Beneteau Gran Turismo 35
The Beneteau Gran Turismo 35 is a fun-in-the-sun machine that combines seating and lounging spaces, big-for-its-britches accommodations, and spirited performance in a sleek package. The GT 35 as she is known, welcomes boaters at the small end of the Gran Turismo line. She’s built on the same hull as the 34 she replaces, and her larger siblings are the GT 38, the GT 44, and the GT 49 and 49 Fly.
The GT 35 incorporates Beneteau’s patented Air Step hull design in this balsa-cored, hand-laid fiberglass hull. The company says this design provides a softer ride that’s more stable and safer, and also improves the boat’s performance by channeling air to the running surface through vents molded into the hull. A pair of 5.7-liter Volvo Penta gas V-8s matched to stern drives generate a total of 600 horsepower and we felt every bit of their torquey presence during our test. I headed into the engine room to review the equipment there and found a tight space, starting with the 13- by 34-inch access opening. The engines were placed just 4 inches apart, and there was also a 5-kW Kohler genset in there as well. Still, those who look for a lot of features and performance in a small package will understand this engineering, and everything was accessible. It’s a boat that will help keep you young and flexible.
Same goes for the interior space forward. This could have been a very simple single-berth layout, but the option to bring along another couple opens up cruising possibilities exponentially.
Most of the time spent on the Gran Turismo 35 will be out on deck, whether at the helm (for the lucky ones) on the aft lounge or dinette, or on the forward sunpad. The helm position of the GT 35 gives the driver excellent lines of sight and a double-wide companion seat means the exhiliarating ride can be shared with a friend.
This cockpit is built for fun, with a U-shaped dinette to port facing a lounge to starboard. Our test boat had an optional electric grill built into the aft side of the transom, so the chef can join the party on the expansive swim platform as he cooks for his guests.
Sunbathers find their way to the foredeck by ascending an interesting stair system up the side of the helm console. The steps reminded me of a rock-climbing wall, with not-overly-large foot-size steps and a pair of low grabrails that lead through a windshield pass-through to a sunpad with fold-up backrest.
Through the companionway to port of the helm is access to a cozy saloon with a dinette forward that converts to a spacious vee-berth thanks to a hi-lo table. There’s a small-scale galley to starboard. A compact wet head is placed to port, thoughtfully equipped with tinted skylight. Aft is a cabin with double berth and an opening port placed within a larger hullside window.
The GT 35 puts those Volvo Penta V-8s and Duoprop stern drives in a position to turn it up and our speed tests showed her topping 34 knots. Because of the open layout and low windscreen, it felt even faster. The Air Step hull is designed to work with stern drives (the only model in the line that doesn’t have it is the GT 49 since she sports Volvo Penta IPS power), and she showed us what she could do: Even with a full complement of 10 people aboard we didn’t feel the need to throttle her back in the calm conditions. The GT 35 is an exhiliarating ride.
Beneteau, 410-990-0270; www.beneteau.com
: 11,174 lb. (light)
: 129 gal.
: 42 gal.
: 2/300-hp Volvo Penta 5.7-liter V-8 gas engines matched to Duoprop stern drives
: Volvo Penta DPS-B, 1.95:1 gear ratio
: DPS FH2 INOX
*Range based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity.