|LOA||54 ft., 4 in.|
|Beam||17 ft., 9 in.|
|Displacement||(half) 83,335 lbs.|
|Engines||Twin MTU S60 diesels, 825 hp|
|Base Price||See dealer|
|Grand Banks Yachts; grandbanks.com|
|DeltaT demisters, TDS teak decking, teak table on flybridge, work room w/workbench, handmade teak wheel, microwave/convection oven, four-drawer refrigerator/freezer, cooktop and much more.|
|Seakeeper gyro, cockpit engine and thruster controls, crew quarters, separate washer/dryer, hardtop on flybridge, davit and much more.|
|West Coast Dealer|
|Stan Miller Yachts, Long Beach,
(562) 598-9433; Newport Beach,
(949) 675-3467; San Diego, (619) 224-1510; stanmilleryachts.com
Grand Banks Northwest, Seattle;
(206) 352-0118; grandbanksnw.com
Oceanic Yacht Sales, Sausalito,
Redwood City, Calif.; (415) 331-0533,
Posted: February 1, 2014 | Boat Type: Motoryacht
Meets the high expectations the builder has created for itselfTesting a Grand Banks is always difficult, primarily because of the high expectations the builder has created during more than a half century in business, during which time it has turned out thousands of boats. Given that kind of experience and history, boaters expect Grand Banks to “get it right” with every boat it builds — and Grand Banks generally does just that.
Design and Construction
The 2014 Grand Banks 54 Heritage EU is a fairly traditional-looking sedan cruiser with refined styling and a comfortable, inviting appearance. The fiberglass work is flawless, absolutely fair, without even a hint of gelcoat haze. The vessel is well proportioned and has a great dock presence that makes it stand out, even on a dock with other larger or more flamboyant boats. It looks balanced, unlike many other vessels in the same size range, which always seem top-heavy. Not so this Grand Banks.
The 54 EU’s modified-V hull — designed to operate in Force 8 (gale force) winds with waves to 13 feet — is the same hull used on the builder’s tough and rugged Aleutian 53. It is hand-laid solid glass below the waterline and cored glass with cross-linked, high-density foam above it. A full-length keel extends aft far enough to help protect the running gear and delivers excellent tracking. Our test vessel is equipped with Naiad fin stabilizers, but during our test the sea was calm, so we never got to see how they perform. However, the same stabilizers on other similar vessels have worked very well.
Our test boat has the optional twin MTU S60 825 hp diesels rather than the standard Cummins QSM11s that put out 715 hp. The engines deliver power through a V-drive system to twin props, tucked up into prop pockets in the hull, which allow for a reduced shaft down angle to improve fuel efficiency. Having the machine space in the extreme aft of the hull, under the aft deck, allows for a solid, sound-deadening bulkhead between the engine and the rest of the hull.
Access to the vessel is through a transom gate off the teak swim grid or through port and starboard hull gates. The aft deck is teak covered, while the side- and foredecks are nonskid glass. The nonskid pattern is sharp and crisp and will provide safe footing even when it’s very wet. The sidedecks are covered, giving good protection from the Pacific Northwest rain or a blazing tropical sun.
The aft deck is a great gathering place, featuring a stainless sink and a wet bar with plenty of storage. An ice-maker just inside the salon door is easily accessible to people socializing on the aft deck. A comfortable bench seat, fronted by a large teak table, completes the aft social amenities. The entire area is covered by the salon roof, which provides protection from the elements. A set of helm controls is on the aft deck. The foredeck is also a social area. The 2014 model has a U-shaped settee and a table on the foredeck, built into the trunk cabin, for folks who might like to dine in the open air while swinging on the hook in some secluded inlet.
A set of teak-on-glass steps leads from the aft deck up to the command bridge. Beefy stainless steel handrails on each side of the steps make the climb safe and easy even in a running sea. Visibility from up top is spectacular all around, and the centerline helm station makes control very comfortable. To keep weight down, the command bridge is covered by a form-fitted fabric top stretched tightly over a stainless tubular support grid.
A teak dining table, with plenty of comfortably padded bench and L-shaped seating, provides plenty of space for either a snack or a full dinner. A stainless sink combined with a stainless barbeque, a refrigerator and plenty of work space will keep any cook happy.
