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Palm Beach 50 Fly (2019-)

2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600



Brief Summary

The Palm Beach 50 Fly has the classic good looks of a Downeast style coastal cruiser with luxurious solid teak interior and decks, and a particular emphasis on performance. The flybridge version allows operators to get outside while underway and also expands entertainment space with a topside table and settees.

Key Features

  • Mid-engine mounted Volvo Penta IPS600s for performance
  • High-end real Burmese teak wood work throughout
  • Optional owner’s choice of galley, head, and cabin layouts
  • Luxurious fit-and-finish - attention to detail

Test Results

RPM MPH Knots GPH MPG NMPG STAT. MILE NM dBa
600 5.1 4.4 0.6 9.3 8.1 3755 3265.6 60
1000 8.3 7.2 1.5 5.5 4.8 2241 1948.7 62
1250 10.3 8.9 2.2 4.7 4.1 1887 1640.8 70
1500 12.2 10.6 5.2 2.3 2 946 822.9 70
1750 13.6 11.8 7.5 1.8 1.6 734 638.6 69
2000 16.2 14 10 1.6 1.4 654 568.8 71
2200 18.6 16.2 13 1.4 1.2 579 503.9 74
2400 20.9 18.2 16 1.3 1.1 529 460 75
2600 23.1 20.1 20 1.2 1 468 406.8 76
2800 25.5 22.1 24 1.1 0.9 429 373.5 76
3000 28 24.3 29 1 0.8 390 339.4 78
3200 30.6 26.6 33.5 0.9 0.8 370 321.7 78
3400 33.4 29 39.5 0.8 0.7 342 297.8 80
3550 36.1 31.4 44 0.8 0.7 332 288.9 80
palmbeach_50_chart_18.jpg

Specifications

Length Overall 54' / 16.46 m
Beam 14' 8''
4.47 m
Dry Weight 29,750 lbs.
13,498 kg
Tested Weight 31,794 lbs.
14,425 kg
Draft 2' 10''
0.86 m
Deadrise/Transom N/A
Max Headroom N/A
Bridge Clearance N/A
Fuel Capacity 450 gal.
1,703 L
Water Capacity 172 gal.
651 L
Total Weight 31,794 lbs.
14,425 kg

Price

Base Price $1885000.00
Price Range
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.

Acceleration Times & Conditions

Time to Plane 4.5 sec.
0 to 30 10.9 sec.
Ratio N/A
Props N/A
Load 2 persons, 3/5 fuel, 1/2 water, 50 lbs. of gear
Climate 62 deg., 45 humid; wind: 15-20 mph; seas: <1

Engine Options

Tested Engine 2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600
Std. Power 2 x 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600
Opt. Power Not Available

Captain's Report

Contents of Report

Palm Beach 50 running

The Palm Beach 50 flybridge has classic Downeast lines with a modern feel, instead of more vertical, squared off lines that we often see in the type.

Mission

The Palm Beach 50 Fly is intended as a day boat to entertain guests in luxury, for example, to go on picnics, excursions and to watch yacht races, as well as to be a no-compromise, genteel coastal and near-island cruiser for two couples or a family.

Palm Beach 50 helm seats

Dual monogrammed leather lower-helm seats and gloss finished Burmese Teak trim are elegant accents in the light-filled cabin.

Distinguishing Features

    Boat Balance. The mid-engine location on the Palm Beach 50 flybridge contributes to performance and handling without needing to add counter-weights to level similar rear engine boats. The boat’s level ride at full speed is the result of this careful weight distribution; from a modest 5% to 7% bow rise upon acceleration to nearly flat level ride with trim tabs engaged. This level ride extends waterline length and contributes to excellent handling.

    Bottom Shape/Level Ride. The deadrise at the transom of the Palm Beach 50 Fly is only 6-degrees, as opposed to something on the order of 16 to 19-degrees for most boats in class. That makes her running as efficient and as fast as possible. Her hull is designed to stay in the water at full speed, another thing that separates her from others. Our test captain reports that in the snotty sea conditions we encountered during the test, she provided a very comfortable ride.

    Light Weight. Among the Downeast style boats we compared to the Palm Beach 50 Fly, we found that she was one of the lightest, which was somewhat surprising because she has so much solid teak aboard. This is a testament to her state-of-the-art build.

