power_boat_review-grand_banks_41-largeFor more than half a century, Grand Banks has delivered salty looks, spacious accommodations and impressive fuel economy to cruisers through its line of trawler yachts. The new Grand Banks 41 Heritage EU is powered by Cummins MerCruiser Zeus pod drives and while all the traditional virtues are there in spades, this yacht has gained a whole new level of performance and economy.

At idle speed of 1000 rpm, the Grand Banks 41 Heritage EU uses just 0.61 US gallons per nautical mile. With the 500 US gallon tank, this gives a 743 nautical mile range, yet cruising speed with the CMD Zeus system is 19.8 mph at 2400 rpm and the boat tops out at 3040 rpm doing 29.2 mph. That is really moving for a trawler!

Although Grand Banks has evolved their hull to a modified vee, it still has a substantial keel and the boat is no lightweight at over 40,000 lbs., so the CMD Zeus performance is all the more impressive. The engines are Cummins QSB 5.9s making 425 hp each. They are 24-valve inline 6-cylinder diesels with common rail fuel injection and they are compliant with the most stringent emissions levels. These run clean, quiet and without smoke or smell.

In older trawler designs, the engines were under the salon floor driving straight shafts. The Zeus pod system puts the engines well aft so the mechanical noises are contained below the cockpit. The salon is nice and quiet underway. Also, this layout leaves a large storage and workspace under the salon, great for provisioning a long cruise.

The new level of performance possible with the CMD Zeus drives makes long distances more achievable and the speed adds a measure of safety as well when running offshore.

The Grand Banks 41 Heritage EU was meant to run. It features two complete helm stations: one on the flying bridge and the other fully protected from the weather in the salon. This lower helm features optional twin Garmin GPS Map 4212 multi-function displays, SmartCraft Digital Throttle and Shift (DTS) controls with the joystick for docking, Vessel View digital engine display, controls for the Cummins Onan generator, the optional Garmin autopilot, Master Volt Inverter Charger, plus there is a Ritchie compass and optional Garmin VHF radio.

A classic ship's wheel is included and there is a comfortable helm seat with fold-down armrests and a fold-down footrest in teak on the cabinet below the helm chair. There is a starboard side cabin door by the helm and the three-section windshield includes serious windshield wipers.

Normally, you will want to drive from the flying bridge. On the Grand Banks 41 Heritage EU, there is a very large bridge deck that extends right back to the transom.

The upper helm has a second complete set of controls and instruments with a gorgeous teak trim shading the instruments. There is a pair of swiveling pedestal seats for the captain and a companion. These are very comfortable with armrests, adjustable footrests. Of course, the view is 360 degrees!

A big Bimini top on stainless steel bows, available as an option, covers the seating area. I loved the sand-coloured non-slip flooring which helps to reduce glare and eyestrain. Coming up the stairs to the bridge there is a sliding hatch with stainless steel trim. On the port side is a bench with storage space underneath suitable for seating 2 or 3 people. On the starboard side is an L-shaped settee that could handle 6 or even 7 people. There is a removable dining table and more storage underneath the benches.

Aft of the seating area, remove the security chain and step out to a refreshment area where most owners will mount a grill and install a refrigerator and probably an icemaker as well. Our test boat also had a Steelhead SM800R lift for launching and retrieving a dinghy.

Other great exterior features on our test boat included a stunning teak swim platform, teak transom, teak gunwale cap, teak decking, covered side decks, high side rails, cabin rails, serious windlass and ground tackle and a padded forward seat for sunning. I loved the massive, real transom door.

Inside, this is a yacht for those who love teak. From the teak and holly sole to the teak window trim and everything in between, the Grand Banks 41 Heritage EU is all about teak. A massive teak rail runs all the way up the centre of the cabin roof for secure movement in really rough conditions. A rich looking hi/lo pedestal table with folding leaves and fiddles sits by the port side settee. Opposite are two tub chairs.

Ahead of that is a "grand" U-shaped galley running up the port side and across the dashboard top. The counter has raised edges, it is finished in magnificent joinery work and the dashboard top features a pair of cutlery and utensil trays under teak covers. Strangely, there was no support or strut to hold the lid open.

There is a big, deep single stainless steel sink under heavy ceramic covers with chopping blocks on the undersides. The Eurokera three-burner stovetop has adjustable potholders (yea!) and the test boat had a Sharp convection microwave. We were impressed by the large storage areas, roll-out bottle and shelving racks and the trash container/paper towel area under the counter.

Opposite under the helm seat are three big drawers fitted for the dishes and glasses. Aft of that is another cabinet with a rollout bin; our test boat had an icemaker there too. Yet another teak cabinet is aft of that again and the adjustable shelves have fiddles. This would be perfect for books or even bottles. All around are windows and lots of daylight. It's a terrific galley!

Also, the teak is all matched grain so the wood grain flows from the cabinet doors to the framing. It is all lovely but the labour component must be staggering. White headliner helps to carry the daylight around the boat, preventing it from seeming dark or closed in.

Down a few steps is the master stateroom with queen island berth, hatches and portholes, cedar-lined hanging locker and rollout bin underneath the bed.

Grand Banks wisely chose a large single head that has opening portlights and lots of space plus a separate enclosed shower stall and gorgeous teak grate floor in the shower. There are three mirror sections on the medicine cabinet and it is all spacious and beautiful. The fabulous teak and holly flooring extends into the head and around the MSD. It looks grand but I might have chosen easy-to-clean fiberglass or ceramic there.

The guest stateroom is equipped with twin berths and a filler to make up a queen if you prefer. This stateroom enjoys a hanging locker, air conditioning and two opening portholes.

Overall, this boat is more about living and the above deck spaces. Even for older people whose mobility may be limited, the Grand Banks 41 Heritage EU welcomes you around the side decks, to the bow, up the flying bridge stairs and for most people, the covered aft cockpit will be the most comfortable place on board. A couple of folding deck chairs are the perfect accessory.

In accommodations, fit and finish, the Grand Banks 41 Heritage EU is everything you would expect but the CMD Zeus pod drives, the high top speeds and the convenience of "Skyhook" station-keeping, automatically deployed trim tabs and joystick docking all make this a sort of "trawler plus" proposition. Quite impressive!

By Andy Adams

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