OFF TO THE RACES

Palm Beach’s GT50 is the road­ster ver­sion of its tried-and-true for­mula.

Yachting - - CURRENTS - by kevin koenig

Palm beach has made a name for it­self build­ing smooth-rid­ing, ef­fi­ciently de­signed, Downeast-style cruis­ers that can tackle a se­away. But un­til now, the com­pany had skewed to­ward tra­di­tion, with clas­sic lines and speeds that, while run­ning in the jaunty 30-knot range, were not nec­es­sar­ily mak­ing eye­balls pop. ¶ That changes this month at the Fort Lauderdale In­ter­na­tional Boat Show, where Palm Beach plans to de­but its GT50 Ex­press, the first in its sport-boat-in­spired GT se­ries (a GT50 Open is sched­uled to de­but this win­ter in Ger­many). ¶ The GT50, with a fluid, flow­ing pro­file, re­port­edly tops out at 42 knots thanks, in part, to twin 600 hp Volvo Penta IPS800s. The yacht is said to cruise at a none-too-shabby 35 knots while the en­gines burn 40 gal­lons per hour. Ease the throt­tle back to 25 knots, and those Volvo Pen­tas con­sume 24 gal­lons per hour, ac­cord­ing to the

builder’s test data. ¶ The ves­sel’s speed and ef­fi­ciency can be at­trib­uted largely to two fac­tors: First, Palm Beach fo­cused on re­duc­ing the GT50’s weight. The hull is fully in­fused vinylester and cored E-glass in con­struc­tion. This model (and fu­ture ones) also has a car­bon­fiber su­per­struc­ture that places her se­curely in the ban­tamweight divi­sion at 28,660 pounds dry while en­hanc­ing the struc­ture’s rigid­ity. The light­weight ma­te­rial up top also helps lower the yacht’s cen­ter of grav­ity, aid­ing in sta­bil­ity. ¶ The sec­ond fac­tor in the GT50’s per­for­mance num­bers is her hull form. Palm Beach CEO Marc Richards be­lieves in rac­ing-sail­boat-in­spired hull de­signs. With a su­per-fine en­try and a se­ries of dead­rise vari­ances, the GT50’s hull form is built for the yacht to get on plane with an even at­ti­tude (see: no bow rise). The boat is de­signed not to climb or por­poise in a se­away. She’s made to slice it. ¶ The yacht also has a car­bon-fiber helm sta­tion, an ac­com­mo­da­tions level with wood­work op­tions in­clud­ing wenge, teak and oak, and a cock­pit with twin L-shaped set­tees, a re­frig­er­a­tor and an ice maker. ¶ Palm Beach has ad­di­tional plans for the GT se­ries, with a 60 slated for next fall that’s pro­jected to top 50 knots, and a 70-footer on the draw­ing boards to pre­miere af­ter that. ¶ Per­haps no one would have pre­dicted that Palm Beach would have gone down the sport-boat road, but then again, this is a com­pany that has al­ways blazed its own trail. And pre­dic­tions may be best left to those mired in tra­di­tion. Take the next step: palm­beach­mo­to­ry­achts.com

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