Grand Banks 54: A revolution in fuel-efficient performance cruising
Thursday, September 10, 2020 11:30 AM
For sixty years, Grand Banks has been the standard bearer for a lifestyle of luxury on the water. GB54, the latest addition to the range, honors every moment of that heritage but embraces modern design, materials and technology to deliver the best-in-class performance characteristics. With a semi-displacement hull that owes its inspiration to ocean racing yachts, the GB54 offers an unbeatable combination of speed, comfort and efficiency. In short the GB54 is truly the reinvention of an icon being an evolution in style and a revolution in performance.
Premium on Performance and Versatility
Any discussion of the re-engineered Grand Banks must begin with its hull and performance characteristics. The new Grand Banks hull form provides a stable platform that is both safe and comfortable in all sea states, while still offering exceptional performance numbers at any speed.
Starting with the low-end of 10 knots running on a pair of 725-horsepower Volvo Penta D11s, expect a modest fuel burn of 7 gallons per hour and a range exceeding 1200 nautical miles. At the upper end, but well shy of wide-open throttle, the yacht burns just 57 gallons (216 litres) per hour cruising at 25 knots.
“The new Grand Banks 54 is an incredibly versatile platform, with quality and performance second to none. It encapsulates our commitment to building the ultimate yachts on the water today, and with our focus on fuel-efficiency and sustainability, I think it will come to define what is expected of yachting in the years to come,” says Mark Richards, CEO of Grand Banks. “Driven in large part from my experience and involvement in high-end sail racing – from the America’s Cup to the Sydney To Hobart – and the tacit knowledge and passion of our team at the factory yards, we’ve worked really hard to ensure our build techniques, designs and material selection are cutting-edge.”
HIGH-TECH, HIGH STRENGTH
Like her big sister, the GB54 also features advanced composite construction techniques, including a fully infused fiberglass hull and infused carbon fiber decks and superstructure. The weight savings moves the yacht’s vertical center of gravity lower, providing the yacht increased stability and comfort at sea. For extra strength and hull rigidity, a fully cored structure is constructed using SAN Corecell PVC linear closed cell foam in select areas, sandwiched between skins of stitched multi-axial e-glass which is then bonded with vinylester epoxy resin. This is supported by infused composite panels in a robust grid system.
Discussing the more technical side of the GB54’s construction, Mark continued “We’ve moved to infused carbon fiber from the deck up, using the highest quality vinylester resin available to ensure the durability of our yachts. We start with our unique hull shape that we know performs, and then ensure that we balance the VCG and LCG throughout the vessel to keep the weight low and centered. You can’t argue with physics, but you can use it to your advantage.”
That sure-footed quality is formed from Richards’ accumulated design experience that boasts an acclaimed wave-slicing forefoot, a hull that stays in the water rather than pounds through it, which is complemented by the smart use of high-tech materials and weight-saving construction techniques. Even the Volvo Penta powerplant was specifically paired with the GB54 because it offers excellent low-end torque as well as low sound and vibration levels. All of these characteristics combine to achieve a quieter, more pleasant ride for short or long cruises.
BUILT FOR CRUISERS, INSIDE AND OUT
The first hull of the GB54 features a two-stateroom, galley-down layout in its standard configuration. Owners will have the option to bring the galley up to the salon which would add a third stateroom on the accommodations level. As with all newer Grand Banks, interior design is contemporary without trending modern, blending a warm color palette and fabrics that complement the company’s signature teak joinery.
“A yacht that can cruise efficiently for a thousand nautical miles should have an interior suited to the task as well,” says Mark Richards, CEO of Grand Banks. “Just as the hull is built both for long passages and shorter jaunts, so the interior can welcome family and friends aboard in comfort, for the day, the weekend, or the month. There’s plenty of storage, and we’ve designed the layouts to be easy to get around – The cockpit and salon are a single step apart, and the accommodations level is just 3 steps down from the salon. Easy, comfortable, and enjoyable; that’s the name of the game.”
Both layouts benefit from a large salon seating area with an L-shaped settee to port, served by a versatile dining table. This settee can double as a watch berth during a night passage. Opposite is a pair of loveseats in a fore-and-aft arrangement, suitable for a pair of couples, served by a cocktail table between. From the salon, cockpit access is through a centerline door, where a transom settee welcomes alfresco dining. Stairs on the starboard side of the cockpit lead to the flybridge, where a boat deck aft supports a standard tender and davit. The upper helm station offers standard helm and companion seats while an L-shaped settee and table can comfortably seat 6 additional guests.
The two-stateroom layout has a galley down and features a starboard master stateroom amidships. The galley is just a few steps down the companionway from the main deck. Located to port, the galley has an atrium-like feel beneath the raked windshield, creating an airy space with natural light for the chef. The master has a private head with a walk-in shower and a dressing area with a hanging locker and enough stowage for extended cruising. A forward guest stateroom has use of a Jack-and-Jill head, located to port, which also serves as the boat’s day head.
The three-stateroom layout places the galley on the main deck on the port side, opposite the helm. The master is located in the bow, with a private head to port. A pair of double guest staterooms are amidships in a side-by-side configuration, separated by the centerline passageway. The starboard guest stateroom has private access to the second head, which is shared through passageway access with the second guest stateroom to port. This second head also serves as a day head in the three-stateroom configuration.
SAFETY & EQUIPMENT
Like all Grand Banks-built yachts, safety at sea is an essential design consideration. On the GB54, safety starts with high bulwarks that wrap around from midship to midship around the aft deck, and protection from the elements includes a covered cockpit with a flybridge overhang as well as covered side decks. The GB54’s design maximizes flexibility for owners and crew allowing owners the ability to handle the vessel as a couple or even single-handed when appropriate. Visibility from the helm, a starboard-side helm door, and uncluttered flow from the helm stations to the deck maximize ease of operation, whether at the dock, catching a mooring, or dropping anchor.
Adding to the ease of flow, the main deck is flush from the cockpit through to the stairs that connect the two levels, with the accommodations level only three steps down from the saloon.
Highlights of the standard equipment list include a 15-kW generator, reverse-cycle air conditioning, an entertainment center, a refrigerator and freezer, a 10-foot tender with 30-horsepower outboard and a davit installed on the boat deck. All canvas is fitted to the owner’s specifications prior to shipment. The most significant item left to owner’s discretion is a choice of compatible navigation electronics.