheelhouse and upper saloon in the C335 guise. It too is available with inboard diesel engines or a pair of outboards. On deck, it has a pair of canvas sunroofs, one forward and one aft, which adds to the flexibility of the space. It's flexible below decks, too, where you can have it with or without a forward bulkhead depending on whether you would prefer a separate forward cabin or not. If you do opt for the open-plan version, there is a convertible dinette/double berth at the forward end, not a fixed double bed.
The Galeon 365 HTS is a handsome-looking cruiser built to impressively high standards. It combines an open aft deck with an enclosed deck saloon that sports a GRP sunroof, though the aperture is pretty small compared to those rivals with canvas roofs. That said, the layout does create two fully protected living areas and with the wet bar on deck usable in all weather there is more space below deck for lounging space. Alternatively, you can cut down the size of the dinette and have a larger bathroom, which is probably a good call on a boat of this size. There are petrol and diesel engine options available.
The Sea Ray 370 Sundancer does things its own way. The boat has no side decks, which means the cockpit stretches the full 3.66m (12ft) width of the beam, with access to the foredeck via a companionway to port of the helm. This also creates space for two separate dinettes and four forward-facing seats within the cockpit. Below deck, the high-quality interior is fully open plan with fixed double berths at either end and a dinette and small galley opposite a good-sized head compartment. Like the Beneteau and Sealine, the 370 is available with inboard and outboard engines. It will likely command a higher price than the others but it's a quality machine.
Specifications & Performance
Bavaria SR33 version 2023. *Data supplied by the manufacturer.
Test Engines Twin Volvo Penta D4-300
- Liters Per Hour
- Liters Per Mile
- Range (nm)