Today I had an opportunity to show one of the quintessential trawlers of the age – a Grand Banks 36′ Classic listed by Bob Starr at Virginia Yacht Brokers. I’ve done business with Bob and Chuck Grice at VYB and its always a pleasure to make a return visit. The showing was on behalf of clients with whom I’ve been in contact since 2011 when I met them at the Annapolis powerboat show.
The GB 36 Classic is a trawler in the truest sense. It doesn’t try to be anything it’s not and what it does do it does very well. For cruising economically at 7 or 8 knots this boat is tough to beat. It fits a cruising couple. Any designer will tell you that fitting the kind of accommodations this boat has into 36 feet while remaining pleasing to the eye is a real challenge. It’s even more of a challenge when you want traditional lines and you’re not willing to skimp, or do away entirely, with side decks capable of being traversed by an average size human without gymnastics. The GB 36 side decks are easily navigated, and securely at that. The cabin features exterior doors on both port and starboard side which is a bonus and makes for easier short handed close quarters maneuvering. There’s over 6’2″ of headroom in the cabin yet the exterior profile is not overly tall. The flybridge will seat a crowd and the cockpit is plenty big enough to plop down a couple deck chairs. Visibility from the flybridge helm is splendid with not only a clear view of the bow, within gentle talking distance of the mate on ground tackle duty, but with clear sightlines aft to both port and starboard quarters.
The aft master wouldn’t be called overly spacious by most standards but its big enough. There’s direct access to the aft cockpit too which makes great ventilation a breeze. (Sorry) Yes, it’s a wet head, but like all boats this one is a compromise and fitting a separate shower stall back here isn’t feasible without shrinking cabin space too much. The forward cabin v-berth is spacious enough if all you really plan to do down there is be horizontal.
Storage abounds on this vessel. It’s everywhere. The engine room, particularly in a single engine installation, is roomy. To me, the boat’s proportions work together in a harmonious package. Then again, when you build 1,200 of the same model boat you must be doing something right.
The example we viewed has a single engine (CAT 3208) and with its bow thruster maneuvering is straightforward. The model was available with twins but for my money single engine is the way to go in this hull.
There is usually a handful of these vessels available on the brokerage market but as these old gals are getting pretty long in the tooth it pays to be picky when looking for one to go after. The model we looked at today is 26 years old. The best made boat is at the mercy of its owner(s) and without diligent attention will fall off the proverbial cliff if not properly maintained.
And so today, I was glad to see that this particular boat did indeed enjoy good care for much of her life. Most importantly the clients liked the boat. We may have another happy set of GB 36 owners in the offing.