Grand Banks 55 Aleutian RP
Of course, the Grand Banks 55 Aleutian RP is a modern-looking, modularly constructed, contemporarily outfitted figerglass vessel, with more than a little evidence of the curves and style lines designer Tom Fexas put into the very first Aleutian, a 64-footer with a signature, visor-like brow, a dramatic zigzag sheerline, and a long, highly practical flying-bridge extension over the cockpit. But then again, she also possesses a certain dynastic solidity as well, stemming, we’d say, from a boatbuilding heritage that stretches back six decades.
In her basement, the 55 offers a robust, conventional inboard powerplant, with two 715-horsepower Cummins QSM-11 diesels and a V-drive configuration that focuses engine weight aft and thus adds a bit of living space to the interior. Moreover, she has two prop tunnels, a design element that cuts draft and puts more blade diameter, more blade area, and more maneuvering oomph into the water. And finally, she also has a deep and torquey 2.4:1 gear ratio in her transmissions; a hefty, irrevocable displacement of almost 40 tons; and a keel substantial enough to stoutly resist wind-induced lateral movement. Combine all these factors and you’ve got some seriously superior close-quarters maneuvering equanimity.
But you’ve got something else as well—an average top speed of 22.4 knots while burning 71.6 gph. Not into burning all that fuel? Dialing ’er back into the displacement realm (which you can do safely for long periods because the vessel’s common-rail mains are about as electronic as iPhones) gets you a fuel burn of just 6.2 gph at 7.9 knots and a burn of 11.2 gph at 9.5 knots.
There was one word that came to mind while we were visiting the Grand Banks facility in Malaysia and seeing how our 55 test boat had been built: beefy. Old-school Grand Banks vessels like the 55 tend to be rather heavy, laid up by hand (materials are conventional but carefully worked), and showcase an extremely high level of interior teak joinery.
Workers take a modular approach for the most part, creating large components outside the hulls. The precision with which this is done, whether it’s an engine alignment that’s called for or a careful application of varnish, can not be overemphasized and is obvious to most knowledgeable prospective customers.
The engine room of the 55 is a prime example. A true standout, it offers 5 feet 9 inches headroom; a comfy span of 3 feet between the mains and solid all-encompassing stainless-steel safety rails around them; ample soft-patch overhead engine-extraction access from the cockpit, and an array of top-grade ancillaries, including duplex 751000 Racors, Groco SC-2500-S sea strainers, a Delta-T ventilation system, Marine Air air-conditioning components, and a 21.5-kW Cummins Onan genset.
The layout of the 55 is simple. The main deck includes a large, teak-trimmed-and-paneled saloon, then a U-shaped galley (to port) and dinette (to starboard), and finally the starboard-side helm station. Detailing is primo. The teak-and-holly saloon sole, for instance, sports “a minimum of ten coats” of poly varnish, according to Grand Banks.
Traditional is a word you might choose to describe the bottom deck. A VIP forward offers a queen-sized walkaround berth with immediate access to the adjoining dayhead; a master stateroom at the rear has a king-sized berth, a large en suite head to starboard, and an interior access door to the engine room; and a guest stateroom features bunks that are ample. Top-shelf ManShip opening ports are numerous and so are bins, drawers, and hanging lockers.
Did we say traditional? Let’s make that: classic!
Grand Banks, 616-499-2519; www.grandbanks.com
: (half load): 75,000 lb.
: 1,000 gal.
: 300 gal.
: 2/715-hp Cummins QSM-11 diesels
: 2/800-hp Volvo Penta D13-800 or 800-hp MAN R6-800 diesels
: 21.5-kW Cummins Onan
: ZF 325 IV; 2.41:1 ratio
: 32 x 32 4-blade ZF-FPS