Palm Beach 50

    Grand Banks. This venerable company acquired Palm Beach in 2014. Grand Banks single-handedly started the “trawler” concept in the 1960s and has survived all of the ups and downs of the boating business that has seen dozens of its imitators and competitors fail. One reason for its survival is the company’s unswerving insistence on quality construction.

    Solid Burmese Teak. Most of the teak in Palm Beach boats is solid wood, not veneer. Few boats in class have as much teak built into it, because few builders have the supply that Grand Banks has been able to maintain over the years, in spite of the scarcity in protection of this coveted wood.

    Aesthetic Downeast Design. Downeast recreational boats got their inspiration from working lobster boats which have a large cockpit for handling traps, a sheltered house without an aft bulkhead, a modest cabin, and an almost vertical windshield. Everything was squared off to make construction as inexpensive as possible. Downeast yachts started there and evolved, but many models are not too many generations from the original design parameters.

    Palm Beach softened the lines, rounded the trunk cabin, put tumble home in the stern quarters and got the proportions of the house right. The result of all of this is a line of Downeast yachts that has become firmly established, in spite of its premium prices.

    CEO Mark Richards. Much is made of Grand Banks/Palm Beach CEO Mark Richards, who sold Palm Beach to Grand Banks and then was named the CEO of both. Our experience has been that it is the vision, TLC, attention to detail, and management continuity of the CEO (or his family) that separates the brands with successful longevity from the flash-in-the-pans. Mark Richards started Palm Beach Yachts in Palm Beach, New South Wales, Australia in 1995. He is a veteran of several of America’s Cup campaigns as well as a winning skipper of offshore racers, such as Wild Oats, which won Sydney to Hobart line honors eight times. This speaks to his organizational ability and leadership. Stories of his requirement that all shavings and sawdust be vacuumed up immediately so that the boat’s interior – and the work space – is immaculate at all times, permeate the industry buzz.

Palm Beach 50

Major Features

    The 450-gallon (1,703 L) fuel capacity gives the Palm Beach 50 Fly a substantial cruising range, allowing you to run 10-hours non-stop at top speed.

    Sound insulation of the engine space keeps noise to conversation levels near the lower helm.

Palm Beach 50 wheel

Thoughtful functional touches like a teak rim on the tilt-steering on the lower helm are part of the many major features of this boat.

Palm Beach 50 windows

The push button drop-down ventilation windows with drip edges to either side of the helm protect the interior.

Palm Beach 50 aft galley

The aft galley option comes with a swing-up window opening to the aft deck that expands and integrates the entertainment area.

Palm Beach 50 head

One of the primary features of the Palm Beach 50 Fly is the ability to customize the layout: single head or double with master ensuite; aft, mid, or lower galley location; seating options; and many more.

    Flying Bridge. Most Downeast yachts are express cruisers, which is to say, they don’t have a flying bridge. This is the case for a number of reasons, and the ones that do have flying bridges often look awkward. Palm Beach has avoided that eye sore by making the forward cowling raked at the same angle as the windshield, keeping its bulwarks relative low, and keeping the bridge itself on the small side. (The flying bridge option over the express version is an extra $160,000, an amount that we think is well worth the added utility that a flying bridge provides.)

The Design

Palm Beach 50 profile

When we compare the Palm Beach 50 Fly to other Downeast boats her size, she looks lower and longer. The reasons are that her house is longer and her windshield is raked about 34-degrees, and the cowing on her flying bridge is raked even more. All of these subtle details make an immense difference to the eye.

It’s all about the details, from the choice of IPS or straight shaft propulsion, right up to the oval portlights in the trunk cabin. Together, they telegraph even to the untrained eye that this vessel is something special. The fiberglass tower rakes back in more than the windshield, adding a sleek line to the profile of the boat.

As we go through the boat it is obvious that the design team at Palm Beach has not just tweaked the approach of popular boats in class, but rather has questioned most assumptions about how a boat in this category should be designed, built, and look.

The Hull Shape

Most important, of course is the hull. The forefoot is sharp which cuts through seas easily and she does not pound. This is her first most important attribute. Secondly, she does not have a wide, pronounced chine lifting to her stem, as we usually see in class. While prominent chines swept up to the bow do a good job of knocking down spray, they also can cause pounding when at speed, and at anchor will produce the annoying slap-slap-slap, which usually keeps awake the folks in the forward cabin.

