Bluewater cruising on Bavaria Yachts

13 November 2023

Bavaria Yachts have a long history with the ARC. The very first Bavaria to take part in the ARC was ‘Katinka’, a Bavaria 42, back in 1993. They crossed from Las Palmas to Saint Lucia in 21 days, 21 hours and 47 minutes. The following year there were two Bavaria yachts, and by 2010 there were 10. In the 2023 ARC rally fleet, there are five taking part from the German boat builder: ‘Kaperen’ a 2016 Bavaria Cruiser 37, ‘Graptolite’ a 2002 Bavaria 44, ‘Wilma’ a 2018 Bavaria Cruiser 46, and two Bavaria Cruiser 51s – ‘Mola’ launched in 2019, and ‘Karibu’ launched in 2022.


Bavaria Yachts were founded in Germany in 1978, and are popular bluewater cruisers due to their generous interior volume. Over the years, Bavaria’s have appeared in both the ARC Racing Division, as charter boats with professional crew and amateur adventurers, as well as in the Cruising Division with families onboard.

One of this year’s entrants, ‘Graptolite’, a Bavaria 44 was purchased by Martyn in 2004. A highly experienced bluewater cruiser, with over 50,000 nautical miles logged, Martyn first completed the ARC with ‘Graptolite’ in 2007, in 19 days, 20 hours, and 47 minutes. She then went on to be part of the first ever World ARC fleet back in 2008.

When I bought ‘Graptolite’, the salesman said, ‘make sure you use it’ and I didn’t for a couple of years, but then I saw the first World ARC was about to set off and thought that it seemed a good use for this boat!

After nearly 20 years of ownership, ‘Graptolite’ has recently completed a major refit. The ample locker space is now being utilised to house air conditioning units. They have also installed bow thrusters and replaced the generator and batteries, as well as updating all their navigation equipment onboard.

Martyn has returned to complete the 2023 ARC, partly due to encouragement from his wife, Heike, who has yet to cross the Atlantic onboard. The couple first met when Heike joined as part of ‘Graptolite’s’ crew in the 2008 World ARC where she sailed from Galapagos to Australia, rejoining in Cyprus. They married a few years later!

Martyn commented: “It has been a life-changing boat really, a life-changing trip!