Let’s talk numbers—big-time numbers. During a trip to Australia last year to sea trial the new Grand Banks 60, I recorded a notebook full of test data that was pretty amazing. And although the owner of our test boat, David Berkman, was on board during the trial, along with five other Australians, all of them uproariously ganged up in the wheelhouse, I’m confident that, despite a few distractions, all the speed, fuel-burn, sound, and other values I recorded are spot-on.
Here’s the essence of what I’m getting at. Consider, for a moment, the fact that at 9.5 knots, while turning just 750 revs and factoring in a fuel reserve of 10 percent, the 60 has a range of 2,973 nautical miles. Now this is a number worthy of a full-displacement trawler doing hull speed, for sure. But for a vessel capable of achieving a lusty top end of 30.5 knots? Heck, it’s radical and, based on a perusal of test reports for comparable vessels in Power & Motoryacht, it’s also singular.
Just imagine. On the one hand, the new GB 60 is capable of sporty speeds that are realistically useful under most offshore conditions. But on the other, with some cooperative weather and a modest throttle-back, she offers enough range to travel from, say, Halifax, Nova Scotia to Plymouth, England, in a little over 10 days—in luxurious, varnished-teak comfort!
A smooth, warped running surface is the key to all this. Except for a chine flat that extends from the 60’s bustle all the way forward to her stem, there are virtually no bottom augmentations. No running strakes, no tunnels, no steps, nothing to engender drag or turbulence outside of a short skeg and some standard-issue straight-shaft running gear. Moreover, the entry is fine but transitions, via a steady reduction in deadrise (to a mere 8 degrees at the transom), into a series of virtually flat, lift-producing after sections, the point being to keep the boat’s running surface in the water at speed, not set it to slicing the water in knife-like, deep-V fashion.
Of course, there are other performance-enhancing factors, not least of them being construction. While the hull is conventionally hand-laid using E-glass and vinylester resin, the boat’s deck, superstructure, and hardtop are composed of much lighter vinylester-resin-infused, Gurit Corecell-cored carbon fiber. The point is to produce a very low vertical center of gravity (VCG), a very high level of transverse stability, and speeds that are fast and super-efficient, thanks to an ethereal displacement.
And fun. That was my take on the driving experience. Because the 60’s on-plane running attitudes were so shallow, hardover turns via the electric-over-hydraulic steering system turned out to be so sporty that I was constrained to delightedly exclaim, “Whooooeeeeee!” at least twice.
Once I’d finished up with our open-water testing, we returned to our marina where I examined the 60’s interior. The layout was generally conventional, with a saloon/galley/helm station on the main deck, a three-stateroom-two-head accommodation below, and a flybridge up top. There were some nifty specifics, however, including a clever “false ceiling” in the salon that hides the air-conditioning plenums and, in the engine room, extraordinary spaciousness around the mains and a ventilation system that employs simple convective currents, not electric blowers.
My opinion at day’s end? Thanks to exceptional performances at both high and low speeds, some very high-tech construction, and an out-of-the-box running surface, the Grand Banks 60 takes its semi-displacement, trawlerish roots and evolves them smack-dab into the midst of the 21st Century. — Capt. Bill Pike
DISPL.: 63,900 lb.
FUEL: 1,530 gal.
WATER: 370 gal.
TEST POWER: 2/900-hp Volvo Penta D13-900 diesel inboards
PRICE (TEST POWER): $3,360,000