Yacht Class n°34 (sept-oct-nov 2023)
Grand Banks Yachts
For several decades now, the American brand Grand Banks has played a major role among the icons of yachting. At the origin of the trawler genre, it continues its journey in the family cruising category, as evidenced by this 85-foot, a three-deck flagship with an unquestionable habitability.
Written by Alain Brousse – Photos : Onne van der Wal & Joel Bulter
This 85-foot may be a new model, but her silhouette perpetuates the trawler genre. There can be no confusion, her DNA was respected. The exterior design of this three-deck remains fairly classic, but it nevertheless exudes dynamism. Although the freeboard is not very high, she has a large superstructure that implies spaciousness. Traditionally, the cockpit of a trawler has to be entirely free to accommodate equipment for deep-sea fishing, one of the popular leisure activities among the owners of this type of craft. In other words, an armchair and trays for the catches. However, this model was initially designed for short, medium or long family cruising. The main purpose of the 25 m2 cockpit is therefore to receive passengers, starting with a lounge area set against the transom. It consists of a bench seat for three and three armchairs around a table. Snacks or meals can be served quickly there, thanks to the kitchenette, which is located against the bulkhead and naturally includes a grill. The roof, accessible from both sides via a gangway, is ideal for naps or sunbathing. The last place to enjoy the sun and a panoramic sea view is the flybridge terrace, where 28 m2 can accommodate sun loungers, once the tender (maximum length: five metres) has been craned out. There is also a small four-seater corner saloon to starboard. That’s it for the outside spaces. Now, let’s go inside, where the decoration is dominated by dark woods, oak and mahogany.
An above-average rating for the saloon
The main deck of this 85-foot is dedicated to relaxation, with an interior space of 34 m2 accessible via the aft bulkhead door leading to the cockpit. Note that there is also the side door amidships, which doubles as a staircase to the enclosed wheelhouse on the flybridge. Grand Banks’ largest space is flooded with natural light thanks to large side windows. There is a comfortable saloon with a U-shaped sofa for up to six people, plus two armchairs for more companionship. Note that the adjacent dining area only seats six. Finally, partly hidden behind a partition, the galley is small (8m2) but well equipped to prepare quality meals. The stairs, which are clearly visible on the port side at galley level, lead up to the third deck, the flybridge, whose enclosed space at the front logically houses the wheelhouse. Facing the dashboard and its three large screens is a bench seat for the pilot and two passengers. The 360-degree view of the sea makes delicate manoeuvres safer. However, access to the foredeck from this helm station is not easy.
The four cabins on the lower deck
This Grand Banks 85 devotes three-quarters of the lower deck of 105 m2 to the cabins, including four for guests. Two layouts are available for the midship master (27 m2): one with the bathroom behind the headboard bulkhead, the other with a bathroom to port. With a headroom of 2.25 metres, owners won’t feel oppressed. At the bow, there is the 18 m2 VIP cabin, with a double bed as comfortable as the master’s. Note that it has no porthole, unlike in the master. The lower deck also houses one twin and one single. In other words, the 85 can sleep seven people, but it can also accommodate a captain and his first mate (two small cabins and a mess room). This layout, together with the en-suite cabins, makes the Grand Banks 85 well suited for charter. Let’s conclude this sea trial with the performance. Powered by two Volvo Penta IPS1350 (2 x 1 000 hp), she boasts a top speed of 27 knots. With the fast cruising speed of 20 knots, she has a rewarding range of 1 000 miles. There was never any doubt in our minds that this Grand Banks was an ocean cruiser.