Start Cruising the Easy Way
Owners of sportboats who have a hankering for some overnight adventures or more gentile day cruising and entertaining will find the GT 34 an inviting step up. She is not so much bigger as to be intimidating to boaters with only a couple years experience. We think in most cases both skipper and significant other should find handling her reasonably easy.
Truth be told, large boats, particularly ones with twin engines, are much easier to dock than single engine sportboats. Our advice to first-time boaters who are at a stage in life beyond sportboats but who are smitten with the idea of the cruising lifestyle is simple: jump in now. Many people start boating with the largest boat they can afford, and there is nothing wrong with that. We couldn't think of a better place to start that the GT 34. For those concerned about docking, then we would recommend getting the joystick option or a bow thruster. Either way, 20 minutes of instruction will put a first-timer on the road to boating fun.
The GT 34's Mission
The GT 34 is intended for a small family with young children or two couples cruising in short romps. She is built on the proven Monte Carlo Yachts 32 hull which means right out of the box we know the boat has no bad habits. The GT 34 has a redesigned superstructure and new hardtop roof. The roof now extends farther back which provides more shade for the aft end of the settee and also enables the boat to be easily enclosed with cruising canvas. This is a welcome development for boaters in northern Europe and Canada.
On deck the 34 has an adequately large swim platform. The twin sterndrive lower units are tucked safely underneath so swimmers can slide off the aft deck without worry of hitting any metal. The focal point of the cockpit is the huge wrap-around settee arrangement where six or even eight adults can sit. With a bench seat to starboard, the table is surrounded by seating nearly 360-degrees. This is an unusual layout, and one ideal for entertaining.
Below decks Beneteau has worked its usual design magic by tucking a mid cabin in under the bridge deck. The layout below differs somewhat from what we normally find on most American-built express cruisers in this size range. Rather than provide an entrance to the mid cabin to the port side of the companionway, the GT 34 has the entrance immediately to the starboard side. In this way the guests -- or owners -- have full standing headroom at the entrance to the cabin which has its own privacy door.
We like the bulkhead and door to the mid cabin for reasons of privacy. If we owned the boat we'd use this as the master stateroom. There are a few of other things of note in the mid cabin: 1) there is a place to sit and put on ones socks and topsiders, 2) there is a hanging locker outboard which is quite large for this size of boat, 3) there are two portlights illuminating the space.
More Good Ideas Below
Beneteau has set-up the space below to be used as a day boat or a boat being cruised by one couple. We like the arrangement of the wrap-around settee in the bow with a large table that can seat six people comfortably. That table, of course, drops down to make a bed for guests. The wet head to port has full standing headroom and is good size for a 34' boat. The galley is basic and is to starboard and options are available to upgrade it for more lengthy cruising.
In The Engine Room
The GT 34 comes with two power options: twin Volvo Penta 300-hp gas engines, or twin 200-hp diesel engines. Both power plants will drive through DuoProp lower units. This configuration is about as efficient as they come, both from an accommodations standpoint and of fuel economy. Both diesel and gas engines are available with joystick control as an option. The engine room is accessed through a hatch in the cockpit under the table. The space is a bit tight for getting to the daily engine checks, but that’s the sort of tradeoff you get with a 34’ boat.
Performance and Handling
When accelerating the GT 34 has a roughly 13-degree bow rise which, from the seated position at the helm, brought the bow to just under the horizon. When taking power off she’ll settle back into the water stern first which again… brings the bow up but yet again… with no loss of visibility to the horizon. she cruises at a roughly 5-degree bow high attitude and has a nice gentle roll into the turns that keep you firmly planted in your seat rather than forcing you out to the outside of the turn. At full speed the GT 34 will come around in a little under three boat lengths, and of course if you back off the speed she’ll come around much quicker.Our test GT 34 was powered by twin 200-hp Volvo Penta D3 diesels turning DP outdrives. Top speed came in at 4000 rpm and 30.5 kn. At that speed I measured a 22 gallon per hour fuel burn for a range of 161 nautical miles. Best cruise came in at a fast 3500 rpm and 24.6 kn. At that speed fuel burn was measured to be 16 gallons per hour for range of 179 nautical miles. That 3500 rpm speed is also where I found the GT 34 to be most comfortable and it's where my hand settled the throttles at most of the time, without even looking. We had a time to plane of 7.1 seconds and reached 30 miles an hour and 17.9 seconds
With the sport coupe design there's plenty of glass all around, but the large forward window mullions had me leaning fore and aft quite a bit to see around them. Not a big problem, but one to be aware of. Opening side windows provide plenty of ventilation, and the massive electrically actuated sunroof will keep the sun worshipers happy. If you like to stand while driving, you have to do with the sunroof open, and with my relatively short stature, that had me looking directly at the hardtop frame.
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 34 (2012-) is 35.1 mph (56.5 kph), burning 22.00 gallons per hour (gph) or 83.27 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Beneteau Gran Turismo 34 (2012-) is 28.3 mph (45.5 kph), and the boat gets 1.77 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.75 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 205 miles (329.92 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 200-hp Volvo Penta D3.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!