I have to admit I don’t do a lot of research before doing a sea trial. Well, actually, I don’t do any before and just a little afterward. So when I received a call that John Baier, president of Oceanic Yachts in Sausalito, had a new Grand Banks 47 Heritage EU at the sales dock that we could take out for a sea trial, my immediate thought was, great, we will go motor around the Bay for a few hours at 7.5 knots and enjoy some quiet time. This would be a perfect way to spend a mid-week morning and I need some rest.
I can spot a Grand Banks from across the Bay and from 500 feet away the 47EU has the unmistakable look of a classic Grand Banks. When I arrived at Clipper Cove Marina, I saw John, Rick Peterson and Captain Mike bringing the 47EU from the sales dock to the fuel dock. I thought this was a bit unusual. How much fuel could we possibly need for a two-hour cruise?
As I walked up to the boat I overheard John tell the attendant that he wanted to put 100 gallons in and to tell him when he had 50 in the starboard tank. 100 gallons of diesel in a trawler is a lot. I would expect to run for two days on 100 gallons of fuel. Perhaps John is planning a longer sea trial than just a few hours.
Touring The Yacht
While the Oceanic Yachts guys are busy fueling the boat, I take the time to start looking around, opening hatches, and getting a feel for the boat. We are tied port side, so I walked down the dock and entered from the swimstep and through the cockpit door.
I had to take a moment to stop and admire that signature Grand Banks teak transom. I’m not a fan of exterior teak, because I’m lazy and don’t want to maintain it, but this transom really is stunning with the high-gloss teak so finely polished that you could almost use it as a mirror.
After a few moments of admiration, I continued through the transom door and walked into the cockpit to find a very large space with a beautiful teak deck. The 47EU has the extended cockpit that is 3 feet longer than the original 44EU that this is based on, and the teak deck makes it look even larger. The overhang leaves the last few feet uncovered to make fishing practical while still providing a great covered area.
From the cockpit looking forward, to port there are molded-in steps to the flybridge that also lift up and provide access to the engine room. A large door at the centerline leads into the main saloon where the teak deck continues. Even though the saloon is inviting, I have to visit the engine room first.
You lift the piston-assist steps to reveal a large fidley with six steps down and into the engine room. When I take a look in the engine room and see two 550-hp Cummins QSC diesels, I begin to understand why we need more than just a few gallons of fuel.
This Grand Banks is not the boat I was expecting. This is no 7.5-knot trawler; this is a 24-knot fast trawler. It’s clear to me now that we are aboard the highly acclaimed Grand Banks 47 Heritage Europa. Now I’m a bit more excited about the prospect of a spirited cruise around San Francisco Bay in this timeless trawler-style motoryacht that has the graceful styling and traditional Grand Banks quality combined with planing-speed performance.
The engine room is a work of art. It is nicely designed with easy access to all of the critical systems, access all around the big modern Cummins engines, and a generous amount of sound insulation.
After some time in the engine room, I lower the stairs and make my way to the upper deck. Up top is an L-shaped lounge around a teak dinette, a separate two-seater lounge, and two high-backed Stidd helm chairs.
In front of these ultra comfortable chairs is a centerline helm station with an oversized teak wheel, a pop-up electronics station, electronic engine controls, and dual electronic engine management displays. To port there is a sink in a molded center that has a fridge, icemaker and barbecue.
The aft deck has an 800-pound davit and is designed to carry a tender. I understand that as an option you can have rails fitted so that this area doubles as entertaining space if you don’t have the tender.
Back down into the cockpit, through the aft door, and into the main saloon, to port we find an L-shaped settee with room for four around a hi-low table. The settee converts into a double berth for extra sleeping space if needed. To starboard, we find another settee with cavernous storage underneath.
It is traditional that trawlers have a handrail mounted on the overhead and this one is no exception; however, instead of the usual teak handrail, Grand Banks has done a terrific job of updating the design with a more modern and more functional rail. Of course, this one is made from teak, but it’s wrapped with oversized polished stainless steel mounting brackets.
