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Long range cruising redefined

by Grand Banks Yachts 22 Apr 2018 07:03 PDT
Grand Banks 60 © Billy Black

The launch of the highly successful Grand Banks 60 generated a lot of head scratching from boaters, even current Grand Banks owners, and of course, our competitors. Some of the naysayers simply could not believe the performance numbers that this special yacht was achieving.

We're not fans of pounding our own chests and really can't imagine why any builder would want to promote misleading speed and fuel burn numbers. However, we are certainly excited about creating this next generation long-range cruising yacht. Our guiding principles of high-tech construction to reduce weight, while adding strength and efficiency, with pioneering design, were all appreciated on a 1,300-mile early spring delivery from Florida to Essex, Connecticut on the new GB 60 North Light.

Even with unseasonably foul weather, including 30-knots of wind on the nose off North Carolina's Atlantic Coast, North Light maintained an average cruising speed of 22 knots while burning a total fuel burn of 40 gallons per hour. The owners chose optional 1,000-hp Caterpillar 12.9s. The standard engine package is a pair of 900-hp Volvo D13s providing a top speed of 31 knots. Pull the throttles back to 10 knots and the 60 can easily achieve a range of 2,000 miles.

Besides being hyper-focused on weight control, the GB60 benefits from a slippery hull that is designed to slice through the water throughout the speed curve. Compare the bottom of the 60 to other semi-displacement cruisers and you'll notice an absence of any bottom augmentations on the GB. Some competitors rely on design elements that are necessary to push their designs out of the water, allowing them to settle on the after portion of the running surface to achieve planing speeds. This results in wasted energy, revealed by big wakes being pushed past the transom. The GB60, on other hand, is designed to stay in the water, not rise beyond it. In fact her running attitude is just about 3 degrees with a minimal wake.

Also absent is a harsh entry forward. Anyone who has cruised long distances knows how tiring a pounding boat can be on captain and crew. On North Light, even with steep seas, stacked in short sets between Stuart, Florida and Ft. Pierce, speeds in the low 20-knot range were easily achieved and there is no hard pounding. Was it fun? Not at all! However, it's nice to know that your boat is designed to handle whatever conditions come her way.

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