New 60-footer ushers in new era for Eastbay brand.
Grand Banks Eastbay 60
The newcomer to the range helps redefine the Eastbay brand within the GB Marine Group.
Early last summer, I helped an old pal deliver a classic 1980s-era Grand Banks 42 several hundred miles up the ICW. Modeled after the proven heavy-displacement trawlers the company had been churning out since the early 1960s—the North Sea profile, molded-in lapstrake hull, rugged twin diesels, top speeds of 8 to 10 knots—it was a stately ride that was neither quick nor flashy, but got the job done. I’d admittedly lost track of how Grand Banks had evolved over the intervening years until boarding their spanking new Eastbay 60 last September at the Newport boat show. One thing was immediately obvious: This sure as heck isn’t your old man’s (or my buddy’s) Grand Banks.
A brief history lesson was required. Grand Banks launched the Eastbay line in 1993 with their Eastbay 38, an express cruiser with a more contemporary profile borrowed from Down East workboats. A series of models, up to 58 feet, eventually followed. But the major change in the company’s fortunes occurred in 2014, when Grand Banks acquired Australian-based Palm Beach Motor Yachts—a brand named after a famous beach north of Sydney and founded, owned and designed by a legendary Aussie sailor and ocean racer, Mark Richards. Recently, the GB Marine Group announced their decision to have Grand Banks, Palm Beach and Eastbay stand as three independent model lines under their corporate umbrella. It’s a move that speaks to the fact that the Eastbay line should see significant investment in the years ahead.
Richards is a visionary who has seamlessly merged (and expanded) the two firms, which now share manufacturing facilities in Malaysia. Indeed, the Eastbay 60’s deep-V planing hull is identical to that employed on the sporty Palm Beach 65 and the formidable Grand Banks 60. The latter is an extremely updated version of the old tried-and-true concept (though the molded lapstrake topsides remain) that will sip fuel and coast all day at 10 knots, but is also capable of a “high cruise speed” of 22 knots. (That would’ve been an extremely welcome option on our ICW delivery.)
The flagship of the Eastbay range, which currently includes a 44-foot sister ship, the 60, is another matter altogether—a cruiser that will record steady progress at 26 knots and top out at 32 knots when it’s time to get home with dispatch.
“The Eastbay 60 is basically carrying on that heritage that we started back with the 38 but adding a lot of the new technology that we have in our latest Grand Banks and Palm Beach boats—so we’re reinvigorating everything across the board,” said Stephen Fithian, a company consultant who showed me around at the Newport show.
Those technical advancements include carbon-fiber decks and deck house, resin-infused composite layups and a form of modular construction for the belowdeck accommodations, where all the various interior components and furniture are produced on a separate production line, and then incorporated into and bonded with the hull.
Fithian also emphasized the benefits of that deep-V platform: “Unlike the old Grand Banks trawlers, we don’t need weight to drive it, we want to lose weight. Our older boats needed that displacement to make them perform well. It’s a different thing here.”
The model I inspected, hull number one, is powered by robust pod-drive Volvo Penta IPS 1200s, and the smaller IPS 950s are also available. However, if you prefer a traditional shaft-drive propulsion option, you can choose that instead. In fact, with the Eastbay 60 being a semi-custom yacht, when it comes to options and layouts, it basically starts with a blank sheet of paper and choices to be made: the galley arrangements (up in the salon or dashed down below), number of staterooms and heads, floor plan and so on can all be customized to a particular owner’s requirements.
The owner of that first Eastbay 60 certainly made some excellent decisions. The staterooms are sumptuous. The retractable sunroof in the salon is something I’d like to see on more motoryachts, as it brings fresh air and natural light to the well-appointed helm. Appropriating a neat idea from cruising multihulls—the sliding glass window that connects the aft-positioned galley with the comfy cockpit—is particularly well executed. The teak decks and substantial aft boarding/swim platform are nice touches. This is one of those lovely cruisers that, once you step on, you won’t be in any hurry to step off.
I’m making a point of telling my GB 42-owning friend about the Eastbay 60, just in case he hasn’t heard. I think we’d both enjoy a substantial upgrade on our next spin up the ICW.
Grand Banks Eastbay 60 Specifications:
Displ.: 59,500 lbs
Fuel: 1,519 gal.
Water: 300 gal.
Power: 2/900-hp Volvo Penta IPS 1200s;
2/725-hp Volvo Penta IPS 950s
Cruise speed: 25 knots
Top speed: 30 knots
Base Price: $4.1 million
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