GRAND BANKS’ NEW DAWN

The Grand Banks 60 is a true, long-range cruis­ing boat, but she also has enough oomph to reach 30 knots.

Passage Maker - - Troubleshooter - BY CAPT. BILL PIKE

I’d been back in the good ol’ usa a week or so and was pretty well re­cov­ered from the jet lag I’d picked up dur­ing a whirl­wind trip to aus­tralia when an in­trigu­ing email from a guy named David berk­man pinged my lap­top. “I just sent this to rick- o af­ter bring­ing Anura 2 home,” the email said. “To say we were happy and im­pressed would be a big un­der­state­ment.” rick- o, I pre­sumed, was Mark richards, the builder of Anura 2, berk­man’s brand-new grand banks 6P, the first one to splash since the re­or­ga­ni­za­tion of grand banks un­der richards. I also fig­ured that what berk­man was happy about and im­pressed with was the way his new boat had per­formed dur­ing her maiden voy­age from Queens­land’s gold Coast some 4PP nau­ti­cal miles south to the big city of syd­ney. he’d en­thu­si­as­ti­cally talked about tak­ing his boat home sev­eral times while we’d sea tri­aled her on gold Coast’s broad­wa­ter Es­tu­ary.

I con­tin­ued to read, not­ing that the rest of the email—what berk­man had ini­tially sent to richards—pro­vided oo­dles of feed­back specifics on the 6P’s long-range traits and ca­pa­bil­i­ties. but be­yond the data points, boat-han­dling de­tails, and ref­er­ences to sea state, I also noted two ex­cep­tion­ally de­scrip­tive pas­sages that cap­tured the very essence of the new grand banks, thereby show­cas­ing not only her true mis­sion in life but the solid, salty ways she ful­fills it.

“af­ter reach­ing open wa­ters,” the first pas­sage be­gan, “we en­coun­tered a messy, moder­ate head sea. how­ever, the hull just re­fused to pound or slam despite our steady 2P knots over the short three-foot swell and chop. Then, grad­u­ally, as we cleared gold Coast and turned south, con­di­tions im­proved and we set­tled into run­ning at 1,56P rpm at around 19.5 knots at 116 liters (SP.6 u.s. gal­lonsI per hour.

“but the big­gest win for me was the seren­ity at this cruise speed. we mea­sured 62 dba which is whis­per quiet, es­pe­cially com­pared to my pre­vi­ous boat, which ran at 79 dba at 16 knots. This sort of thing points up the fact that there’s a great deal of dif­fer­ence be­tween en­joy­ing your pas­sage­mak­ing and ar­riv­ing fraz­zled and with ring­ing ears.

“as night fell,” the pas­sage con­cluded, “with thou­sands of hump­back whales mi­grat­ing north, we thought it pru­dent to pull the throttles back to 11 knots, a speed that re­quired a fuel burn of just SP liters (7.9 u.s. gal­lonsI per hour. The sea­keeper re­duces roll quite no­tice­ably at this speed. The re­sult of this si­lence and sta­bil­ity? a great night’s sleep while we made another 1PP nau­ti­cal miles.”

as I read the last sen­tence, I hes­i­tated briefly over the part about the great night’s sleep, re­mem­ber­ing a few of the won­der­ful pas­sage­mak­ing nights I’ve en­joyed my­self over the years, sleep­ing dream­lessly in air-con­di­tioned com­fort, with a re­as­sur­ing diesel rum­ble off in the dis­tance and a trusted com­rade on watch. al­though such me­mories cer­tainly har­mo­nized with the 6P’s sum and substance, I knew from ex­pe­ri­ence that the boat’s ca­pa­bil­i­ties went well be­yond the stead­fast cross­ing of oceans, a state of af­fairs that per­haps, in some way, pre­pared me for the hy­per­bolic na­ture of the sec­ond and fi­nal pas­sage.

“upon ap­proach­ing syd­ney,” berk­man wrote, “we opened up the throt­tle for just a bit of fun and dis­cussed the idea of bare­foot wa­ter ski­ing be­hind a grand banks—which would have been quite pos­si­ble, we all agreed.” what? I gotta ad­mit—a minute or two had to elapse be­fore I got to­tally com­fort­able with the no­tion that a trawler, even a com­par­a­tively light one like the 6P (with a feath­ery dis­place­ment of 6S,9PP poundsI, could do duty as a ski boat. but at length, I warmed to the idea. heck, hadn’t I driven the ves­sel my­self on the wide, gun-metal grey ex­panse of the broad­wa­ter just a week or so be­fore, charg­ing into hard-over turns at wide-open throt­tle and then zoom­ing out of them at an av­er­age top end of SP.5 knots? and hadn’t the sporty, hun­kered-down agility of the 6P ex­tracted from me upon at least two oc­ca­sions the un­bid­den but wholly joy­ous ex­cla­ma­tion: “whoooooeeeee!”