Access to the deckhouse is through a heavily framed stainless steel sliding glass door off the aft deck or through a pair of hinged doors to port and starboard at the helm station. Aft, inside the sliding door, is a lounge area with an L-shaped sofa and a teak coffee table to port and a straight sofa to starboard. An entertainment center features a hideaway HD TV set that, at the touch of a switch, disappears into a cabinet that doubles as the back of the starboard sofa.
Forward of the lounge to starboard is a U-shaped galley with a large stainless sink, a four-burner electric cooktop, a microwave-convection oven and a built-in dishwasher. All refrigeration is drawer style, as are the freezers, in an approach that is becoming more common as galley designers realize that pull-out drawers don’t dump cold air like an upright refrigerator does every time its door is opened. The setup dramatically reduces the energy use for refrigeration and freezing.
There is plenty of countertop space and more than enough cupboard and pull-out drawer space to stow food and supplies for lengthy cruises. Kitchen crockery is stored above the sink, in a cleverly designed pivoting, drop-down storage rack that looks like an ordinary over-the-sink cupboard drawer until it’s opened. The galley comes with bone china crockery, cups, saucers, glasses and cutlery for six — including highball and red and white wine glasses.
To the port side, directly across from the galley, is an L-shaped settee and a solid teak dining table. All countertops are equipped with edge fiddles, so small liquid spills will not end up on the floor.
The helm station is forward of the galley/dining area, and visibility all around, even out onto the aft deck, is excellent. The bow does not rise sufficiently, even during acceleration, to block forward visibility, which is a tribute to the excellent engineering that went into the hull design. A raised console provides enough dash space for any owner’s preferred electronics suite.
The 54 we tested is a three-stateroom boat. A spiral staircase just to starboard of the helm station leads down to the staterooms, a utility room and interior engine-room access. The full-beam master stateroom features an en suite head with a separate shower stall. It boasts an oversized island queen bed with a massive storage space underneath, cedar-lined hanging lockers, a teak night table on either side of the bed and opening stainless steel portholes with screens and covers.
Forward and to port of the master is a twin bunk stateroom that can also be finished as an onboard office. Forward of that, in the forepeak, is the VIP guest stateroom, with an island queen bed with the same under-berth storage as in the master. There’s plenty of cedar-lined hanging locker space and en suite access to the head, which has a fully enclosed separate shower stall. However, that head is shared with the smaller guest stateroom/office.
Aft through the master stateroom is the utility room and an inside entrance to the engine room. A second entrance to the engine space is through a large hatch in the aft deck. The utility room is home to the washer and dryer and an upright refrigerator/freezer.
The full-height engine room allows for easy inspection and servicing of all machinery, including the 21.5 kw Onan generator with a sound shield. A Delta T engine room ventilation system keeps the engine room temperatures under control. Stainless steel handrails surround each engine, so engine-room inspections can be conducted in safety even when the vessel is underway. The reverse-cycle air-conditioning system and the 2,500-watt inverter/charger find a home in the machinery space. A full-width workbench with shelving makes mechanical servicing easier. The machinery space is painted a bright white, so you don’t have to work by flashlight.
With the two big MTUs burbling contentedly, we eased out of the Ballard locks into Puget Sound. At idle, 650 rpm, we made 6 knots, burned 4 gph and registered 66 on the decibel meter. At 1000 rpm, we made 8.5 knots and burned 8 gph. When we ramped up to 1500 revs, we moved along at 11.8 knots, went through 26 gph and our noisemeter read just more than 70 decibels. As we advanced to wide-open throttle, 2350 revs, we hit 24 knots and, with a total of 1,650 hp snarling away under the aft deck, we burned 86 gph.
At top speed, the boat handled very well. It responded smartly and precisely to all helm inputs and carved hard-over lock-to-lock turns like a gold-medal-winning Olympic skier. At pure displacement speed — about 7 knots — the 54 has a range of about 1,350 miles, allowing a 10 percent reserve.
Owners Will Love
The new GB 54 EU is well designed, engineered and very well built. The fit and finish of the woodwork throughout is as good as it gets in the 50-foot market segment and far better than most boats of any size. The visibility from any of the helm stations is excellent, and movement around the vessel, inside or out, is quick and easy.