Grand Banks 70 Aleutian CP — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Part 2: The pilothouse had a shipshape, sanctuarial feel, and the saloon—down several steps from the pilothouse—was both open and bright.
Because the wind was blowing so noisily, we retired to the pilothouse to record sound levels. The results were endearing, with readings at 1000 rpm registering below the level of normal conversation (67) and at WOT peaking at just 74 d-BA. The 70’s construction is at the bottom of these results. Airex composite coring in the supersturcture, bulkheads, soles, and hull sides (the hull bottom is solid glass to the waterline), in addition to a wholly integrated assembly of FRP stringers and transversals, help attenuate sound and vibration. So does an engineering regime that seals off the machinery spaces with thick Freeman doors, a thorough blanketing of noise-nixing lead-and-foam insulation, and numerous layers of rock-wool insulation as well. Secondarily glassing firewalls and bulkheads all the way around and sealing off all wiring and plumbing penetrations through bulkheads doesn’t hurt, either.
We took on fuel at the pine-fringed Lakewood Yacht Club near Seabrook after the sea trial, since Bettis was heading across the Gulf in the morning, delivering our boat to Florida. The maneuvering balletics that preceded the process were a delight to behold. While strolling the weather deck trailing a long electrical cord, Bettis used a small Twin Disc control box (see photo on page 99) to operate the main engines as well as the Naiad hydraulic bow thruster. With sightlines galore, he spun the 70 around and laid her alongside Lakewood’s dock with absolutely no help from anyone. All I had to do was cleat a line or two.
The complexity of our engine room—accessed via either a main-deck hatch on the starboard side or a Freeman watertight door in the cockpit bulkhead—dictated I spend lots of time perusing its contents. The task was a cheery one, however, highlighted by the presence of great equipage like Delta ‘T’ demisters with emergency blower shutdowns, two big waterheaters, and two big gensets, Tides Marine dripless shaft logs (with Strong self-aligning seals), a fuel-polishing system from Racor, a whopping total of eight 8D batteries and a big 4,000-watt Trace inverter for big-league electrical firepower, and a giant, well-stocked (but optional) Husky toolbox. At just under six feet, headroom was excellent, and there were lots of lights overhead: six D.C.s and four A.C. fluorescents.
Bettis and I toured the interior of our 70 together after we’d returned her to Seabrook. It was just as flawlessly fashioned as the ER. On the pilothouse deck, the U-shape galley sported high-end brand names like Sub-Zero and Miele, the dinette to port (with fore and aft seating) was situated within easy conversational range of the helm, and the stairway to the flying bridge was an easy, residential-style climb. The pilothouse had a shipshape, sanctuarial feel, and the saloon—down several steps from the pilothouse—was both open and bright, mostly thanks to the numerous windows that enclose it. There were four staterooms on the lower deck, which is accessed from the pilothouse: a VIP at the bow, a port-side guest abaft, a full-beam master stateroom amidships, and directly behind it, a full-beam living area for the crew. Our 70 had an optional layout wherein the guest was configured as an office but could be easily converted into a stateroom with a double berth.
“Great spot to pretend yer workin’!” grinned Bettis as he backed out of the office and bounded tiger-like up the stairway to the pilothouse. I bounded right behind him.
Which made sense, really. The Grand Banks Aleutian 70 CP is a pretty inspiring boat, with plenty of style, speed, and cruising potential.
Hey, she made me feel like a kid again, too.
Grand Banks ( (206) 352-1711. www.grandbanks.com.
This article originally appeared in the August 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.