The new flagship in Beneteau’s Grand Trawler line sports an efficient hull form ideal for long-range cruising with a surprising top end.
The first time I saw a Beneteau trawler yacht was at the Düsseldorf show. The boat was up on its stand with no concealing skirt or cladding, and to say I was bemused as I crouched down to look at its underwater shape would be an understatement. It looked like the bottom of a box, with flat sections and a vestigial skeg, and a couple of spindly-looking propeller shafts sticking out. Trawler? Not in my book.
That was 2003. Obviously, I am the last person any boatbuilder ought to seek advice from, because Beneteau’s key idea of marrying trawler styling to a fully planing hull turned out to be a stroke of genius. The Swift Trawler range has been a runaway success, with more than 1,300 sold so far.
The new flagship of the French giant’s trawler range sees a change in nomenclature to match a change in approach. Beneath the waterline, the Grand Trawler 62 possesses a very different kind of hull, of round-bilge form with a fine entry, a prominent knuckle leading back from the stem, a pair of spray rails forward and pronounced propeller tunnels. Speed is not what the Grand Trawler is about.
Beneteau Grand Trawler 62
But appearances can be deceptive. Although Beneteau’s designers optimized this hull for efficient long-range cruising at 9 knots, the new Grand Trawler is as capable as its Swift sisters of picking up the pace: Beneteau advertises a top end of 20 knots. No claims are made for its efficiency at that speed, however, nor its range.
I caught up with the 62 at the Cannes boat show. It’s an imposing piece of work, towering over the pontoon, its height exaggerated by the enormous overhanging flybridge molding and huge fiberglass hardtop some 20 feet above the waterline. The high bow, deep bulwarks and raked windshield give it a businesslike air. It’s also pretty beamy, at nearly 18 feet across, and a glance at the layout shows how, in spite of the hull’s fine entry, above the waterline this voluminous width is carried all the way to the bow, maximizing the space inside. It feels roomy—headroom throughout the interior is a comfortable 6 feet, 6 inches or more, with plenty of useful stowage space, and the beds are all full-size.
The lower deck accommodation comes with either three or four cabins, and our three-cabin show boat had the generous full-beam master stateroom amidship. In the four-cabin layout this area becomes two twin berths, while the forward stateroom serves as the master. That too is an impressive space, with its double bed offset to one side and its big hull windows, which admit plenty of daylight. The third cabin, to port, is a twin. All the twin berths are supplied with infills for quick conversion into doubles.
With its substantial side windows, the main deck is a bright and welcoming space, while both galley and helm have their own doors out to the side decks. The dining table, on the starboard side, slides out of the way when not in use, revealing a useful handrail, and it has convenient stowage for its four folding chairs. Another great design feature is the small raised sofa on the port side of the helm station, perfect for the navigator keeping an eye on things when under way.
The level of practical detailing on the boat is reassuring. Hinges, catches and handles are robust and well made, and the simple, right-angled layout is space-efficient. The galley’s garbage-disposal system deserves a special mention—the sack beneath the circular lid in the worktop is retrieved from the side deck via an external hatch, so you don’t have to carry trash through the salon.
At 333 square feet, the 62’s flybridge is big enough to seat everyone invited on board, and their friends, with room enough aft to accommodate a PWC or a small tender, hoisted up by the 880-pound crane. The main tender sits on the hydraulic swim platform, which has the same lift capability. Plexiglass aft panels on both the flybridge and the cockpit improve the view and make these already spacious deck areas seem even more so. The hinged cushions on the foredeck switch between sunbed and sofa, and plexiglass doors across the side decks shelter the cockpit from the breeze when at anchor.
Unlike Düsseldorf, at the Cannes show you can’t crawl around underneath the exhibits unless you’ve brought dive gear, but you can take them out to sea. There was a light chop in the bay, nothing serious, but beam-on to the waves with its stabilizer disengaged, the 62 displayed an insistent roll, which had me looking round to see how many people we had on the flybridge (a lot), and then got me glancing up to gauge the weight of that enormous hardtop. If there were a bimini option I would probably go for it, for its lighter weight. I would definitely opt for the gyro.
A hull optimized for 9 knots is not optimized for planing. Needing to satisfy that top speed requirement, Beneteau offers just the one engine option, a pair of 730-hp MANs. The engine room is an excellent space, beautifully engineered and fitted out with a thoroughness and care that will be immensely reassuring to those owners who really plan to use the 62’s range and go cruising—those owners who, in other words, don’t actually need all that horsepower, because they will be using the yacht as a displacement passagemaker.
We obviously had to test the shipyard’s claims for the 62’s top speed. Yes, it can go 20 knots. But naturally enough, the fuel consumption curve heads for the sky as soon as you push the throttles home and exceed the design’s notional hull speed of around 9.8 knots on a waterline length of 54 feet. Between 9 knots and 12.8, fuel consumption triples, and range more than halves. Again, speed is not what this boat is about.
However, as we focused on that sweet spot of 9 knots, with the gyro on line, the 62 felt like a different boat. That round-bilge hull shape came into its own, cleaving through the water with calm authority and a steady gait as our numerous boat show attendees settled down to enjoy the cruise. With an easy motion and low noise levels, the Grand Trawler gave us a taste of how she would fare on a long trip—relaxing, comfortable, dependable.
The sun began to dip down over the red hills behind La Napoule in a hot orange glow as the sky darkened overhead and clouds cast out fan-shaped shadows. Someone opened the galley fridge and started passing out beers, which suddenly seemed like the best possible idea after a long day. Getting back was no longer a priority. It didn’t matter how long it might take. After all, speed is not what the Grand Trawler is all about.
Beneteau Grand Trawler 62 Test Report
Beneteau Grand Trawler 62 Specifications:
Displ.: 61,729 lbs. (dry)
Fuel: 1,022 gal.
Water: 222 gal.
Power: 2/730-hp MAN i6 730s
Price: $1.9 million