The ability to cast off lines and disappear for a few days is part of the allure of boating. It does happen, but the vast majority of boaters seldom spend even a night or two aboard.
Beneteau created the Gran Turismo 35 for exactly the way most people use their boats — boating by day and entertaining at the dock or at anchor in the evenings.
The entire boat, from bow to stern, provides practical outdoor living space. Designer Fernando de Almeida maximized comfort and utility above deck, created a daytime or evening retreat below, and still provided for an occasional overnight aboard.
The Air Step hull, created by Beneteau Power, maximizes fuel economy while benefiting stability and handling.
|Max Headroom||N/A||Bridge Clearance||N/A|
|Prices, features, designs, and equipment are subject to change. Please see your local dealer or visit the builder's website for the latest information available on this boat model.|
|Std. Power||2 x 300-hp Volvo Penta V8 5.7 Stern Drives|
|Tested Power||Currently no test numbers|
Mission of the Beneteau Gran Turismo 35
Tied up at the dock after a fun day on the water, as the twilight blue-purple sky silhouettes the hills across the harbor and the first stars shine overhead, it’s natural to contemplate a week-long cruise taking in neighboring harbors, or even extended travel to distant anchorages.
Then reality strikes. Work beckons. Kids have school, sports and activities. The family loves a day playing on the boat, but anything more just isn’t going to happen.
Unfortunately, most boats devote premium space to overnight accommodations that are seldom used, in part because builders know that buyers’ daydreams of extended getaways sell boats.
Realizing that many boat buyers have come to terms with their weekday free-time challenges, Beneteau created the Gran Turismo line.
This Gran Turismo 35 is the latest and, to date, the smallest in a line of boats that maximize features that benefit day trips and evening entertaining while devoting just a bit of space to accommodate an occasional night or two aboard.
A large stern platform and direct access from the helm to the bow extends the Gran Turismo 35’s outdoor living areas.
The Gran Turismo 35 maximizes use of all space above deck, from bow to stern.
The dash includes a full array of engine instruments plus room for electronics while keeping a low profile for good visibility forward.
Helm. Day trips start and end at the helm. A bench seat here comfortably seats two.
The dash includes a full array of engine instruments plus space for navigation electronics, including the optional Simrad 12’’ multifunction display that handles charting, radar, and depth, as well as a Simrad VHF radio and autopilot.
The Sonic HUB sound system, also controlled through the Simrad touchscreen at the helm, connects to an iPod or any other MP3 device.
Both a bow thruster and trim tabs are optional, but both come down to cruising area demands and personal preference on a 35-foot stern drive boat.
Joystick control is an available option.
The expansive Bimini top aft of the arch, and another forward of the arch, create a huge outdoor covered area.
Extended Bimini Top. Two optional folding Bimini tops extend both forward and aft from the arch, creating a huge, protected outdoor living space.
LED lights in the fiberglass arch extend activities past sunset.
The cockpit table folds open for dining, or lowers and folds closed for cocktails, or lowers further into a sun pad with an insert cushion.
Cockpit Dinette and Lounge. Beneath that top, the cockpit dinette provides plenty of space for dining, or the table folds in half lengthwise and drops to become a cocktail table.
With the table lowered farther and a filler cushion inserted, the dinette becomes a large sun pad, either shaded or not depending on whether the aft Bimini is deployed
The angled backrest of this starboard bench seat accommodates standing headroom in the aft cabin.
Across the cockpit on the starboard side, a bench seat with backrest is also a full-length lounge with the forward part of the lounge fixed in a partly reclined position.
Storage beneath is intended for a life raft, though inland boaters can fit fenders and dock lines here.
Cockpit Galley. On the port side, across from the helm, a cockpit galley includes an icebox, sink and glassware storage below.
The hatch in the stern platform in the foreground is intended for a stern anchor, but it’s also great for dock lines or watersports equipment.
Outdoor Living Extends Aft to the Water’s Edge. A particularly large stern platform extends beyond the cockpit and adds many square feet of open deck. A tall fiberglass door between the cockpit and stern platform latches securely closed for safety, or it latches open, out of the way when it isn’t needed.
Without this optional stern island, with its large grill and sink, the GT 35's transom looks just like other Beneteau sterns.
One optional feature converts an ordinary transom into a stern cooking island, which includes a large sink and electric grill. A stainless steel handrail wrapping the island provides a secure handhold across most of the stern platform, and teak decks are standard here, providing excellent traction even when wet.