Moving forward we find the traditional galley-up to port with a microwave oven at eye level, a large stainless steel sink, a refrigerator under the granite countertops, and generous storage all around.
To starboard we have the lower helm station with all of the same controls as the weather helm, a door that provides easy access to the side decks, and an extra-wide Stidd helm chair. Under the helm chair we find a separate freezer and icemaker as well as bar storage, which are all concealed behind teak doors.
Instead of the pop-up electronics box on the weather helm, the lower helm has a fixed area large enough to install dual, 12-inch displays along with other needed electronics.
Walk out the starboard door and you find the deep, wide, walk-around covered decks with high bulwarks and safety rails that make moving around friendly for guests and four-legged friends. From here access to the foredeck is easy and safe in all but the worst conditions.
Back inside and standing in the companionway leading forward to the staterooms, there is an abundance of Burmese teak from the sole to the overhead.
Down four steps the owner’s stateroom is directly forward and is lined in teak. There is a centerline queen berth, tons of storage, a private head with a teak vanity and granite countertop, and a large separate shower.
To port is the day head with a shower and to starboard is the second stateroom that has twin berths.
I hear the crew on deck signaling that they have completed our fueling and are preparing to get underway. I’m sure that I have missed a few things down here, but I will let those be your surprise when you come see this boat.
Running The Boat In Richardson Bay
Now that we have enough fuel for a proper sea trial, we cast off the lines and motor out of Richardson Bay in the Sausalito Channel. It’s a cold and foggy morning in San Francisco with the sun unsuccessfully trying to peek out on this side of the Bay.
We have a 10-knot wind on the beam and even at a speed of just 7 knots the 47 Heritage is very well-mannered. There is absolutely no bow wandering as she tracks straight and true. Operating from the weather helm I’m glad that we are only doing 7 knots as it’s a bit breezy up here.
As Captain Mike takes us out the channel, I wander around and poke and prod some more. Mike brought this particular boat up from Newport Beach where it was delivered from the factory, so he knows how she handles in various sea conditions.
Once clear of Richardson Bay, we head east to Raccoon Strait and over to Belvedere Cove. After passing Sausalito Channel light “2” we bring the throttles up and come up on a plane in under 10 seconds, and within another 10 we have hit 20 knots with very little bow rise and no trim tab required.
Shortly after we are on plane, the engine RPMs climb to 2500 and I look at the GPS and see we are doing 22.5 knots. This is definitely not your grandfather’s trawler! At wide-open throttle, the SmartCraft® engine management system indicates a total fuel consumption of 50 gph, which gives us a respectable 0.45 mpg.
At this speed the weather helm is a bit too cold for me, so I take the opportunity to go below to experience the quietness of the saloon while running at wide-open throttle. Even at this speed, normal conversation is possible while those big Cummins hum away just under the cabin sole.
Grand Banks has clearly put quite a bit of effort into keeping engine noise in check. At the lower helm the visibility is good as our trim is near perfect. Even at high speed the boat is so stable that it is easy to move around the interior spaces. A quick look out the side windows and you get the feeling of how fast we are going through the 2-foot wind chop and the occasional ferry wake.
For the next hour, we take turns making high-speed runs, slow-speed runs, twists and turns so that the camera boat can get some good shots. We find areas with good wind chop and welcome the opportunity to encounter wakes from the passing ferries.
As hard as I try, it is not possible to find a sea condition that upsets the 47 Heritage. She takes everything I can find in stride at both 8.5 knots and 22.5 knots, and the handling characteristics instill confidence. It’s pretty clear that the modified deep-V hull of the 47EU offers performance at planing speeds and yet still provides an efficient and comfortable go-slow boat that will cruise a long way on a tank of fuel.
At 8.5 knots the SmartCraft shows a total fuel consumption of 4 gph. I was right about one thing: we can go a few days on 100 gallons at this speed.
