21 March, 2018
40 years of Bavaria Yachts
The entrepreneur Winfried Herrmann began building boats in the Franconian town of Giebelstadt in southern Germany. And this in an entirely new manner
He was the first in Germany to introduce a modern assembly line production to boatbuilding: ‘The days of handmade boats are numbered,’ he said at the time. In much the same way, he had already transformed his original company, the window production company ‘HeHa’ that he ran together with business partner Georg Haubner, from a simple workshop into an industrial type production unit for plastic windows. At the height of commercial success, the two asked themselves what else could be manufactured from plastic. Watersports was booming in those years. GRP had already established itself as the main boatbuilding material, but the majority of boats were made abroad and imported. Here, the two businessmen saw their chance.
At the ‘Interboot’ boat show, the completely new ‘Bavaria’ yachts were presented to the public for the first time. These boats met the contemporary taste but were also always a bit less expensive than the competitors. The boats became more and more developed over the coming years. Bavaria Yachts always employed the services of the best designers and experts and this is true to this day. Current examples of this are the large sailing yachts of the new C-Line that re-define the world of cruising yachts. Or the recently introduced motor yachts that combine luxury and economy. Not to forget the Bavaria catamarans that, with their ‘Open’-concept, are also setting new standards. Already in 1979, a new 5,000-square metre production facility for the yacht building was inaugurated. At the same time, the designer Axel Monhaupt was appointed as ‘house designer’. Soon, five boats per week were leaving the assembly line.
A lot when compared to traditional yacht-building but not so many as were still to come. In the 1980s, the yacht and charter agent Josef Meltl joined Bavaria Yachts and added valuable market expertise that was also instrumental for the successful entry into the charter market that was to follow very soon. Then, things developed at a fast pace. From 1992 on, J&J Design from Slovenia designed the new models. The design team that was still fresh and young at the time had nevertheless already made a name for itself with fast racing yachts. In 2000, Bavaria Yachts successfully launched their first motor-boats. Two years later, the yard was once more enlarged, from then 16,000 to now 71,000 square metres. By now, Bavaria Yachts was building 2,000 boats per year.
This was made possible by the sophisticated production. Just as one example: It was agreed with the suppliers that the engines would arrive unpacked, and with the gear-box already bolted on. There was no need to unpack and assemble the engines at the yard, where they were lifted straight into the boats and bolted down in place. The rational production developed by company founder Herrmann still is at the core of the company, but in recent years it has been considerably refined, for example by introducing the state-of-the-art vacuum infusion technology or the modular building of interiors. In this way, more individualized customer wishes can now be realized. Bavaria yachts today have come a long way since the early models: more individual and with much higher demands in terms of design, functionality, comfort and quality.