A set of steps lead up to the starboard gunnel for boarding high fixed docks, and a wide space with nonskid decks, both port and starboard, provide easy boarding from floating docks.
A swim ladder stowed beneath the teak deck and a hot and cold freshwater shower are standard. A locker within the port side of the stern platform drains overboard, so it’s perfect for a stern anchor, snorkel gear or watersports equipment.
Outdoor Living Extends Forward to the Bow. Fiberglass steps located between the helm and companionway door lead up through an opening windscreen to the bow with a stainless steel handrail to aid passage.
Folding backrests turn flat bow sun pads into chaise lounges.
Sun pads Double as Chaise Lounges. Rigid folding backrests hidden beneath bow cushions turn the large, flat sun pads into chaise lounges.
The walkthrough direct from cockpit to bow also makes docking and anchoring safer and more convenient, as does the standard anchor, swiveling bow anchor roller and windlass with handheld remote control.
Since the bow is accessed directly from the cockpit with steps leading through the windshield, Beneteau eliminated side decks and widened useable space.
Limiting Side Decks Widens Useable Cockpit Space. The windshield passageway directly from the helm to the bow also eliminates the need for side decks, so Beneteau widened the entire helm and cockpit area, providing the space here of a larger boat.
The dinette forward and main sleeping cabin aft are opposite of what is common on boats this size, but this layout better utilizes interior space during day and evening entertaining.
Most boaters spend little time below deck. Frankly, the reason is most boat cabins focus on overnight accommodations, limiting practical use by day. Beneteau’s Gran Turismo line takes the opposite approach, building a cabin with entertaining in mind and then adding comfortable overnight accommodations as a secondary function.
The forward dinette table lowers to form a V-berth bed with a filler cushion.
Forward Dinette Instead of V-berth. Where most boats in this size range place a V-berth double bed, Beneteau instead designed a dinette that comfortably seats five.
Plenty of light through hull-side deadlights and air through two hull-side opening ports and an overhead hatch, make the cabin inviting when inclement weather or dusk-time flying critters require a retreat below. When there isn’t a breeze, the optional 16,000 BTU air conditioner and generator cool the cabin.
The table drops to form a double bed for the odd time it’s needed without sacrificing the bow to overnight needs.
Galley. A minimalist galley includes a stainless steel sink, refrigerator and electric two-burner ceramic cooktop.
Counter space and storage are more than adequate, considering most day boaters bring pre-prepared food aboard or plan to use the galley above deck galley or the grill at the stern.
The head is intended mostly for daytime use, although it does include a pull-around curtain and retractible faucet for a shower.
Head. The head provides the basics — a marine toilet, sink and a bit of storage. Cruisers might wish for a separate stall shower, as this boat includes only a pull-around curtain and lift-out sink faucet. But keeping with the day boat concept, Beneteau rightly chose not to waste space for a shower that is seldom used, if ever.
Aft Sleeping Cabin. A couple cruising alone might not want to drop the dining table to make their bed each night, so a double bed tucked aft, beneath the helm area, provides ample overnight accommodations. One benefit is the bed here is rectangular, not triangular like a bow V-berth.
Large hull-side deadlights bring in plenty of light and a view of surroundings, and one port opens for fresh air.
Standing Headroom. While the tradeoff here is a low overhead above the bed, the Gran Turismo 35 does provide standing headroom alongside the bed, and sitting headroom on the edge of the bed.
The Gran Turismo is intended primarily for day trips, so fun underway is particularly important.
Propulsion and Performance
Volvo Penta 300-hp Stern Drives. Beneteau offers just one propulsion package for the boat, a pair of Volvo Penta V8 5.7 300-hp sterndrives. Contra-rotating propellers on each drive, down deep where they bite into clean water, help stern drives maximize speed and fuel economy.
Stern drives also add the ability to trim the bow up or down for better control and comfort when the sea kicks up, and tilting drives help when running in shallow water.
Trim Tabs. Trim tabs are optional, but with trimmable drives, adding trim tabs benefits primarily rough-water operation. In a head sea, it’s sometimes helpful to trim stern drives to lift the bow over the waves, while simultaneously giving the stern added lift by deflecting tabs down a bit.
Bow Thruster. Utility of the optional bow thruster depends on the boating area — surely a huge benefit where wind and current might run opposite each other or where narrow slips are common, but a thruster is far from imperative in a current-free lake with predominantly side-to docking.
Horsepower to Weight. While 600 total horsepower is low among competitors, as is the 129-gallon (488 L) fuel tank, the Gran Turismo 35 weighs between 2,000 and 5,000 lbs. (907 to 2,268 kg) lighter than those competitors, boosting both speed and range.