Palm Beach 50 forefoot

The forefoot of the Palm Beach 50 Fly is sharp to cut through waves and her nearly flat stern sections keep her stable.

From her sharp entry sections forward, the hull warps on the way aft until it reaches 6-degrees at the transom. That is nearly flat. It is about as far away from the much-heralded 24-degree deep-V as possible. So what do the Palm Beach designers know that others don’t?

Why Not Deep-V? The Palm Beach 50 Fly’s designers know that the deep-V was invented for offshore racing where small boats were jumping from wavetop to wavetop at 60 mph and were landing on their stern, bow, and amidships. That’s why their 24-degree deadrise was constant, so no matter where the boat landed the boat would get the softest landing possible.

But the Palm Beach 50 Fly will not be going 60 mph, nor will she be involved in offshore racing, nor is she a small boat. This all seems obvious, but typically boats in this class have something like a 16 to 19-degree deadrise at the transom. That deadrise allows them to roll more at slow speeds and at anchor, and is one reason why the Seakeeper gyro stabilizer has been so popular on some Downeast boats.

Palm Beach 50 running

Because the engines are forward in the Palm Beach 50 Fly, her weight is not concentrated in the stern as it is in many boats. Because their forefoot is out of the water when running, when they hit a wave it naturally bounces up. The 50 Fly, with more weight forward stays in the water and the bow slices through waves.

Flatter bottoms are easier to push and are more fuel efficient. The result is that they can go just as fast as boats with more horsepower, which burn a lot more fuel. The warp of the hull is the secret sauce of all designers, but Palm Beach’s designers seem to have gotten it right.

Performance

We tested the Palm Beach 50 Fly on a smoky gray day. She measures 54’ (16.46 m) LOA, has a 14’8” beam (4.47 m), and a test weight of 31,794 lbs. (13,498 kg). She was powered by a pair of 435-hp D6 Volvo Penta diesels driving through jackshafts to forward-facing IPS pod drives with DuoProps.

Wide open throttle achieved 31.4 knots at 3550 rpm for a cruising range of 288.9 miles.

Palm Beach 50 running

Not that even at near top speed, when this image was taken, all of her hull is firmly planted in the water. This is what gives her such a good ride and why she doesn’t need gyro stabilizers.

There is no obvious “hump” in her fuel consumption, something we often see with IPS driven boats. At 2600 rpm, we recorded 20.1 knots, where she got 1.0 mpg for a nautical mile range of 406.8. At that speed she has an endurance of 20 hours. At 2200 rpm, she ran 16.2 knots, getting 1.2 mpg for a range of 503 nautical miles, all with a 10% fuel reserve.

Sound Levels. We recorded sound levels at the lower helm of 68.8 dbA (quiet conversation) at 11.7 knots and 1750 rpm. At 16 knots we got a reading of 74 dbA, and at 20 knots, 76 dbA, all quiet readings and a testament to her sound proofing and tight build which does not create loud harmonics.

Acceleration. Generally, IPS-powered boats are not known for their quick acceleration, but we found the Palm Beach 50 Fly to be an exception. From a standing star she hit 20 mph in 6.5 seconds, and 30 mph in 10.9 seconds. These are numbers we might expect to see on a large sport boat.

Handling

Our test captain says that of the thousands of boats he has driven, the Palm Beach 50 Fly had among the most impressive handling characteristics. She has a wide turning radius which is typical of all IPS-powered boat. Slow the boat down and the turning radius will shorten.

Palm Beach 50 running

In 4’ to 6’ (1.22 m to 1.83 m) seas at nearly full throttle, the Palm Beach 50 Fly sliced right through the seas, throwing spray, but not bouncing around. She did not pound, stutter or shudder.

The rougher it got, the better it got, no pounding—she just handled great and gave a remarkably comfortable ride,” said our test captain in a post test debriefing with the rest of the BoatTEST staff. In analyzing why her ride was so comfortable, it became obvious that the balance of the boat and her 6-degree deadrise at the transom is a big reason for it.

Instead of her bow jumping out of the water, then slamming down again or into the next wave, the Palm Beach 50 Fly’s bow stayed in the water and sliced through the waves. Because she does not have a relatively deep deadrise, like some Downeast models, she is remarkably stable in all sea conditions we encountered, which were much rougher than normal.

