Grand Banks – Aleutian 76RP
The new flagship yacht from Grand Banks, the Aleutian 76, is a conventional yacht with modern convenience and good design, offering comfort and reliability at sea for long range cruising
Grand Banks is one of the most established motor yacht builders in the world, renowned for their fine looking, serious cruising yachts. This latest addition to the range, the flagship Aleutian 76, maintains the tradition of Grand Banks and offers comfortable cruising in a traditional environment with all the comforts of home. The look may be conservative, but the equipment and out-fitting is fully up to date. The 76 offers everything that a cruising man could desire.
From the moment you step on-board, you are embraced by the rich tones of traditional teak, raw teak outside for the bulwark capping and on the decks, and beautifully-crafted teak inside where the grain is emphasised by the rich matt finish. It looks like the 76 has half a rainforest of teak. But Grand Banks is able to obtain its teak from renewable resources so there is no embarrassment in this indulgence. Despite the use of a wide variety of new and different woods on many modern yachts, teak still retains its nautical appeal.
Classic form and function
There is much in the 76 that follows convention, but it is a tried and tested convention that works well. The aft cockpit has a raw teak table with a transom settee and wicker chairs that form the perfect sitting area for evenings in port or at anchor. There is a steep ladder up to the flybridge. However, the main access to the flybridge is likely to be the stairway from the wheelhouse.
On the flybridge, there is a panoramic view from the central helm, which has two comfortable captain’s chairs. Behind this is a small sitting out area with corner settees and tables, which leaves the whole of the aft area that extends right to the stern for the stowage of the tender and for sun loungers. An electric barbecue and a bar counter are installed behind the seats, making the whole area the focus for outdoor living in fine weather. The forward section of the flybridge is protected by the optional fixed Bimini that extends out from the arch mast. There is a smaller stainless steel arch above this for the antenna and lights.
One level down is the wheelhouse. Here, a single captain’s chair faces a large vertical wheel. The controls and displays are all in the right place for easy use on long voyages, and the windscreen pillars are commendably narrow to allow good visibility and doors on either side give immediate access to the foredeck via a Portuguese Bridge. This leads first to a pair of seats let into the coach roof and then to the serious anchor platform where twin anchors are installed on the short bowsprit that helps to keep the anchor chain clear of the hull.
The galley is located just aft of the wheelhouse and at the same level and this location this could create distracting lighting in the wheelhouse when cooking and meal preparation is done at night. As on every Grand Banks, food prep is serious business, and the quality of the hob, oven and the other fittings reflects this predilection. There are good working surfaces with raised edges and ample storage, so there are no excuses for not eating well. For casual eating, there is a corner settee in the wheelhouse with a triangle table and this allows guests to socialise with the person at the helm when underway.
The main dining table is aft in the saloon, where once again the teak surroundings embrace you. The dining table has been carefully shaped to fit into the forward corner of the saloon where the matching settee and four chairs allow seating for eight. Large square windows are at the right height to maintain and outside view when seated.
The saloon is narrow by modern standards, but this reflects the priority given to wide, easy-to-use side deck and it adds to the intimacy of the saloon. The windows help to enhance the space although the twin opposing settees aft do look more like an old time railway carriage than the lounge on a 76-footer. The pop-up TV is on the port side so is only visible from the starboard settee.
The star of the show, as with most serious cruising yachts, is in the engine compartment where the two Caterpillar diesels sit comfortably in the full headroom space. Access to all parts is excellent and the various auxiliaries are also located for easy access. Most of the important systems such as the air conditioning and the generators are doubled up to give an added measure of reliability. In particular, the fuel system had double filters to cope with situations where the fuel supply may not be reliable.
The two-bunk crew cabin is located aft with access through a transom door. The crew space is hemmed in with the fuel and water tanks and across the cabin is the laundry area. The transom door opens directly into the cabin with the bathroom enclosed on the port side and a walk forward through the cabin leads to the sealed door to the engine room.
For guests, there is the VIP cabin with its high bed located in the bow and a twin cabin on the port side. There is provision for a second twin bunk guest cabin, but an option here is to have this space as an office with a pull out berth. The full-width master cabin is amidships and is a wonderful calm space with an unusual bathroom aft of the main cabin where you have to go down steps to the lower level bathroom. All of the cabins are ensuite.
The propulsion is by means of a conventional shaft and propeller system. The propellers are partially protected in the event of grounding by the deep skeg that runs right aft to give good directional stability. The semi-displacement hull has been designed by the experienced Tom Fexas, and it features a pronounced chine that rises at the bow into a straight stem. This serves to deflect spray away from the hull to give a dry ride. The deck line has a wonderful sheer that is emphasised by the teak bulwark capping and the heavy duty fender rail that serves to protect the hull when outside the comfort of a marina berth. Grand Banks still uses the simulated clinker planking moulded into the topsides for the traditional look.
The well-proven semi-displacement hull gives a lot of flexibility when cruising. With the twin Caterpillar diesels producing a total of 1750 horsepower at full power, the 76 tops out at just over 21 knots, which is hopefully enough to outrun any adverse weather or to make harbour before nightfall. The cruising speed of 16 knots offers good economy on a long cruise and if you come down to ten knots, you can cruise almost forever and virtually ignore the fuel dock. There is a lot to be said for this type of flexible performance when undertaking a serious, long-range cruise, and this is one of the reasons why Grand Banks has been producing their particular brand of yacht for over 50 years.
The low profile is particularly appealing and the 76 is the type of yacht that will get approving glances from other boaters when entering harbour. This is a yacht where you can take the rough with the smooth and get a lot of pleasure and comfort when cruising the world. Designed to offer a high level of luxury this yacht is still small enough to be handled by a crew of two but there is provision for a crew and guests when required.
In Hong Kong: www.asiayachtservices.com
In Singapore: www.premiumnautical.com
Technical Specifications – Grand Banks Aleutian 76
Length overall 23.62 metres
Length waterline 20.40 metres
Beam 6.05 metres
Draft 1.63 metres
Displacement at half load 54,432 kg
Fuel capacity 10,769 litres
Water capacity 1,325 litres
Engines 2 x 885 hp C 18 Caterpillar diesels
Propulsion Shafts and propellers.
Range (estimated) 1100 nm
Builder Grand Banks Yachts