Grand Banks 85: Sea trials confirm long-distance cruising range
Tuesday, March 23, 2021 3:00 PM
Singapore, March 23, 2021 — Grand Banks Yachts Limited (GBY:SP)— It should come as no surprise to serious yachting enthusiasts: The company that pioneered the trawler-yacht niche more than 60 years ago, created the first production raised-pilothouse design in the 1960s, then launched the production Down East market, and recently proved how the unique V-Warp hull design can revolutionize the long-distance cruiser with the Grand Banks 60 and 54, is yet again putting the world on notice with the new Grand Banks 85. This extraordinary new design is an accumulation of advanced technology, superior design, and a company-wide passion for delivering the best yachts in their class.
Preliminary Sea Trial
The result of the preliminary sea trials of hull No. 1 are a testament to the company’s in-house engineering team and CEO Mark Richards’ relentless pursuit of yachting perfection. Grand Banks can confidently and enthusiastically reaffirm the objective of matching superior design and cutting-edge construction with world-renowned craftsmanship is the key to creating the next generation long-distance yacht.
“We had one primary objective above all when we started the 85,” said Richards. “To deliver the most fuel-efficient, high-speed, long-range cruiser of this size in the world. Period. It is incredibly exciting to tick this box right out of the gate on what is not yet even the official sea trial.”
Superior Construction Method
A key component of Richards’s build philosophy is to incorporate high-tech methods that focus on weight reduction, while simultaneously increasing the boat’s strength. Each hull employs vacuum-infused E-Glass and then carbon fiber in structural areas, cored with Corecell and Airex foam, stitched multi-axial fabric, and 100-percent vinylester resins. The entire deck and superstructure are also fully infused carbon fiber, which makes for stronger, lighter structures. This also keeps the weight low, a critical component of such a large cruising yacht meant for bluewater passages. The end result is an ocean-cruising 85-footer with a half-load displacement of 108,000 lbs. (49,000 kilos), which is remarkable in the marketplace, and a 1,000 nm range at fast cruising speed.
The attention to cutting-edge construction does not end with the hull and superstructure. All bulkheads and fixed furniture are structurally bonded to the hull and deck for superior strength and rigidity. That means berths, locker bases, galley cabinetry, heads, and more are all an integral part of the structure. They don’t sit in a liner rattling around or merely held in place with basic tabbing. Instead these components contribute to what amounts to a singular, robust grid that must be experienced in foul weather to be fully appreciated. As revealed during the initial sea trials, there is zero creaking or working of joinery and furniture, which will pay dividends in foul conditions.
Production Facility Investments
Before undertaking a comprehensive four-year renovation project at the 550,000-square-foot factory, Richards’s anticipated the 85 project and created a test pool within the factory to allow for full system testing and review prior to launching for the performance trials.
“The capital investment made in our yard is a vital element in building the next-level yachts that we do,” said Richards. “Because we own our factory free and clear, we’re able to create the manufacturing facility around the types of boat we want to build and our owners demand. The benefits of this approach are abundantly clear in the 85 and the buzz of excitement is contagious.”
Efficient Performance: Sea trial proves tank test projections
The Grand Banks warped-hull design is the manifestation of Richards’s focus on bringing a design approach from decades of competitive sailboat racing from the Admiral’s Cup, America’s Cup, and a record number of Sydney-Hobart victories. Three key elements to any successful high-performance sailboat design are wetted surface, reduction of energy required to move a boat through the water, and running attitude. Less weight requires less power to push the boat through the water, while a slippery hull design reduces wetted surface, and the design is intended to stay flat and keep the full waterline in the water. The hull design utilized by Grand Banks is a proven concept throughout the range. But the company wanted to reaffirm its performance projections and tank-tested the 85’s warped-plane hullform at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania and, where according to Richards, the results were truly exciting.
“In 2017, the GB60 took the company in a whole new direction in terms of appearance, performance, and construction techniques,” said Richards. “And after running the 85, I’m over the moon to state that yet again we’ve moved to an entirely different level.”
Hull No. 1 is powered with twin 1,000-hp Volvo IPS 1350s, while twin 1,000-hp, 6-cylinder D13s with straight shafts are available as a no-charge option. Additional engine options are being evaluated as well. Richards reported that, during the preliminary test, the 85 exceeded expectations. Like the entire range of the new generation of Grand Banks, the 85 ran flat and pushed very little water, demonstrating the superior efficiency of the V-shaped warped-hull design.
“To see what she could do in a real-world situation was a real treat,” Richards said. “We’re not surprised, of course, but that doesn’t make her performance any less thrilling to behold. She’s going to change the game.”
Stay tuned for an inside look at this stunning new flagship as Grand Banks continues the fit-out of this remarkable vessel and prepares for official sea trials in the coming months.