Boat Inspection

Palm Beach 50 cockpit view

A bird’s eye view of the cockpit from the flying bridge.

Palm Beach 50 cockpit

The cockpit with the moveable table is ready for business.

The cockpit is 48 sq. ft. (4.5 sq. m) and is covered in natural teak as standard. There is an L-shaped settee, storage lockers for the shore cord, and other items. Our test boat upholstery was made of Ultraleather.

Storage is in drawers under the seats, in the deck, in the starboard bulwarks, and under the teak steps going to the flying bridge. A sun pad can be created by simply pulling out the port side seat which is one self-contained unit. There are no filler cushions to chase down or stow.

Palm Beach 50 teak platform

The teak on the swim platform and the deck is standard. There is no step-up from the swim platform to the cockpit, thus avoiding a tripping hazard.

Palm Beach 50 table

A high-gloss teak table can be brought out from the salon for when cocktails or al fresco dining, or simply a picnic is planned in the cockpit. Two Italian deck chairs are optional ($1,200).

Palm Beach 50 sun pad

The cockpit sun pad simply slides out and back in to store in its normal settee position.

Palm Beach 50 counter

Forward, against the bulkhead is a cabinet with a Stilestone countertop. Below are three cabinet doors…

Palm Beach 50 glasses

…to reveal dedicated storage for eight tumblers, eight wine glasses, and eight Champagne flutes. An optional icemaker can be fitted behind the third door ($3,750).

Palm Beach 50 refrigerator

To starboard under the stairs to the flying bridge is another console with a shelf-type refrigerator aft and four freezer compartments which are also on shelves.

The Flying Bridge

The steps to the flying bridge are teak and wide, but there needs to be a railing outboard so that there is something to hang on to when ascending and descending when it is flat calm, much less in a sloppy seaway.

Palm Beach 50 stairs

There are seven steps to the flying bridge and all are teak except one – where the Stilestone countertop is one of the steps. We’d like to see a hand rail here for safety.

Once on the bridge, we find a teak deck and four-person booth with teak table to port. Upholstery is all-weather. Above on our test boat was a fiberglass hardtop held up by eight stainless steel supports.

Palm Beach 50

Fore and aft seating on the flying bridge for four people makes sight-seeing and lunch a comfortable proposition.

The Upper Helm. The helm is center-mounted and forward on the deck. The carbon fiber pod console is lightweight and house all of the vital instruments and controls.

Palm Beach 50 helm

The center-mounted navigation screen is 17” and other instruments and controls surround the screen and 24” diameter vertical teak wheel.

Palm Beach 50 dash

To port is the Side-Power bow thruster next to the Volvo Penta diagnostic screen. Above are the standard Fusion stereo controls and ZipWake interceptor controls (trim tabs).

Palm Beach 50 remote

Below, on the vertical panel is the Muir remote control for the anchor windlass, Marinco searchlight control and automatic engine room fire suppression indicators.

Palm Beach 50 joystick

The engine control binnacle and joystick are mounted to the right of the helm. An alternative arrangement might be to have the joystick on the coaming of the flying bridge and the bow thruster control in its place here. Palm Beach aims to customize to satisfy owner requests.

Palm Beach 50 key fob

To the right of the helm is the Volvo Penta key fob ignition, accessory switches, and the VHF radio, all handy.

Palm Beach 50

The extra wide two person bench seat has separate flip-up bolsters for the occupants and a flip up footrest for the driver.

On Deck Features

Palm Beach 50 side deck

The starboard side deck is reached by means of two teak steps. Since there are no steps to port, this is the desired route, and it is also at the base of the steps to the flying bridge.

Palm Beach 50 side decks

The side decks are 9” (22 cm) at the start of the side decks but quickly widen to 15” (38 cm) and then 26” (66 cm) as we move forward. We’d like to see a handhold at the edge of the coach roof.

Palm Beach 50 rail

Further forward, a handrail is just at the right height.

Palm Beach 50 side rail

The side rail quickly rises to 26” (66 cm) and the side deck widens, taking advantage of bow flare.

