Capt. Steve Says…
For 45 years, since introducing the GB 36 in 1964, this venerable builder not only created a whole new class of yacht (the “trawler” yacht) but has dedicated itself to aging yachtsmen ready to take their sundown cruises all over the world. In the beginning the company’s 8-knot trawlers appealed to sailors getting a little too creaky for sailboats, but who couldn’t bring themselves to buy one of the dastardly stinkpots.After a lifetime of shaking their firsts at Sea Ray owners cutting across their sailboat bows, it seemed the only way to save face with their chums at the yacht club was to get a “trawler”. After all, they didn’t go much faster than a sailboat, they had lots of wood inside, there were plenty of places to mount their Weems & Plath barometers and clocks, and just like their sailboat they had only one engine. As they say, the rest is history. And that that is why the traditional Grand Banks yachts are called the Heritage Series.
The 59 Aleutian RP has pleasing trawler-like lines but with big twin engines she will scoot.
Along the way powerboaters saw the virtue of Grand Banks designs and from the mid-1970s on the yard was in a constant state of tension between making their boats go faster and staying with their displacement-speed image. A perfect solution was the Eastbay Series that started out as picnic day boats and quickly developed into Downeast cruisers. And, just as many companies copied the trawler concept, so, too, did other builders discover the Downeast cruiser style of boat.But the line of Grand Banks yachts that is making boaters’ hearts go pitti-pat these days are the Portuguese raised pilothouse trawler-like cruisers that have been popular in the Pacific Northwest specifically and the West Coast generally for decades. Grand Banks calls its line of these vessels its Aleutian Series. They have caught the imagination of the aging baby boomers.
Notice how there are no bulkheads separating the living area from the helm/galley. Not only does this make for an open and airy deck, it also increases visibility aft from the helm.
The smallest of the Aleutian line is 59 RP (raised pilothouse). This is the “transitional” boat for the line because it is designed to take the boater from his express cruiser and evolve him into the world of serious cruising, or if nothing else, then signal to his friends that it is a boat that he could do serious cruising in, if he wanted to.
View looking aft. It looks pretty cozy to us. Note that the table easily seats six and there is a four-burner cooktop. Somewhere you will need to find extra freezer space.
This boat is an interesting combination of concepts. It was designed by Sparkman & Stephens which has long been know as a sailboat design firm which is among the most conservative in the world when it comes making sure a boat has good seakeeping abilities. The hull is a modified deep-V and with twin C-18 1015-hp Cats, and the builder says this boat will travel in excess of 25 knots. That’s pretty fast for a 90,000 lb. displacement boat. Still more impressive is the fact that it will do that with a modified-V hull.Of course she won’t go very far at those speeds, but that is what makes the boat so versatile. If one lives in, say, the New York Metro area, that owner can be to Nantucket in six or seven hours at WOT. Or, if one wanted to cruise to Nova Scotia, she could make Halifax from the NYC metro area on a single tank of fuel. Indeed she could easily go from Newport to Bermuda, or from San Diego to Baja, or from Key West to the Bay Islands. And, why not?
Button up this optional hard top and go nearly anywhere any time.
The Aleutian 59 RP exemplifies the possibilities of long range cruising in comfort while still having power to reach planing speeds for short coastal hops. The combination makes for an attractive package for many people due not only to the advantages of speed, but also because of the fine yacht-like amenities and spacious accommodations of the 59 Aleutian. Let's take a look at them--
Dual Main Deck Layouts…
The versatility of the 59 Aleutian RP starts with the choice of layouts. The standard deck plan features a saloon with a curved settee to port and a high low teak table. To starboard, two separate chairs lie on either side of an entertainment center, with the now standard pop up flat screen on an electrically controlled riser. In the raised pilothouse, the galley is to port. There are no bulkheads to separate this area from the rest of the yacht, which gives a feel of a large, open and airy space, instead of several little cabins. To starboard, the curved dinette and table are on a riser for added visibility.
The 59 Aleutian with the standard main deck layout. Note the separate seats to starboard in the saloon. The settee and table across from the galley are elevated.
