Swift and Sure
By Milt Baker
The new Grand Banks Heritage 43EU is radically different from any Grand Banks I’ve ever known. Dockside or loafing along at 8 or 9 knots, she may look a lot like a traditional Grand Banks, but when she’s on plane at 20 knots plus, the onboard sensation is more like flying.
Compared to the 41EU which it replaces, the new 43EU has a 30-percent-larger cockpit, and, due to the larger flying bridge, good protection from the elements for those who want to open wide the saloon’s aft door to enjoy indoor/outdoor living. The galley-up design lets the cruising couple stay in touch while underway. Sightlines from the raised helm platform are excellent, and there is a sliding starboard side door allowing quick access to the deck for line-handling or anchoring duties.
The master stateroom is in the bow with an en suite head compartment and separate shower. The guest stateroom is to port and features twin berths that can be converted into a large double. It has private access to the second head, which is also the dayhead. While both staterooms have excellent stowage, the use of Zeus drives, which are located under the aft deck, open up enormous space amidship for a utility and storage room, perfect for a washer/dryer and freezer, desirable conveniences for distance cruisers.
Grand Banks begins the layup with premium gelcoat and vinylester resins. The 43EU is fully cored, using varying thicknesses of materials from different manufacturers to achieve optimal stiffness, strength, and sound dampening. Fiberglass liners are used to form the deck and subsurfaces, firmly bonded to the inside of the hull with adhesive so strong, the company claims it will never fail. When you enter the engine room, you note that the stringer grid, the overhead, and the bulkheads are beautifully finished gelcoat, saving hundreds of hours of hand finishing. Sound attenuating materials are used extensively to isolate engine-room noise. The hull-to-deck joint is a combination of mechanical and adhesive systems designed to last a lifetime.
Put the wheel hard over at full speed, which I couldn’t resist doing repeatedly, and the boat banks into the turn ever so slightly, just a couple of degrees. When I persisted, keeping the wheel hard-over, the turn radius got tighter, then tighter again, but the heel was barely noticeable as the yacht closed in toward the center of a frothy whirlpool.
As I put this new Grand Banks through her paces several times, I slowed her to idle, let her settle into the water, then pushed the throttles to the hilt and watched, with a gleam in my eye, as she rose serenely onto plane. Thanks to automatic trim tabs built into the Zeus drives, each repetition produced a comfortable, natural motion—as the boat gained speed the tabs kept the bow down giving good visibility over the bow. As she came up on plane, the yacht’s running angle never exceeded 4 degrees, save for only a few seconds as she came over the bow wave between 10 and 13 knots. Otherwise, she ran at less than 3 degrees, very close to level. Acceleration was swift: the transition from idling along at 3.8 knots to cruising 21 knots was right at 20 seconds each of the three times I tried it.
Grand Banks, 206-352-0116; www.grandbanks.com
: 41,000 lb.
: 600 gal.
: 200 gal.
: 2/480-mhp Cummins Marine QSB6.7 diesels w/Zeus drives
: ZF Zeus drives, 1.39:1 gear ratio
Electronics package ($30,000); davit & dinghy chocks ($28,470); flybridge wetbar ($2,860); granite galley countertops ($1,500); spare parts kit, ($3,500). All prices approximate.
Air temperature: 83°F; seas: 1'; wind: 5-10 knots; load: 300 gal. fuel, 150 gal. water, 5 persons. Speeds are two-way averages measured with onboard GPS. GPH estimates taken via Cummins Marine display. Range based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity.