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Palm Beach and Grand Banks – covet = appreciation, understanding, and knowledge

by John Curnow, Editor, Powerboat-World.com 13 Jun 01:49 PDT
PB GT60 in situ © Grand Banks / Palm Beach

Nearly every person I know in the marine game covets a Palm Beach. Its the style, the performance, the build quality, the niceties, the durability, and dare I say it, the je nes sais quoi. Those who actually own one also have the smile that goes along with first selecting such a vessel, and then the hours on board with family and friends having a grand old time. It is fairly much the same thing for Grand Banks, albeit maybe somewhat more adroit, perhaps more in touch with the masculine side of the ledger, where curves give way to straight edges.

Now of course, not everyone gets to actually own a Palm Beach or Grand Banks. A few more get to enjoy them as family members and guests, but like many a luxury brand these days, times are a changing. Not that long ago, being in the drivers seat of a Rolls Royce was for the hired help.

This is not so much the case now, and the owner has been enticed forward with array of hidden technology to make it as quick as they want, responsive in a way that belies its very significant mass, and allow bespoke to become as fashionable as the artwork you can now apply to the dash itself.

You apply a ball bearing race to the hubcap so that the double R stands upright for all to see. You give the oh-so-famous Spirit of Ecstasy an automatic escape path, and all the while you retain things like full hides for the seating, the best sound deadening ever to be applied to an automobile, and the volume and air of a yesteryear club car on the railway.

Grand Banks underwent their own version of the transformation/reformation, and the first we got to see of it all was the brilliantly effortless cruiser in the GB60, and those lithely, colourful, and exquisite gems known as the GT50 twins. It was a GT50 that I was inspecting at the show, and I could not help thinking that she reminded me very much of high-end carbon racing yacht (sailboat) as she bobbed around in her pen (slip), gnawing at her mooring lines, just dying to get under way.

Yes. While most want a traditional PB, the poster on my bedroom wall was of the GT50. The seemless moulding all over the vessel, and that one-piece screen in front of you, were more than enough to get me inspired. (The latter is a bit of a feat in and of itself BTW.) Then they unveiled the GT50 Open. Well. I tell you. Perhaps not the most practical of items for Australia, but I figured I could also have an Express version for the other days

Now the GT50 does have accommodation down below, but it would have to be the best day boat going around. It is also both fast and economical, proving that you can have the best of both worlds, which is probably exactly the way you like to operate when you are playing in these sorts of airs. After all, fly First Class and the World flies with you

Over the last little while, Grand Banks have announced many new products, the renders have been released, or the craft are actually out and about on waterways around the world. We were fortunate enough to talk with Grand Banks CEO, Mark Richards, at the recent Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. The aim was to see how he felt about the new and exciting ranges that the Malaysian factory has unveiled, and is set to bring to market soon for these trusted and beloved brands.

We are pretty proud of what we have achieved. I have been involved with Grand Banks for four and half years now, and we have basically developed 14 new products built out of the factory, said Richards.

Our quality is second to none, as you have seen, and commented on yourself. This is only the beginning. It has been a journey to turn it all around, and there has been significant investment throughout the whole facility with equipment, robotics and products, so that today you are seeing the benefit of all of that.

We are going to see over the next 12-months, another three amazing new products hit the water with the Palm Beach GT60, Palm Beach 70, and Grand Banks 54. Indeed the renders for the PB70 hit the airwaves only a short while ago and she looks delightful. We have some great news and do look forward to sharing it all with everyone as they come to market.

The GB 54 will be ready by October, and I think a very global product. She is good-looking, and extremely practical. Couples can take her off for long range cruising, and the performance of nothing like this market segment has ever seen before.

She gets on the plane very early by virtue of her carbon fibre construction, and fine entry hull form. We are hoping for the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, but it will be Miami if that does not occur. There is a lot of work to do to get her all sorted, and the tooling totally correct before going into full production, and then we also have to ship her to the USA as well. It is going to be a very successful model for sure.

As for the ultra-stylish Palm Beach GT50 Open, Well it may be sometime before one is seen in Australia. It has been designed for the European market, and the first two are going there, so the rest of the globe is more likely to see one first."

Richards finished with, The GT60 will be unleashed in September, and she is a 50-knot vessel! Thats pretty much unheard of in the production world. She'll have a high cruising speed as well, in the order of 40 knots, which does not exist, to date. The GT60 will utilise Volvo Pentas IPS3 1350s, with half the fuel burn of anything else in the market with these kinds of credentials. Of course it is only achievable by reducing weight, and a slippery hull form/running surface. So yes, very exciting stuff!

The D13s that power her are the largest in the range, and are rated at 1000hp each at the crankshaft from the in-line, twin entry turbocharged sixes that also have twin charge air coolers. The 12.8l cast iron oil burners top out at 2400RPM, which means that under the magic 80% of throttle opening rule, she is doing 40 knots at just 1920RPM, with factory specs looking like 120lph per side. Like wow! This is also just past their peak torque mark of nigh on 3600Nm.

So at just on five metric tonnes for the pair of propulsion packages (inclusive of jackshafts and pods) you might argue that power to weight is not their strong suit, but just take a look again at that torque figure, and the rest will be worked out for you. Five large outboards on the transom wont be part of the equation here

Now the Aga Khan once had a vessel that was able to achieve over 60 knots (light ship). Possessing a truly healthy 60,000hp meant she also idled at over 12, and I reckon the GT60 could well be the same, if not even on the plane by the time you engage both ahead (Argh. Argh. Argh).

She was called, Destriero, and she did not have the benefit of modern engine management, nor slipping clutches, which meant she had to be towed into every port she ever went to. Your new GT60 will not suffer the same ignominious fate at all. So please do not fear, for the latest Palm Beach will dock as stylishly and effortlessly as she looks, either lying still at anchor, or flying along your favourite waterway.

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