Palm Beach 50 windlass

At the bow: The Muir windlass is recessed with foot actuators to the right. Standard ground tackle supplied includes a 46 lb. (21 kg) Ultra anchor, 98’ (30 m) of chain, and 328’ (100 m) of line. We like the two cleats straddling the rode at the bow so it can be tied off, or a bridle can easily be attached. They also serve as chocks.

Palm Beach 50 hatch

The hatch is large so a person can drop down into the locker to make right any tangles. The aft compartment is a good place to store fenders. Yes, there is a teak deck peeking out of there.

Palm Beach 50 swim platform

The swim platform is full beam, is 4’ (1.22 m) fore and aft, and comes standard in teak. It is a good place to welcome guests arriving for a visit in their tender. The arrow points to the hot and cold recessed shower wand.

Palm Beach 50 stern quarters

The stern quarters of the swim platform follow the rounded theme of the yacht’s overall design. This cleat is for painters.

Palm Beach 50 swim ladder

The custom-made swim ladder is all one piece of stainless steel and fits into two brackets on the deck. The standard safety rail can also help swimmers out of the water.

The Main Cabin

Palm Beach 50 deck layout

The Palm Beach 50 Fly’s main deck layout with the galley aft. This drawing is not quite right, as there is no countertop forward of the galley alley. Nevertheless, there is clever storage there. And when the aft window is open there is a counter there.

The sliding door to the main cabin is slightly off center, between the bar and refrigeration units. Our test boat had the galley aft configuration with salon seating forward.

Palm Beach 50 galley up

The galley up arrangement comes standard with the aft bulkhead window opening on two gas struts. The Stilestone countertop of the cockpit cabinet becomes a bar for service from the galley. In any case, the cook will appreciate the fresh air.

Upon entering the cabin, we find the aft galley, which is a true side to side galley with Silestone counters, a sink to port, and a cooktop to starboard. Aft, there is a shelf refrigerator and four drawers dedicated to cutlery and other gear. Under the sink is storage and forward, lower down, are drawers with dedicated storage for plates, bowls, cups, and other serving ware.

This galley storage arrangement is remarkably clever as the aft refrigerator and drawers do not take space from the salon but actually extend through the bulkhead to the cabinet in the cockpit. Likewise, the dedicated serving ware drawers lower down forward and extend under the seats in the settee forward in the salon area. In this way, Palm Beach has managed to fit a galley up without significantly taking away from the seating area of the salon.

Palm Beach 50 galley

With the sink at the end of the galley alley in this image, we can see that the aft refrigerator and drawers extend through the aft bulkhead. Standard galley decking is teak.

Palm Beach 50 shelf

There is quite a bit of storage in the galley. Note the shelf-type refrigerator and the dedicated drawers in the bottom of the image which cleverly extend under the settee seats.

Palm Beach 50 galley counter

On the starboard side of the galley is another Silestone counter where the two burner electric induction stovetop resides. On our test boat, both the microwave oven and the dishwasher were under the counter to starboard, along with storage cabinets.

The Salon

Palm Beach 50 salon

There is comfortable, motoryacht-like seating in the salon. The table opens out for dining, or can be moved to the cockpit.

Palm Beach 50 salon aft

Looking aft in the salon we see the door and the aft window open to let in fresh air. The galley counter is at left.

Forward of the galley is the salon which has 6’6” (1.98 m) of headroom and teak and stainless steel hand holds down the centerline on the overhead. Custom carpet with a sound insulation overlay is on the deck. To port is an L-shaped settee and a sofa is to starboard. A moveable table with leaves can be placed here for dining or cocktails. All upholstery is Ultraleather. All cabinets are solid teak.

The windows are large and the sills extend down to just below the backs of the seating to maximize visibility. Just under the helm seat are the entertainment components which include a Fusion Apollo Series stereo system and a flat screen TV rises with a remote from just behind the companion seat to port.

Palm Beach 50 entertainment

Under the captain’s seat to starboard is a cabinet for entertainment electronics and their wonderful remotes.

The settees also cover the main engine space. To access the main engines one needs to pull the cushions off the settee and flip the engine hatch switch. This seems like a hassle, but in fact it is usually only something that needs to be done once a day, for peace of mind more than anything else. Modern engine and engine room diagnostics give a reading on oil levels and water temperature. Our concern would be more to check sea strainers for grass, and the bilge for fluids of any type. More on the engine room later.