The 6P’s de­cid­edly un-trawler-es­que be­hav­ior comes from her rel­a­tively light dis­place­ment, low ver­ti­cal cen­ter of grav­ity (vCgI, and pre­cisely bal­anced lon­gi­tu­di­nal cen­ter of grav­ity (lCgI. her warped bot­tom is vir­tu­ally smooth, ex­cept for a mod­est set of chine flats and a short skeg. It doesn’t have any run­ning strakes, tun­nels, or steps and doesn’t need them to gen­er­ate lift and dy­namic sta­bil­ity. The boat’s hull is com­par­a­tively heavy, thanks to a con­ven­tional layup of hand-laid E-glass and vinylester resin, but her deck,

su­per­struc­ture, and hard­top are molded from light­weight, whol­ly­in­fused, gu­rit Core­cell-cored car­bon-fiber lam­i­nates.

In mak­ing what’s be­low the 6P’s rubrail hefty and what’s above much less so, the com­pany has com­bined the ef­fects of a very low vCg (which tends to boost trans­verse sta­bil­ity and re­duce skin-fric­tion-re­lated drag, es­pe­cially in turnsI with the se­ri­ous re­duc­tion in dis­place­ment that car­bon fiber brings.

bal­ance is another per­for­mance pro­moter. Dur­ing my sea trial I recorded a max­i­mum run­ning an­gle of just 2.5 de­grees, an at­ti­tude she achieved at 1,PPP rpm (11 knotsI and steadily main­tained over the re­main­der of the rpm reg­is­ter. her bal­anced lCg makes for solid, even ex­cep­tional, ef­fi­ciency and vir­tu­ally no—or at least very lit­tle—ob­fus­cat­ing, drag-pro­duc­ing, bow rise. In­deed, the 6P doesn’t so much come “out of the hole” when achiev­ing plane as rise bod­ily from her el­e­ment, with­out lift­ing her nose ap­pre­cia­bly.

and fi­nally, as if to con­firm berk­man’s proud ref­er­ences in the email to richards, I recorded sound lev­els on board the 6P dur­ing our sea trial that were sin­gu­larly whis­pery, thanks to a va­ri­ety of savvy en­gi­neer­ing strate­gies, which in­clude fir­ere­tar­dant and vi­bra­tion-at­ten­u­at­ing prod­ucts from py­rotek in the en­gine room (in­clud­ing De­di­damp tiles in way of the props and else­whereI; the vi­bra­tion-nix­ing struc­tural bond­ing of bulk­heads and fur­ni­ture to both hull and deck; and the noise-block­ing pres­ence of a sin­gle, mas­sive amid­ships fuel tank that sep­a­rates the ma­chin­ery spa­ces from the ac­com­mo­da­tion spa­ces far­ther for­ward. In­deed, we had to throt­tle up to 18 knots be­fore sound lev­els went be­yond 65 deci­bels, the level of nor­mal con­ver­sa­tion, in the master, vIp, and guest state­rooms.

GREY­HOUND of THE SEAS of course, when you get right down to it, the ocean­go­ing side of the 6P’s per­son­al­ity, which berk­man so po­et­i­cally de­scribed in his email, is darn near as im­pres­sive as her top speed. Throt­tle her two 9PP-horse­power volvo penta D1S-9PP diesel in­boards down to just 75P revs for a smooth-wa­ter cruis­ing speed of 9.5 knots—not bad for an ocean pas­sage in my opin­ion—and you’ve got your­self a range of roughly 2,97S nau­ti­cal miles, fac­tor­ing in a 1P per­cent re­serve. That’s more than enough to travel, say, from hal­i­fax, nova sco­tia, to plymouth, Eng­land, weather per­mit­ting. not bad for your typ­i­cal pas­sage­maker, eh? but for a SP-knot boat?

and the jour­ney would likely be a com­fort­able one. Con­sider, for a mo­ment, the kick-back fac­tor in­her­ent in our test boat’s ex­pan­sive, time-tested, cruise-wor­thy lay­out. It of­fered a broad, bright, invit­ing sa­loon on the main deck, with wrap­around win­dows (some elec­tri­cally re­tract­ingI, an op­tional gal­ley aft (with a big, flip-up win­dow for ven­ti­la­tion and cock­pit in­ter­ac­tiv­i­tyI, a sim­ple, easy-to-un­der­stand-and-use helm for­ward, and a large dinette with op­posed set­tee in be­tween. The bot­tom deck was equally cushy—in­stead of a raft of cramped and po­ten­tially un­us­able state­rooms, there were just three siz­able ones, an en suite master aft, a vIp (with ad­join­ing head, is­land berth, and a cou­ple of op­tional pull­man-type bunks I, and a guest twin.

