Yacht Class n°17 (june-july-august 2019)
The largest unit of the range, the Grand Banks 60 also exists in a SL version, for Skylounge, and offers a superb protected space for comfortable steering. But with six decades of experience and expertise, the shipyard also knows how to take advantage of technological advances to develop contemporary units with an ever-present marine character.
Written by:Christophe Varène – Photos: All rights reserved
For more than 60 years, embarking on a Grand Banks has been an incomparable experience and the visit of the latest addition of the builder, based in Singapore and Malaysia, is no exception. Of course, each time we think we will find the same timeless design, the magnificent carpentry work, the incomparable seaworthiness… in short, everything that has made the yard famous. And as always, we are still amazed by the innovations and modern touches here and there. Launched at the last Fort Lauderdale show (2018), the Grand Banks 60 SL is clearly in line with the yachts of this traditional but forward-looking builder. Her silhouette preserves the principle of the hull visible planking, but she is more refined thanks to a lowered freeboard aft. On this evolution, the Grand Banks 60 may lose some smoothness, but this incredible skylounge gives her a little “fishing made in USA” trait, which makes her sportier. Thanks to improvements in construction materials, all the superstructures are in composite (carbon fibre infusion), which considerably reduces weight and lowers the centre of gravity for greater comfort and performance at sea. The manufacturer data is attractive: a top speed of 31 knots, but most importantly an appreciated 2 000 miles range at 10 knots, in perfect harmony with the philosophy of this trawler moving with the times
An innate marine character
Because Grand Banks are travel, long-distance yachts, the seamanship is definitely present in the details. The large and practical transom features beautiful handrails securing this area, which offers a galley with sink and plancha. A wide gate leads to the cockpit, well protected by the upper deck. On both sides, two large walkways, also sheltered, with high bulwarks, gangway entrances, balcony and small awning, run towards the bow. There, the deck is unobstructed and can be furnished according to her owner’s wishes. In the forepeak, near the exterior electric windlass, the anchor locker is large and features a chain well and mooring storage. Entering the saloon is almost like going back home or to a familiar setting: the abundant woodwork creates a warm atmosphere, while the contrast between gloss and satin-finish varnish adds a more contemporary touch. A handrail runs through the ceiling length – more than a detail, an essential for navigation – and divides the saloon between a starboard lounge, with two small settees, a coffee table and a TV retractable in one of the backrests, and the beautiful portside table with a L-shaped sofa, for 6. The galley is located forward, while a high piece of furniture divides the volume of the saloon, marking the separation between the living areas. Near the door opening on to the starboard walkway, a staircase – without risers – leads to the skylounge, the key space of this Grand Banks 60. In this real towering wheelhouse, we find the boat’s only helm station with its two – very – comfortable armchairs (retractable footrests, liftable armrests, etc.), plus a lounge with a beautiful table, a refrigerator, storage space and even a bathroom. The well-equipped dashboard features two large screens to manage all the navigation parameters and technical monitoring. The aft and side electric windows and the overhead hatches ensure a quick ventilation of this enclosed and bright space. Aft, a door leads to a terrace where are located the tender and its launching crane: once free, this space, endowed with storage spaces, becomes a welcoming place to fit out.
Three cabins below decks
Back to the saloon, a few steps lead to the cabins. On starboard, a first cabin, with two single beds, has an original layout: the bed is in the axis of the boat, near the door while, a few steps down, the other one is perpendicular and located underneath the saloon. Children (little ones and grown-ups) will definitely appreciate this private refuge. Forward, the double guest cabin features a king size bed, a dressing table, storage spaces and a wardrobe. It shares its bathroom with the first cabin. On portside, the (nearly) master suite offers a large double bed, huge wardrobes, a TV screen and a beautiful en suite. At all levels, comfort is present with meticulous finishes and many attentions to make life on board easier. This 60SL is definitely a Grand Banks.