There’s a reason Grand Banks is one of the few brands that inspires sailors to switch to powerboats – yachts always turn out to have a classic air. And with the 85, the builder has also taken a leap itself, breaking the 80 foot mark for the first time and entering the world of megayachts, albeit at the lower end.
Robb Report had the chance to board the new flagship during the Cannes Yachting Festival last week for its European premiere. The 85 has the characteristic lines that made Grand Banks an iconic brand so many years ago. The square shape of the boat resembles a restomod Grand Wagoneer.
Once you step inside, you can see the added benefit of these exterior design choices with the interior volume. The living room is generous, with large rectangular windows that bathe it in light. The color palette is generally a traditional biscuit and cream, with wood paneling adding depth. The level of craftsmanship at the builder’s factory in Johor Bahru, Malaysia remains high, even in this larger hull.
Climbing the staircase on the port side, one enters the yacht’s enclosed flybridge salon, which functions as a second salon. (The 85 also comes with an open deck for owners who prefer more wind in their hair.) The boat’s solitary helm is also in this space, with a comfortable bench seat for the captain and starboard mate.
A mirrored bench seat on the port side provides more forward-facing seating, which is the best way to sit facing rough seas. The boat is well equipped for these conditions. The carbon fiber/composite layer from the main deck helps keep the center of gravity low.
Even with 18 people on deck, and in three-foot seas over Cannes Bay, the 85 made tight turns with little roll effect. Often being this high on a boat can feel like a pendulum. The 85 felt stable.
Grand Banks offers owners the ability to customize, especially with accommodations, where several choices are available, from a large master cabin to sleeping quarters with multiple berths for small children or grandchildren. The options list even includes a piano that emerges from the paneling. The crew quarters are also spacious which makes the crew happy.
The brand’s heritage is written all over the place in the 85s, but Grand Banks has also taken a step into the future by proving that it can design and build a mini-megayacht.