"Mid Size Power Boats": A Guide for Discreminating Buyers - by David Pascoe

Grand Banks 42

Grand Banks 42

Year 1990 Weight 36,000
LOA 42'0" Fuel 600 gals
Beam 13'7" Engines Cummins 5BTA-5
Draft 4'3" Hp 300

Here's a boat that hardly needs an introduction; the distinctive style of the Grand Banks is a classic that is often imitated but rarely equaled. Dubbed a Trawler Yacht, it does not have a trawler hull. People often call it a semi-displacement or semi-planing hull, but neither of these are correct. The fact is that the Grand Banks hull is a planing hull as witness her top speed of about 18 knots with turbo charged engines. The only similarity to a trawler hull is the deep, full keel which gives her but a moderate draft of 4'3", not very deep by any stretch of the imagination.

A look at her bottom shows there's nothing trawlerish about it, other than a deep keel. A plane and simple planing hull. Yep, that is evidence of blister repair you see at upper right.

Her builder, American Marine formerly of Singapore, was long known for taking advantage of using cheap Asian labor while utilizing primarily American made hardware and other components which, in part, is what keeps the price up compared with many other  Asian imports. Here we don't find anything like those funny Chinese bronze propellers that are full of iron. Nor the lack of good engineering that so often raises an eyebrow when the description Asian Import is mentioned.

At ten years old, it was interesting to get the opportunity to go through this boat to see how she holds up against similar imports, bearing in mind that this boat is no bargain price leader. For what she is currently selling for, you could likely buy two competitor models. Which leads to the question, "Is it worth the cost?" As proponents of good quality, our answer is, "of course!"

First, we did not find any rotten wood in this boat, none of the usual cheap plywood that's delaminating and falling apart. And, miracle of miracles, the windows don't leak at all. because they were made right. There was none of the usual rotted teak paneling around the windows The hull is a solid laminate with no core. We found that the deck is glassed to the hull so there are no leaks from these points.

One not so minor shortcoming is that the teak deck overlay is about 3/8" thick and is now worn out with most of the screw heads showing. refurbishing this won't be cheap.

One of the more remarkable aspects that makes this boat so desirable is the interior space which is huge for a 42 footer. With the galley down, the salon remains large, although this one had a large part of the built-in settee removed to give even more space, the salon was overstuffed with furniture and still wasn't cramped.

This large salon area looks smaller here due to being over-stuffed with furniture. Note that the standard built-in settee at left is not present.

The aft stateroom is positively huge; with a full double berth, there is still plenty of floor space around it. But there is a twist. The  shower stall is split from the head compartment on the opposite side -- the head is port, shower starboard.

I particularly liked the galley down arrangement, with the huge custom like reefer that is a teak box with a Grunert compressor located in the engine room. It's divided into a reefer upper and freezer lower, with yet another deep freeze located under the galley counter. The big heavy teak doors have the old fashioned ice box latches on that close with a resounding thud. This is a nice throw back to the days when they made things to last, rather than made to throw away after a few years.

I don't know why so many builders insist on putting the electrical panels way down on the floor, but that's where this one is. It's wonderfully well made, but you got to get on hands and knees or try to bend over and read the labels up-side-down.

The engine room is extremely deep, and with the two 300 gallon fuel tanks mounted aft of the engines, there's plenty of access to both sides of the engines. Although this particular boat was stuffed with every imaginable piece of equipment, the engine room was a bit tight, but not impossibly so. The one tight spot is the Onan 8kw generator that is located between the fuel tanks so that it was difficult even getting the covers off the sound box. Yet with everything closed up, it was very quiet.

A very large aft cabin for a trawler type, there is lots of floor space on both sides of the berth.

It was a very windy day for our sea trial, starting out in the choppy waters of Indian River at Fort Pierce. where our speed trials turned up a top speed of 16 knots at 2800 RPM with engine surveyor Ron Doerr's radar gun; 9.5 knots at 2000 RPM. This was with the stabilizers not centered, but when centered, the speed jumped up to 18 knots on my Garmin GPS. Some people call this a semi-displacement hull, a silly notion because she gets up and planes even at slower speeds. This is a planing hull with a keel, period.

From there it was  on out into the Atlantic through the Sebastian Inlet. With seas running at about three feet, we got a nice performance test run. A hard chined boat, she has a nice, easy motion at slower speeds that was not at all uncomfortable. But when we turned the Naiad stabilizes on, all rolling motion stopped. While relatively dry, she did have spray rails on the bow, but the wind would push water up the nearly vertical sides of the bow, throwing little streams of water up into the wind.

Surprisingly, for having wire cable steering, steering was remarkably easy. But with that big, deep keel, the Robertson autopilot had to work hard to keep her on course at sea. When a wave would cause her to veer off, the pilot had a hard time bringing her back. With manual steering I had to work pretty hard to keep her on course in anything but upwind. That is just a trait of boats with big keels. They want to track straight and stay that way. Not an altogether bad thing but less good in heavier seas.


Posted May 31, 2000
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David Pascoe - Biography

David Pascoe is a second generation marine surveyor in his family who began his surveying career at age 16 as an apprentice in 1965 as the era of wooden boats was drawing to a close.

Certified by the National Association of Marine Surveyors in 1972, he has conducted over 5,000 pre purchase surveys in addition to having conducted hundreds of boating accident investigations, including fires, sinkings, hull failures and machinery failure analysis.

Over forty years of knowledge and experience are brought to bear in following books. David Pascoe is the author of:

In addition to readers in the United States, boaters and boat industry professionals worldwide from over 70 countries have purchased David Pascoe's books, since introduction of his first book in 2001.

In 2012, David Pascoe has retired from marine surveying business at age 65.

Biography - Long version







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