Air Step Advantage. Beneteau’s patented Air Step hull also increases economy and speed by about 20% in side-by-side comparisons. (See below.)
Expected Performance. Beneteau anticipates 30-mph cruising speed and 120-mile range from the Gran Turismo 35.
Generator and Air Conditioner. The optional 5 kW generator along with the 16,000 BTU cabin air conditioner are both installed at the factory.
Light weight construction and Beneteau’s Air Step hull combine for solid performance with less horsepower and better economy than needed for a heavier boat.
The hull is injection-molded and a vacuum is pulled to complete the process. Balsa is used in the hull and no synthetic core material can equal its puncture strength versus weight. Delamination is also far less likely with a properly manufactured balsa core vs. other materials. Anywhere thru-hull fittings attach to the boat, the balsa is replaced with large solid fiberglass pads. The transom is similarly reinforced. Because a coat of vinylester resin is used below the waterline, hydrostatic water osmosis is not a danger.
Measured Weight. Beneteau cuts fiberglass by computer, with the strands of each piece oriented to maximize strength, and then they infuse precisely the correct volume of their proprietary resin into the mold. This assures complete bonds between the balsa core and fiberglass inner and outer skins, as well as the ideal ratio of resin to fiberglass through every inch of the boat.
The result is not only light, but also provides a thinner hull for its strength than PVC core -- inches saved inside the boat.
Beneteau’s Air Step hull draws air from the bow and distributes that air within a recessed area beneath the stern to decrease drag and increase efficiency.
Air Step Technology
The Step. Cutting a step into a hull -- a sudden change in a boat’s bottom, running from chine to keel, which steps the stern section of the hull up a few inches closer to the water’s surface -- dates back to early twentieth-century hydrofoil race boats.
Suction from the boat’s forward motion draws air in through the notch created where the stepped bottom and hull side meet at the chine. That air funnels beneath the stern, allowing the entire back of the boat to ride on a theoretical cushion of air bubbles. The air cushion reduces drag, thereby increasing speed, fuel economy or both.
Drawback to Traditional Stepped Hulls. But stepped hulls can be a bit tricky to run right around minimum planing speed, where they may accelerate or decelerate noticeably without changing the throttle, as more or less air is drawn beneath the boat.
Drawing Air from Elsewhere
Air Step, Mark I. Beneteau’s Air Step technology, which we tested in 2011, gains the efficiency of a step but overcomes this medium-speed problem by drawing air beneath to the keel distribution point by means of air tubes from topside.
Because Beneteau’s hull brings air from above, rather than relying on notches cut into the chine, the Air Step increases efficiency before the boat reaches planing speed.
The result, according to our side-by-side comparison of the original Air Step design using two 24’, 4,400 lb. hulls – one with Air Step and another identical but non-vented, was a 20% increase in fuel economy. Stunningly, the vented boat we tested, powered by a pair of 115-hp outboards, outperformed its non-vented sister ship powered by twin 140-hp outboards.
Increased Stability and Tighter Turning
Beneteau contains the air bubbles sucked below in a recessed section of boat bottom that spans most of the width of the boat, but stops before reaching the chines. This keeps direct boat-to-water contact at the outboard edge of the hull, where it adds stability and aids in sharp turns.
Besides her stylish curves, the Gran Turismo 35 compares favorably to others for boaters particularly interested in local boating, not lengthy cruises.
Beneteau’s light-weight construction and Air Step hull promises better economy than most boats in her class, although this likely will mean more to distance cruisers than it does to boaters staying near their home port.
Increased space and utility above deck, including two topside areas for preparing meals, are among the Gran Turismo 35’s biggest assets.
The tradeoffs of a smaller galley and tighter overnight accommodations below are balanced by Beneteau’s use of the space above that are better suited to day trips.
Price and Options
Standard features include the teak cockpit table and swim platform teak deck. Ground tackle and an electric windlass are also standard, as is a hot and cold shower at the transom shower.
Most options, such as joystick controls, bow thruster and trim tabs, tend to vary in importance based on locale.
Others, like the stern cooking island, are purely personal preference.
While intended for day boating, the Beneteau Gran Turismo 35 does make a capable overnighter, and better utilization of space for daytime activities benefits nearly all boaters.
Whether intending to spend an occasional weekend aboard or not, why sacrifice premium space aboard for amenities only used while cruising?
= Standard = Optional
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