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Highfield Boats - Power - LEADERBOARD

Drop dead gorgeous!

by John Curnow, Global Editor, 10 Dec 2019 14:00 PST
Drop Dead Gorgeous - New Palm Beach GT60. Say no more. (Except that she is really quick.) © John Curnow

And that's just her in profile. Wait until you see her down below... Palm Beach's latest, the GT60, goes well into the 40s, but it is her statement in curves that is totally spellbinding. So before the official figures come out, and you see what she can do on such little fuel, just think about that ride, because it is something special.

Her Master just calls her 'The Weapon'. So given that almost unclassifiable enjoyment is the mission, I am pretty sure she is bang on target. Now there are almost 800 souls at Grand Banks' immense and über-clean factory, building these virtually bespoke gems. Just last week they had their annual luncheon for all from security to laminating, upholstery to woodwork, and it was a grand affair under just one of the three massive 'halls' that comprise the core of their facility.

Apart from anything it was kind of like a celebration for all the effort they go to when creating the new range of Grand Banks, Eastbay, Palm Beach, and GT product lines. Over the last couple of years there has been the GB60, the GT50, and very recently the PB70 that is garnering seriously great reviews - and those glowing accolades are from the owners of the first few!

The spate of new models does not stop there, however. In fact those just named are but the tip of the proverbial iceberg, as the new GB54 has only just gone in the water for the first time. Large enough to offer your own peace and tranquillity, yet small enough to be handled easily by a couple, you can start thinking of the Great Loop, island hopping in the Caribbean, crossing The Ditch, or making Noumea, right now.

The GT60 will be unveiled to all at the Miami International Boat Show. If you can secure one of these twin 1000hp gems you will not be upset. Not many craft look as good standing still, as they do when blasting along at over 40 knots. This boat has one other ace to play - she does so at probably half of the fuel burn of most of the others that can achieve this sort of pace. Number five is out of the mould right now, so perhaps six could be yours?

After these two will be the GT70, and then the spectacular GB85. The latter's hull has just come out of the mould, and the 3D milling machine churned out all the tooling that the dedicated crews have worked feverishly on to fair so cleanly, thereby delivering immaculate plugs for the moulds to be created from. Apart from grandeur, the GB85 will deliver voluminous space. She could well be the equivalent of a traditional 100-footer, and that would certainly be the case if you were comparing something that was able to offer the same kind of express pace.

So the big reveals may not all be about upscale motor yachts. There definitely seems to be an entry-level product somewhere in the mix of the Grand Banks stable. I would imagine there is a very specific price point in mind, which will be great for anyone looking to have something smaller, yet retain the famous design and build qualities that the greater Grand Banks organisation is known for. Apart from the one-piece screens in the GT boats, everything is done at the factory. Everything. Best of all, they are done with supreme dedication, and an eye for detail not often seen any more...

Elsewhere on the planet

Must have been the month for factory tours. At the annual Maritimo briefing it was quite evident just how well their new Maritimo One custom division has been performing.

The team at Coomera were finishing up a new Maritimo M64 that has an extensive array of modifications, albeit not the fishing transom. This boat, along with the X50 next to it, are heading over to the Miami Boat Show for the big reveal there. Further along there was another vessel, an M59, and it too was part of the Maritimo One fleet, and was getting the fishing transom you see in the pictures here. When backing down under power, these boats will behave admirably.

Being there with the great man himself, Bill Barry-Cotter, I noticed a splendid grey X50. It turns out that it is actually Bill's new boat. So he very kindly posed for me at the bow, which is what you see here.

It seems that inside the production hull format there are quite a few customers looking to get their wishes met, and only a few builders, such as Maritimo One, are making the effort to oblige.

Short Takes

Galeon delivered the new 680 Fly with its floating design taking its inspiration from waves to give it a curvaceous appearance. It comes on the back of their 640 Fly receiving several awards.

Stabilisation is a very hot topic as more and more vessels of smaller sizes look to tame the motion. For ages fins and then gyros were the options, but DMS is certainly offering alternatives, including their MagnusMaster and Universal Control System. Overall, stabilisation is a subject in itself, and we will address it soon. In the meantime, here is a video that is pretty handy at explaining what DMS has done.

Nova Luxe deserves more than a fleeting mention for their work in electric and Diesel/Electric propulsion, so we will look to establish some more content on that soon.

Finally, I had looked forward to a blast in the 61 knot Technohull Omega 45, after experiencing 100mph backwards in the Labsports 21, and 60 knots forwards in the Ribco 28R. Alas the bushfires Australia is currently experiencing put paid to that with Sydney Harbour becoming a total grey out. What I can say is that at 8-12 knots it was an incredible ride that filled you with confidence to kick on. I will if I am offered the chance once more...

OK. Today you will find that we have information for you about changes to the chartering laws in Australia ahead of the America's Cup in NZL, new Sealine C390v, Sunseeker's 161, Vovlo Penta gives Dockmate the big tick, Princess X95, Lexus LY 650, Beneteau Antares 11, Bavaria SR41, Navico's Knut Frostad, Great Barrier Reef, Nanni Diesels repower a classic Halvorsen, DutchCraft 25, Fairline at Düsseldorf, Silent Yachts tri-deck 80, Vicem 65 Classic, as well as much, much more below.

So as you see, there are stories, lessons, inspirations and history to regale yourself with. Please do savour... We're really enjoying bringing you the best stories from all over the globe. If you want to add to that, then please make contact with us via email.

Remember too, if you want to see what is happening in the other parts of the group, go to the top of the Powerboat-World home page and the drag down menu on the right, select the site you want to see and, voila, it's all there for you.

Speak with you again, very, very soon. Time to go boating now...

John Curnow
Global Editor,

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