What’s the Big Deal with Pods?
It’s important to realize that by utilizing pod drives, you effectively open up a lot of space, and that space can be put to good use. Normally, the inboard engines have to be mounted far forward to make room for transmissions and shafts, unless a V-drive is used. With pods, the entire drive system is mounted just to the rear of the engine. This means that a builder can now slide the engines back, and put them low, freeing up space inside the boat. Shaft drives have the propellers mounted at a downward angle, so they lose efficiency as part of their thrust is directed downward. With pods, the drives have their propellers driving at a direct horizontal angle, and with the thrust directed horizontally, all of it can then drive the boat forward instead of up and forward. This more efficient thrust translates into lower operating costs, and possibly higher speed.
Choices in Layouts
Now that Grand Banks has freed up space in the living area, they are able to offer options to the layout that were previously impossible. Let’s take a look at some of the choices that the buyer now enjoys.
In the standard layout, we have an arrangement conducive to entertaining guests in a conversational atmosphere. Dual settees are aft, one with a high/low table. The helm is forward with a double wide seat opposite. This gives the advantage of having a second, or third set of eyes looking forward. We’re always happy to see a built-in chart table.
The second main deck layout has a feature that we’ve started seeing on sportfish boats, and we like it even more here. Designers are always agonizing over whether to go galley up or galley down. Now there’s another choice in the mix, galley aft. It makes good sense. When you bring the groceries into your house, you probably go from the door right to the kitchen, and the two are usually close together. Here the galley is right at the entry to the salon, and with all that deck space in the cockpit, we predict that most owners will opt for putting a table there for alfresco dining. Grand Banks thinks so too, and that’s why the aft bulkhead has a glass partition that retracts into the bulkhead for delivering food to the cockpit with pass-through ease. To starboard is a refrigerator and galley countertop. An entertainment center lies just ahead and abaft the helm. To port is the settee that thankfully is on a raised platform for better viewing. This makes the settee the most popular gathering area, especially when the boat is underway.
Performance and Handling
The Eastbay 46 SX is powered by a pair of 8.3L Cummins QSC 600HO engines putting out 600-hp each. While we haven’t tested this boat to verify the numbers, Grand Banks tells us that these engines push the 46 SX to a max speed of around 33 kts, with a cruise speed of roughly 26 kts. A 500 gallon (1,893 L) fuel capacity gives the 46 SX a range of roughly 240 miles, says the builder.
Grand Banks does a lot of things, perhaps most things, right in the Eastbay 46 SX. Its signature is its lavish use of teak below. Our experience is that most people use Eastbay's in the summertime around home, and usually only venture any distance on the annual yacht club cruise. But the 46 SX can do much more than that.The Eastbay 46 SX does not come cheap and for many people that is the rub. Each year new boats are introduced to compete with Eastbay, and most are priced lower. Our advice is to start your search with the Eastbay 46, then look at all of the others. With time the value/price relationship with which you feel comfortable will become apparent.
Standard and Optional Features
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!