Although I’m willing to keep running around the Bay, John tells me that we do need to head back to Sausalito. As we depart Belvedere Cove and bring the boat to a nice cruise of 18 knots, I see the Tiburon Ferry just rounding the west side of Angel Island and we get one more chance to run a good-sized wake. By now I’m not surprised that we just slice through the 4-foot wake with just a slight bounce.
Docking at the sales dock with a gusty beam wind only required a few bursts with the bow thruster. The wind doesn’t seem to have much effect on these 50,000 pounds of boat.
Back at the dock we have time to wander around a bit more and in one of the lockers we find the signature Grand Banks step plates. These are highly polished plates that are mounted on the sill at each entry point.
Apparently they are in high demand and tend to disappear from vessels while in transit from the Far East, so Oceanic Yachts installs them when the vessel is commissioned. Well, actually, as a new owner of a Grand Banks from Oceanic Yachts, you get to drill the first 15 holes in your new yacht and mount the step plates.
What Makes The Grand Banks So Special?
Grand Banks started manufacturing the predecessor of the heritage series in 1964, building this trawler-style boat with a wood hull in Hong Kong. In 1973, Grand Banks opened a new factory in Singapore to build these boats from fiberglass and then in 1995 opened the current factory in Malaysia where almost all of the Grand Banks are manufactured today.
In 1993, Grand Banks introduced the Eastbay line of the modern lobster boat for those customers who wanted a high-quality boat that is faster than the traditional Grand Banks. The 47 Heritage is designed to look like the displacement cruisers of the past but have the performance of the successful Eastbay. The best of both are combined to make the Heritage a successful line of boats.
The 44 Heritage was introduced in 2005 and after hull 10 the cockpit was lengthened and the current 47 Heritage was born. We are on hull number 90, which shows just how successful this boat has been since its introduction.
Almost all of the boat systems are shipped from the United States to Malaysia for installation in the boat. Engines, heat/AC, electronics, and even all of the stainless steel components come from U.S. suppliers. Legendary quality, high resale value, and a loyal following make the Grand Banks special.
The Grand Banks 47 Heritage EU is all-new and shows off the features of the new generation Heritage Series. Flybridge stairs lift up on gas-assist pistons to provide access to the engine room. The galley is all on one level with the saloon. The large covered aft deck and side decks are part of the Heritage EU’s signature. A huge flybridge has a wet bar, lots of storage for bulky items, plus a settee and table.
Grand Banks hired a professional design company to revise the interior appointments to be more yacht-like, but the teak interior and superb craftsmanship retain plenty of Grand Banks tradition. Performance has been upgraded in this new generation of Grand Banks, with a modified deep-V hull and keel. 500-hp Cummins QSC8.3 are standard but our test boat had the optional 550-hp QSC8.3’s, which bring the top speed up a tick to 26 knots and a cruise of 22 knots.
The 47EU fits between the 41EU and the 52EU in the Heritage two-cabin, galley-up layouts. Grand Banks also offers the 47CL in a two- or three-cabin layout with the master stateroom aft and a galley down.
While underway or sitting at the dock, I have decided the best spot for a glass of port and cigar is in the cockpit. The only problem I see is that most of my friends would probably spill port on those beautiful teak decks and then I would have to clean them. I suggested to John that if he were to get a couple of teak deck chairs that I would bring the port and cigars for the next Bay cruise – I mean sea trial.
I’m pretty sure that if you contact Rick Peterson or John Baier they will be happy to arrange your own sea trial. John Baier has been the exclusive Northern California dealer for Grand Banks since 1991 and has a vast knowledge of the Grand Banks yachts.
2 staterooms, 2 heads
|Fresh Water:||260 gallons|
|Black water:||77 gallons|
|QSC8.3L, 550 hp|
For more information, contact Oceanic Yacht Sales, 308 Harbor Dr., Sausalito, CA., 415/331 0533
66 September 2011 BAY & DELTA YACHTSMAN www.YachtsmanMagazine.com By Pat Carson