The Beneteau Gran Turismo 38 may transport you farther than you think.
The first time I saw a Gran Turismo 38 pulling into the dock, she looked to me like something from a parallel universe. The boat’s general shape is similar to other express cruisers I’d seen, but when I really looked at her as she idled in, striking differences emerged. For one, the boat greeted us with a huge, gently curved windshield, not uncommon until I realized I was looking at a single uninterrupted pane of sharply raked glass.
Once I was aboard, the indoor-outdoor space made me feel like I could enjoy the day, but without getting the sun exposure many avoid nowadays. From the cockpit into the open saloon area, the deck is level all the way to the double-wide helm benchseat, where there’s a step up to the helm. The wheel felt compact and racy, and the Volvo controls were mounted on their own outcropping.
Just above the controls, there’s a joystick. I gave her a couple of jolts with the stick and the twin 300-horsepower Volvo D4 diesels matched to stern drives crabbed her out and we were on our way.
The boat’s Airstep hull pipes air from intakes in the hull sides and introduces it to a pad shaped with forward-facing, wedged steps in the aft third of the running surface. I surmised that since those steps would seem to be walls that water flowing along the running surface would have to surmount, they might steal speed. Chalk it up to a good reason why I don’t design boats, because the AirStep works.
The boat ran nicely in the two- to four-footers we saw that day, cutting through the chop and staying reasonably dry. And when I took her into a hardover turn, she cut a nice circle with a diameter of a little more than two boat lengths. She felt light, and at 8¼ tons she is for a boat of this type and size with twin diesels. And while she bobbed around a bit, I realized if she were mine I wouldn’t be floating around at idle—I’d be motoring to the next dock or anchorage, thankful for the light weight, ventilated hull, and optional twin 300-hp Volvo diesel stern drives that combined for a range of nearly 240 miles at a cruising speed of 29 knots.
When you’re done playing, you’ll be pleased that the sensible layout down below has a forward master stateroom in the bow, with an island berth and stowage beneath, with hanging lockers on both sides. Hullside windows and opening portholes add to livability, as does a hatch overhead. An amidships stateroom offers twin berths and hullside windows with opening ports. It’s a great place to crash for the night, and after all the fun you’ll have on this baby, you’ll have earned a good night’s sleep.