Palm Beach 50 engines

A switch outside the cabin allows the owner to raise the galley and salon to reach the engine room.

The Helm and Bridge Deck

Palm Beach 50 helm

A stain finished teak helm is an old world setting for the modern instruments and controls that have been set into it. The wheel is teak.

Double wide bench seats are provided for both the captain and a companion to starboard, and two guests to port. There is ample storage beneath the seats. A forward mechanical space is entered via a hatch found between the port companion and starboard helm seats. This is where the battery switches are along with the Fischer Panda generator and related equipment.

Palm Beach 50 garmin

The multi-function Garmin 17” display handles all navigation functions as well as being a redundant readout for engine diagnostics.

Palm Beach 50 analog

In the upper left hand section of the helm are analog readouts for the port engine, so, in fact, there are three ways to get engine information.

Palm Beach 50 gauges

Below the analog gauges are the Marinco spotlight control at the upper left, the Side-Power bow thruster toggle, and below that is the digital Volvo Penta display that can also readout in analog. Below that is the ZipWake interceptor controls. Under the wheels are the accessory switches with the horn at the far left.

Palm Beach 50 remote

On the right side of the helm is the Muir windlass remote control, the engine control binnacle, to the left of that is the autopilot readout, and below that is the joystick, and to the right is the key fob electronic ignition.

The helm area has outboard powered windows to port and starboard. Three large sealed windows make up the windshield.

Palm Beach 50 helm seat

The double wide helm seat is upholstered in the same Ultraleater that we saw in the cockpit. Note the armrest by the window. There are no flip-up bolsters because there will be no standing at the helm.

Palm Beach 50 double wide seat

To port is a nearly identical double wide seat for two guests. This makes for guest-friendly cruising with another couple as all four people can share the fun of piloting and sightseeing together.

Palm Beach 50 utility room

Between the seats is the hatch to the forward utility room.

Palm Beach 50 batteries

In the room are batteries, battery switches, a converter and inverter, as well as air condition equipment.

Palm Beach 50 generator

A Fischer Panda 10 kW generator is fitted here with fuel filter at left.

Palm Beach 50 panel

The electrical panel is under the helm seat with 24 V on the top and 120 V Shore power toggles on the bottom.

The Accommodations

Palm Beach 50 layout

This is one of three layouts available and the one on our test boat. A guest cabin is to port and the shared head is to starboard. The important thing to note in this drawing is the amount of the boat devoted to the sleeping accommodations vs. the mechanical spaces.

Down a few steps forward of the helm station are the sleeping quarters and the head. The master is forward with a guest cabin to port and the head to starboard, in the galley-up model that we tested. A galley-down and a version with two heads are available.

Palm Beach 50 master bed

The master bed is 76” head to foot and 87” wide at its widest point bulkhead to bulkhead (2.21 m x 1.93 m). There is storage in cabinets under the bed and above in the bow flair.

Palm Beach 50 teak soffit

The solid teak soffit above the bed is a remarkable piece of woodwork that sets the Palm Beach 50 Fly apart from other boats. Reading lights and cubbies to either side of the bed will come in handy.

Palm Beach 50 seat

To starboard is a small seat to the left of the shelving, and the TV is to the right.

Palm Beach 50 hanging locker

To port is a hanging locker with a mirror on the face. To the right is a small seat that is ideal for sitting when putting on shoes and socks.

Palm Beach 50 master cabin

Looking aft from the head of the master bed we get a view of the master cabin.

Palm Beach 50 guest stateroom

The guest stateroom to port can be used as a sitting room with pillows as back supports. With the pillows removed it makes into a double bed.

Palm Beach 50 garments

Under the bed is a cabinet for folded garments.

Palm Beach 50 single heads

On the starboard side there is the single heads with storage above the counter and below. The cabinets are all solid teak. The countertop is Silestone, the same as elsewhere in the vessel. There is a square Lewmar hatch overhead for light and ventilation. The toilet is a Techma Silence Plus unit with a teak seat.

Palm Beach 50 shower

There is a separate walk-in shower stall with frameless glass door.

Palm Beach 50 layout

The galley-down version of the Palm Beach 50 Fly has the galley to port instead of the guest stateroom. The same head as in our test boat is to starboard.

