Here's something I recently wrote up about the 2019 Bali 4.1 for another couple who were interested in our charter experience:
We recently spent 4 nights chartering a 2019 Bali 4.1 from Dream Yachts/Navtours in the Exumas
. This boat was a surprise favorite for us at the Miami Boat Show
this year and we were anxious to see how she would do away from the dock
. Here are some of our thoughts about our experience on this beautiful boat.
Like many cats in her class, she’s not going to win any records for speed under sail, (6 knots in a 15 knot
beam reach) but she performed pretty well overall for what many may deem to be just a floating condo. She did well motor-sailing, too, with efficient fuel consumption
(roughly one gallon an hour at 2200 RPM
on two 45hp Yanmar
is extremely responsive, to the point where it took us a while to get used to handling her . I wasn’t accustomed to having only a slight touch of the wheel
cause the boat to change course pretty radically.
I have seen criticism of how high the boom is on this boat, but my 6’3 husband had no trouble working it on the coach roof. Shorter folks might. I didn’t work
the boom and assess it myself. Obviously, in any weather
or seaway working the boom is a risk, and all should wear a life jacket or harness as you risk a steep 12-foot fall overboard
- there is no room for error on the boom or working the mast
on this Bali.
station is very high up and you cannot access it directly from the cockpit
. This would make it challenging in bad weather and also when trying to communicate with those in the cockpit. Getting up and down from helm station can be challenging in wet conditions or a rough seaway. Again, proper footwear and safety gear
is important when offshore
as any misstep likely means a fall over board. A positive note about the high helm station on the starboard side: at 5’4 I can see all the way forward to the port quarter from the helm station, which I can’t do on other cats I’ve toured or chartered of this size. Additionally, there is a fabulous lounge area adjacent to the helm station which allows the person keeping you company on watch to relax comfortably.
The version we chartered did not have any additional protection from the weather at the helm station besides the soft bimini
top. Adding a proper enclosure is a must for a long-term cruiser. Furthermore, there are no lights on the steps leading up to the helm station and that could create a risk operating her alone at night.
The model we chartered did not have any sort of radio
at the outside helm station - only at the navigation
table inside at the nav station, so a handheld VHF
was necessary topside while underway. The Raymarine
chart plotter and auto-pilot electronics
at the helm station were very nice and worked well.
The boat layout and deck camber were good and she generally drains nicely when taking water over the deck.
davit works well and the dinghy
was snug as we transited. However,*based on where the line for the davit is (lead to a power winch
at the helm station,) it takes two people to raise and lower the dinghy for proper visibility and safety
. We don’t feel this would be ideal for the long-term cruising.
I like the solid foredeck as I have an easier time walking on it than I do on a traditional trampoline. And you can’t beat the enormous lounging area that the hard forward deck creates. The cushions
are very comfortable too.*
Sadly, Bali has chosen to emboss their brand name in middle of the transom so you can’t easily put your own boat name there without an awkward pause in the middle of longer boat names
The factory swim ladder must be made for tiny children
. It is very narrow and poorly designed such that it was hard for me to get out of the water (I’m not skinny or young) and it was impossible for me to use to try to get into the water. Additionally, there was no swim ladder on the other side of the transom.
We would add additional handholds at various points on the outside of the boat. There isn’t much to hold onto in a seaway.
My tall husband thought the engine
space would be easy to work
in. The forward locker where the anchor
is stowed can easily be accessed by a tall person as well. However, the locker door hinges should have a piston on them as they won’t stay up on their own. It’s not practical to require two people to hold the anchor locker
The biggest negative is the anchor which is very difficult to manipulate with just one person based on its location (in the forward locker above the nacelle) and the inability to see it in action due to the lack of the trampoline to look through up forward. If you were going to pick up a mooring
, you would need to add a bridle
up forward and a very long boat hook to rig the mooring
on the bow.
Shockingly, two fractured battens came out of the mainsail
while we were making passages. One fell out and bounced off the deck, landing in the water and we removed the other as it looked shredded when we inspected it. We don’t know if that is a sail design flaw or if something had been mishandled since the owner took possession.
The Bali we chartered did not have a table installed at the settee up forward which we were originally sort of disappointed about, but, ultimately, we were pleased with the extra walking room. It would be easy to fall on to that table in rough conditions.*
Now for the interior
. Wow! Just beautiful. Light and airy. So much room to relax and things are very well laid out. Plenty of room for 6 adults onboard during this charter. The stove
both worked well. There were enough (AC) plugs from the inverter
for everyone’s electronics
, though no plugs in the berths for charging
table is really large and could easily accommodate spreading out paper charts
on the boat is amazing. That being said, some of storage
under the floorboards in the hulls wasn’t totally dry when we got onboard, but maybe that was due to the boat having been cleaned just before we started the charter.
has lots of room, but no means of bracing yourself in a swell. The fridge and freezer
are quite large and kept their temperature nicely. However, the fridge door needs some kind of mechanism to keep it from slamming into the person sitting at the small settee in the salon
The number of windows on the boat is probably the best in this class and provide great views from the nav station, galley
, salon and just about everywhere on the boat. The enormous window in the galley, the garage door and large side windows adjacent to the garage door provide amazing cross air flow. One of my favorite features is the large window that slides all the way down, allowing you to reach out from the galley to the settee in the forward part of the boat. Not only does it greatly increase the circulation, but it’s perfect for talking to friends or passing sundowners and snacks. Overall, the ventilation in the galley/salon is really exceptional. But there are no fans installed in the main cabin
area which was something we’ve seen on every other cat we’ve chartered.
I’m not the first person to question the strength and water tightness of the garage door and how it would hold up over time, but we observed no issues during our charter (which included more than one blowing thunderstorm). Personally, our travel plans would probably not take us into big seas crossing an ocean (where the garage door could be a risk). But it’s still a question in our mind.
The forward-facing Nav station was well set-up. But when standing behind the nav station on the starboard side of the interior
of the boat, it feels like you could easily fall down the companionway
to the two cabins below. These steps also need a second handhold to provide more safely get up and down.
The beds and cabins were very comfortable. The bed
height was*a little tall for me at 5’4, but I could still get in it. I can see the appeal of having a bed
that’s an island style (on a different boat), allowing you to get on the bed from somewhere other than the very end of it.
We loved the large separate shower
in the master hull head
. It’s so nice to shower
on a boat without having to get everything else in the rest of the head wet.* The owner’s hull’s medicine cabinet door slams into the bulkhead but something as simple as a felt dot on the bulkhead would probably be sufficient to reduce noise
and possible scratching when the door swings open. The ventilation could have been better in the heads. I wish the hatch
above the owner’s head was bigger. Also, I had a hard time raising it all the way up from inside due to my height. I would consider getting a 3/2 cabin/head setup as the 2 heads in the guest’s hull
were quite small.
This Bali 4.1 did not have gen set or a/c. It was very hot and sticky the first night as it was raining, but the fan in the master hull was strong and worked well. If living in the tropics, A/C would be very desirable in the cabins given the poor natural ventilation and no overhead hatches in the master hull.
In short, we really liked this boat and would consider buying
one to live aboard, but we want to see if Bali’s competitors offer enough features which would prevent us from forgiving Bali’s short-sighted anchor design and the fact that you have to leave the cockpit to get to the helm station (a major safety concern while offshore).
I’m happy to answer any questions about our experience. Cheers!