and style? The burmese teak join­ery through­out our 6P was sweetly crafted and rem­i­nis­cent of the pre­cisely de­tailed grand banks trawlers of old. out­fit­ting was high end too, with top brands like Miele, franke, sile­stone, and sharp in the gal­ley and mem­ory-foam mat­tresses in the berthing ar­eas. The Crui­sair air-con­di­tion­ing sys­tem kept things taste­fully cool via a se­ries of sup­ply and re­turn plenums that were clev­erly blended into the decor. In the sa­loon, for ex­am­ple, a “false ceil­ing” con­cealed sup­ply plenums on the sides and a re­turn plenum on

the lead­ing edge. and the teak-cov­ered tran­som that’s fig­ured into the ca­chet of the grand banks mar­que for years and years— on our test boat it con­sisted of teak ve­neer (with solid-teak edges I se­cured in an in­fused car­bon-fiber tray with the boat’s name over­laid in pre­cisely cut, pol­ished stain­less-steel let­ters. The let­ters, by the way, were af­fixed with SM 52PP and slightly raised so that they can be re­moved via a care­ful saw­ing mo­tion with monofil­a­ment line. prac­ti­cal? yup.

AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST I’d be re­miss if I didn’t con­vey at this point the depth of the en­gi­neer­ing tech­nol­ogy that berk­man’s boat dis­played, a sub­ject that’s per­haps best il­lus­trated by a visit to her en­gine room. I paid mine on the morn­ing of our sea trial by sim­ply lift­ing a shock-ac­tu­ated, teak-paved hatch in the cock­pit, go­ing down a short lad­der into the lazarette (where the ma­chin­ery for the hypro­ma­rine elec­tric-over-hy­draulic steer­ing sys­tem re­sidesI, and then op­er­at­ing the dogs of a wa­ter­tight door.

I was a tad sur­prised at first—the en­gine room had only 5’ S” of head­room. but the fact that the cen­tral lon­seal-clad walk­way be­tween the D-1Ss was a full 5’ wide, sur­pass­ing any­thing I’ve seen be­fore in the 6P’s size range, helped me re­gain my com­po­sure. The el­bow­room out­board of the main en­gines stretched at least three feet or more to the hull­sides, which helped even more. lim­ited head­room in the 6P’s en­gine room, I sup­pose, is a small price to pay for a low, sleek pro­file, which im­parts a mod­ern touch to the faux-planked top­sides and an­gu­lar su­per­struc­tural shapes that have trade­marked grand banks since ol’ Tige was a pup.

seago­ing sim­plic­ity was the ob­vi­ous pri­or­ity. It took only mo­ments for me to iden­tify and lo­cate vir­tu­ally all ma­jor com­po­nents be­yond the en­gines and fish­er­panda genset—the reser­voirs for the seaTorque en­closed-shaft sys­tem; the lithium-ion house and agM-type en­gine-start bat­ter­ies (with smaller batts dou­bled up to do ser­vice for larger, heav­ier, more un­wieldy ver­sionsI; the electrics for the two stan­dard En­er­drive so­lar pan­els on the hard­top’s roof (which keep on­board re­frig­er­a­tion op­er­a­ble with­out as­sist from ei­ther genset or shore­power I; the com­plex­i­ties as­so­ci­ated with the op­tional, three-sta­tion Twin Disk EJs sys­tem; the groco safety sea­cocks (in lieu of crash pumps I; and the demis­ter-equipped ven­ti­la­tion boxes that pas­sively sup­ply fresh cool air for the mains via nat­u­ral con­vec­tive ac­tion.

as berk­man and I fin­ished up the sea trial of his boat to­gether that af­ter­noon in aus­tralia, he be­came un­char­ac­ter­is­ti­cally quiet when I asked him to take a minute and ex­plain what own­ing such a fast, sea­wor­thy, and ca­pa­ble ves­sel means to him. he re­mained quiet for some time, seem­ingly over­come with emo­tion. Then, fi­nally, he col­lected him­self, say­ing he’d try to ad­dress the mat­ter later, once he’d man­aged to fully un­der­stand and as­sim­i­late his great for­tune. as promised, an email ar­rived just a day or so be­fore the one I’ve al­ready ex­cerpted.

“I was lucky enough to be raised in a home by the shores of syd­ney har­bor,” berk­man said, “and my dad had me sail­ing and power­boat­ing from a very early age. so I have owned yachts and power­boats all my life and I am sure that the 6P is our ul­ti­mate ves­sel, ca­pa­ble of ocean cross­ings and also able to be com­fort­ably op­er­ated by my wife and [me] alone. our new boat is serenely quiet, spa­cious, and has great range and speed. she will al­low us to com­fort­ably travel to re­mote and beau­ti­ful places with fam­ily and friends—and that, I can as­sure you, has al­ways been my life­long dream.”

This Photo: Con­tem­po­rary ac­cents in the cab­i­netry fea­ture flat-fronted faces and clean, Euro­pean styling on the teak trim. Op­po­site: A prac­ti­cally laid out helm has a smaller-than-tra­di­tional GB wheel. Be­low: Athwartship berth in the master state­room.

Despite nu­mer­ous de­sign re­fine­ments, the new GB still main­tains the sig­na­ture teak tran­som.

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