Palm Beach 50 layout

The third accommodations version of the Palm Beach 50 Fly has two heads, one for the master with separate shower stall, and one that can be used as a dead head and for the guests in the port stateroom.

The Engine Room

Palm Beach 50 engine

The engine room hatch is in the salon and an electric ram opens the hatch high for easy access. Some cushions in the salon must be removed for this operation.

Palm Beach 50

The four engine start batteries are located in a box between the engines.

Palm Beach 50 battery switches

Battery switches are on the engine room aft bulkhead. Above them is the engine room camera which displays at the helm. With this, along with the engine diagnostics, engine room checks can be minimized.

Palm Beach 50 access

Two steps down and the engines can be accessed from between them. The outboard sides of the engine can be reached.

Palm Beach 50 strainers

Both engines have their sea water strainers, fuel filters, and oil dipsticks on the port side which makes checks handy for the starboard engine, not so much for the port engine. The Racor fuel filters are on the forward bulkhead and easy to get to.

Palm Beach 50 strainers

Sea strainers, filter, and the dipstick can be reached on the port engine.

Palm Beach 50 hatch

Keeping engine noise down is a big issue for Palm Beach, and here we can see that the hatch is completely covered in acoustical material, as is the whole engine room. Our sound tests proved that this attention to details paid off.

Palm Beach 50 cockpit hatch

By putting the engines forward and the pod drives aft, Palm Beach is able to provide a large cockpit for day boating, as well as the balance the boat needs for a good offshore ride. The hatch over the unit permits access for maintenance of the drives.

Palm Beach 50 pods

The IPS pods are complex devices that provide proven improvements in fuel efficiency over straight shafts and jet drives. They also incorporate the exhaust which is the gold-colored pipe at the right, which directs gases out the aft end of the lower unit.

Palm Beach 50 jack shafts

The run of the jackshafts is a long one, and it is this design that gives the Palm Beach 50 Fly some of its major attributes. Note that the bilge is painted black – this is so saltwater intrusion can be detected by the white on black.

Construction

The Palm Beach 50 Fly is built with state-of-the-art material and techniques. Further, it has the years of experience of Grand Bank’s craftsmen and engineers involved with it. The hull is vacuum-infused E-Glass, stitched multi-axial fabric, with carbon fiber in structural areas. The hull is cored with Corcell and Airex foam.

Only vinylester and epoxy resins are used which eliminates any chance of water osmosis or blistering. With this technique and with these materials, the hull should have a 60/40 glass to resin ratio, making the hull both strong and light.

The deck and hull are fully-infused carbon fiber. In addition to the normal stringer system, all bulkheads and fixed furniture are bonded to the hull and deck to produce superior strength and rigidity. This is sort of like an egg crate where panels of the hull are supported by numerous stiffeners that reduce flex. It is considered a best practice.

The 450 gallon (1,700 L) fuel tank is composite which means it can’t corrode. It is located athwartships, forward of the engine.

Options to Consider

The standard Palm Beach 50 Fly is fully equipped to leave the dock; however, a variety of desirable options might include:

    • Bow thruster – $15,925

    • Painted hull sides – $50,000

    • Remote docking station in the cockpit – $10,200

    • Removable sun awning – $7,200

    • Cockpit icemaker – $3,750

Price

Base price is $1,885,000 with twin Volvo Penta 425-hp IPS600 engines with joystick. The express version is $160,000 less.

Observations

When we first saw the Palm Beach 50 Fly at a boat show we couldn’t keep our eyes off of her. There is something compelling about her curves and design that exudes class and distinction. While beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, in this case, beauty is more than skin deep.

Her basic design concept of having weight forward – for better balance and a better ride – is a departure from what many builders are doing these days. For example, some builders are creating lightweight sleds that will go fast, then give them deep-V bottoms to ride better, then add a gyro to dampen the roll that the deep-V exacerbates.

She is a versatile day boat, with a removable table, a slide-out sun pad, and two optional deck chairs, plus her seating on the flying bridge that guests will like. And, when it comes to cruising, our tests of this hull in 3’ to 4’ (.91 m to 1.22 m) speeds at nearly full throttle proved to us that she is remarkably comfortable in sloppy conditions.


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Palm Beach 70 (2020-)

w/ 2 x 1000-hp D-13 shaft