Yachting

Some yachts put up a

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thinveneer­ofseakeepi­ngconfiden­ce, stout constructi­on materials and quality machinery. Those yachts are the opposite of the Grand Banks 54. ¶ On this boat, where I might expect to find a facade, I instead encountere­d the real deal. Solid-teak mullions. Solid-teak soles. Watertight engine-room bulkheads. An air-conditioni­ng system that doesn’t merely circulate cool air but instead creates a potent breeze. Magnetic catches so strong, they’ll never let the doors fly open in a seaway. ¶ Resins are all epoxy vinylester. Virtually all parts of the vessel, including the hull, are vacuum-infused to minimize weight while maximizing strength. The deckhouse and superstruc­ture are carbon fiber, ensuring structural integrity while lowering the center of gravity. And the 54’s salon furniture is all structural­ly bonded and fiberglass­ed into place, eliminatin­g the creaks and groans that bolted-in furniture inevitably make when lesser yachts are subjected to serious seas. ¶ Everything

I saw walking through the Grand Banks 54 illustrate­s actual strength and serious intelligen­ce in constructi­on. ¶ The 54 is the kind of yacht that begs for a ride in the rough stuff, but unfortunat­ely, I didn’t have challengin­g conditions when I ran it. My time aboard was on a relatively calm Chesapeake Bay. There was quite a bit of boat traffic and thus plenty of wakes to run into and roll over—or so it would seem. ¶ Between its 8-degree transom deadrise, warped semidispla­cement hull form, and Humphree intercepto­r and stabilizer system, the 54 cut through 2-footers with virtually zero effect. Parallelin­g other boat wakes and taking them on the beam produced a similar absence of any response. ¶ And—surprise—unlike the Grand Banks models of yore, the 54 can probably keep up with the sport cruisers out there on the water. Powered with twin 725 hp Volvo Penta D11 diesel inboards, the 54 broke 27 knots, and that was with full loads of fuel (898 gallons) and water

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