This vison of beauty and perfection is a computer-rendered illustration of the yacht that will soon rewrite the rules of long-distance cruising.
Behold the Grand Banks 85.
Thanks to the super-sleek lines of its V-Warp hull, the GB85 won’t so much as ‘hit the water’ as slide effortlessly into it at the end of the year. And while its maiden voyage will leave a surprisingly flat and shallow wake, we anticipate the yacht’s progress will be followed by a tsunami of interest, commentary and debate in the marine press and among the boating community.
The GB85 is not just a bigger Grand Banks. It’s a whole new class of boat. Technically, at just over 87 feet, the 85 has inched into the ‘Superyacht’ category. But as well as breaking this class barrier, our exquisite new vessel is set to break every record for performance, efficiency and range in any category you care to mention.
Size was not our primary concern. You could sum up our approach as, ‘The Better, the Bigger’ and not the other way round. Quality and efficiency have always been our guiding principles.
The GB85 is essentially a man-made boat although robotics is playing an increasingly important role in our manufacturing process. Our 8-axis robot has enabled us to build larger and more complex parts with greater accuracy and won the award for ‘Innovation in a Production Process’ at the 2019 Boat Builder Awards.
But ultimately, the craftsmanship that has traditionally defined our brand rests in human hands and in the passion for perfection that motivates our team.
The GB85 is built on an elongated version or our proprietary ‘V-Warp’ hull. Originally designed by our CEO Mark Richards in partnership with naval architect Andy Dovell, this refined version features a fine entry that flares amidships to roll the seas away from the yacht. In Mark’s words, “With this hull form, the longer the boat, the better she’ll run!”
The science bears him out. In tow-tank testing at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania, the ’85 delivered extraordinary results. At 21 knots there was virtually no wake! To sum up Mark’s reaction, “Mate, most other vessels of this size would be towing a tidal wave!”
The hull employs vacuum-infused E-Glass with carbon fibre in the structural areas, cored with Corecell® and Airex® foam, stitched multi-axial fabric and 100% vinylester resins. Everything else, the longitudinals, the transversals, the bulkheads, the entire deck and superstructure are formed from fully infused carbon fibre.
As a result, these structures are lighter but stronger with a higher fibre-toresin ratio and have enabled us to hit our target weight of 40.6 metric tons.
The practical value of this approach is clearly evident in the displacement figures. The GB85 has a half-load displacement of just over 100,000lbs, a remarkable achievement when you consider that rival boats of this size are routinely weighing in at over 150,000lbs!
We’ve enhanced the rigidity and strength of this semi-monocoque form by fusing all bulkheads and fixed furniture to the hull and superstructure.
This means births, locker bases, galley cabinetry even the heads are an integral part of the boat’s structure and create a singular, robust grid or endoskeleton that won’t flex, squeak or groan when the weather turns foul.
The GB85 is driven by two Volvo Penta IPS 1350s diesel engines that put out 1000hp each. Twin, 1000hp, 6-cylinder D13s with straight shafts will be available as a no-charge option.
(Unusually, the engines are housed in individual compartments that are separated by a garage that provides plenty of space for a dinghy and water toys. This arrangement allows for more elbow room and better access during maintenance and repairs.)
Now, it’s quite likely that you expected a more powerful drive train.
But consider this. The power to weight ratio derived from the low-ball displacement combined with the reduced water resistance of the slippery V-Warp hull enables the GB85 to match the speed of her competitors with only slightly more than half the horsepower!
So, factor in the extreme fuel efficiency of that arrangement, add a 2,650gallon fuel tank and you’ll come to a very simple conclusion. The speed and range predictions of the GB85 are quite literally off the chart. At 21 knots, she’ll take you 1,000 miles. When asked about the range at just 10 knots, Mark limited himself to this one simple prognostication: “Phenomenal!”