Yachting World just did a review of the VAr 37 (or Varianta 37) compared to the Bavaria and Jeanneau 37. The review has not yet been published, but the video review is interesting. You can see they did not think so much of the VAr 37 until they sailed her, and from the looks of it, she clearly outsailed other 2 (as I would expect!).
Update – got the review last week. Here are the details;
Yachting World September 2014 VAr 37 review, Page 45+ This was a review of 3 boats, a VAr 37, a Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 37 and a Bavaria Cruiser 37.
“However, the Varianta (VAr) soon won over all the testers on the water. With a solid Force 5 blowing down the Solent, she behaved obediently and tacked sharply.” “A large and seemingly dated single wheel provides light and excellent feel on the helm. She’s nimble, quick and a real pleasure to sail simply for sailing’s sake.”
“What immediately set the test boats apart was the difference in speed and pointing ability of the Varianta, particularily against the Bavaria. She smoked the other 2 yachts upwind, despite having a fixed prop – we had to keep luffing up to let the other 2 catch up for the benefit of the photographer.”
“The Varianta (VAr) was easily the most rewarding boat to sail, not because she felt like a raceboat, but because she was so well-balanced, so light on the helm and so easy to feel on the wheel.”
They made some rather odd comments however, so I responded with the following letter to the editor. The editor agreed that I had some good points, and will publish a cut down version.
Letter to the Editor,
Comparisons to other boat under sail is very useful, as you did with your review of the Varianta 37 in the September 2014 issue. I am thankful you conduct such reviews, but I would expect more thoughtful analysis from your testers.
I was for many years the US importer for Contest Yachts from Holland, and have visited over 50 boatyards. I was the Metro NY Hanse dealer for 6 years to 2012, and have sailed my 2006 Hanse 400 over 30,000 offshore miles with 6 trips to the Caribbean and back. I also make sailboat hardware (the Dutchman Flaking System and Boom Brake etc) and run the largest Sailing School in CT. I have many offshore passages and races to my credit, including the 2000 Ostar, when I was the only American to finish. After inspecting the Varianta’s in production at the Hanse Group Yard in January 2014, I signed on to be the US Agent for this line (VArYachts.com)
From the start, the reviewers were critical of the Varianta. “The design is old and consequently she looks dated… is a good example. The design is from 2006 which is surely not old. How exactly has the design for a family racer cruiser advanced since then? Are hard chines or portlights in the hull really that important vs things like an excellent design, lots of sail area, and a high end rudder bearing system? Furthermore, it’s hard to find someone who thinks she looks dated. Clean and elegant will always be in style.
The reviewers were negative on the storage. Because the VAr 37 galley is not pushed out to the hull sides, she has more galley storage than most other boats. The upper cabinets measure 10″ high x 11.4″ deep x 21.5″ wide x 3, for a total of 4.3 cubic feet of storage, or 25cm high x 29cm deep x 55cm wide x 3, for a total of .123 cubic meters of storage. The aft lower cabinet has 2 separated spaces, both with high fiddles, measuring 22″ wide x 12″ high x 12″ deep, and 22 wide x 15″ high x 21″ deep, for 5.8 cubic feet of storage space. The middle cabinet measures 20″ wide x 11 high x 14″ deep. The forward cabinet measures 18″ wide x 12″ high x 8″ deep. There is additional shelf space above or outboard of all the lockers and a deep shelf 65″ wide x 12″ high x 4″ deep just below the upper cabinets. What production 37 sailing yacht has more storage? A fanny strap is of course an easy and needed solution to starboard tack cooking, which far too few yachts have. All the cabinets have excellent fiddles btw and can be opened on either tack. The Varianta also has excellent access to all the areas under the berths, so plastic bins can be used to store lots of gear. The ability to store duffel and food bags in the outboard shelf is an astonishingly sensible and efficient method, and keeps the interior looking tidy with a large crew.
You noted that she was “built to a good standard, with frames and bulkheads laminated in”. Of course, most production boats do not bother with laminating in anything. The Varianta has more tabbed or laminated in bulkheads than the other boats in the test with the largest keel bolts, a stronger structure, etc. which contributes to her solid feeling and performance, even when sailing much faster than the other boats, as she did. The other boats used cheaper, glued in grids and bulkheads. The Varianta 37 has six 33 mm diameter keel bolts, one 30 mm bolts and one 24 mm bolt. These keel bolts are over 80% larger than similar boats. I would think your readers would appreciate knowing which boats have oversized keel connections, given some recent and not so recent incidents.
What really blew me away was when you compared her to a cheap Malaysian car, saying you can’t help having doubts in the longer term. What special doubts should one have when buying a boat designed by one of the leading NA firms in the world and built by what I believe is the second largest sailing yacht builder in the world, known for rugged boats? Note that several Varinata’s are owned by Hanse Group personel and associates. Anyone who knows boats appreciates where Hanse has put the money in this boat. Her interior is made of high quality Marine Plywood, and because laminate surfaces are so durable (far more durable than any varnished interior), she probably will look much better in 20 years than most competitors.
The simple interior of the Varianta is not for everyone, but Yachting World reviews should be based on facts, not unsupportable or incorrect opinions. There are very few new yachts one can successfully and enjoyably race offshore, then go on a cruise with the family or have a fun daysail. Your review did a good job of conveying the importance of sailing performance, which I commend you for, but by critizing the Varianta as you did, you have done your readers a disservice.
Martin Van Breems