In this optional layout, there is a table in the cockpit, a second sofa in the saloon with entertainment center aft. The dinette and table in the pilothouse are no longer elevated on a riser.
Interesting choices and perhaps a combination of the two would be in order. Both layouts have some common features of note. Firstly, the saloon does not extend the full width of the yacht’s beam. This has the advantage of full walk around side decks that meet at the Portuguese bridge. We like that the side decks are both protected from weather and nicely shaded by the full beam flybridge overhead. This design feature also gives a welcome cooling touch to, what would otherwise be a greenhouse effect of the large saloon windows. Another advantage is that it makes line and fender handling much easier. And from off of the boat the side decks make the boat look far more elegant, at least to our New England eyes.
There is nothing quite as grand on a yacht as wide side decks.
The disadvantage of wide side decks is a narrower interior. This has never been a hard decision for the folks at Grand Banks. They will go for wide side decks every time. Both layouts also share a galley dinette that doesn’t face forward, the usual layout for this type of boat. It is, however, still in close proximity to the helm, so the captain isn’t off on his own while piloting the yacht. The galley doesn’t have a full sized standup refrigerator/freezer combination, rather opting for below-counter drawers. This keeps the galley opened up from a visibility standpoint.
Dual Lower Deck Layouts…
The choices don’t end at the main deck. The cabin deck also has dual offerings. The standard arrangement allows for three staterooms and three separate heads.
The standard lower deck features three staterooms and three heads. A crew quarters in the lazarette is optional. Note the head at the base of the stairs doubles as a day head.
The optional deck plan takes the center stateroom twin bunks are replaced by a convertible settee and a fold up deck makes for an onboard office. The single cabin door is replaced with a sliding pocket door, which when left open, makes the lower deck very open and spacious.
The optional lower deck layout features an onboard office with settee that folds out to a sleeper. Here you can also see the optional crew quarters aft.
Three Staterooms, Plus Crew
As with the main deck, both layouts share some common features. Study the drawings and pick your favorite. Both options also allow for the lazarette to be converted into crew’s quarters. This gives the retired couple an option of having dedicated crew for cleaners and line handlers, chores that are better suited for the younger set, while still maintaining command of the boat and its operations. The three stateroom layout, even with the onboard office, is undoubtedly the dominating factor in yachts of this class. It simply allows for the most versatile of cruising options where guests are concerned. There’s always the owner/ operator couple, but the guests may be diverse. This allows you to entertain two other couples, the grown children and their family, or even separate people needing their own accommodations.
A bird’s eye view of the third stateroom/office. Even with the deck in the cabin with the Pullman the space sleeps two. The washer/dryer is behind the large doors at left.
The Flying Bridge and Boat Deck
The flybridge features two Stidd helm seats, a settee and table for the requisite gathering near the captain, an entertainment center, hardtop protection from the elements, and an aft boat deck. The hard top is an option that I would always go for, not only for the shade, but also so another large area can be buttoned up with cruising canvas to create more year-round living space. Thanks to the full beam deck a tender in the 14-16’ range can be chocked and launched from the deck crane. Go for the biggest tender that will fit. There is also room for a life raft canister.
This is the user friendly stairway to the flying bridge. Note the teak treads on the steps. They come standard as they should on every boat with fiberglass stairs.
The Grand Banks 59 Aleutian RP has a LOA of 58' 7" (17.86 m), and a beam of 18' 0" (5.49 m). She has a draft of 5' 4" (1.63 m), which will give her stability without restricting her from shallower ports in the Bahamas, or other areas. With her displacement weight of 90,000 lbs (40,824 kg) and a fuel capacity of 1,400 USG (5,300 L), the 59 Aleutian will have the capacity to exceed 1000 miles at displacement speed while still having the horsepower to jump 300 miles during the day at max cruise. This gives a wide range of possibilities for cruising beyond the range of the local charts. And that’s the trend that more and more cruisers are taking advantage of as of late.Check out the Grand Banks 59 Aleutian RP for yourself. Depending on the options and the engines, she’ll cost something in the low twos. There are Grand Banks dealers all over the U.S. and around the world, so why not get aboard one of these boats yourself.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!