Grand Banks 60 SkyloungeDesigned and built to cruise the world’s oceans, the Grand Banks 60 Skylounge offers abundant outdoor spaces with the protection of a fully-enclosed flybridge for perfect comfort in any weather.

By Craig Ritchie

The elegant design of the Grand Banks 60 Skylounge gives this yacht a classic look in spite of its thoroughly modern enclosed upper station.

The Canadian market has always been a tough nut for yacht designers to figure out. Summer days get really hot; other days are downright cold. There is always the chance things could change in the blink of an eye and let’s be honest, who among us hasn’t stepped off the boat wearing shorts, flip flops and a warm jacket? Canadian yachting has always been a world of contradictions, which is why designing cruising yachts for this market has never been easy. It’s not like Florida or the Med, where weather is dependable throughout the year.

That challenge has grown even tougher in recent years with the shift toward cruising yachts with more outdoor spaces. While everyone likes room to spread out in the sun, no one wants to shiver at the helm. Yachts that manage to achieve that balance, and still provide proper amenities for long-distance cruising, are few and far between. So when I got the opportunity to spend some time aboard Grand Banks’ all-new 60 Skylounge, I jumped at the chance.

I was impressed with the original 60 Flybridge model when it made its debut in 2017. But it was the companion Skylounge edition which really caught my eye. With its completely enclosed, climate-controlled flybridge the Skylounge model allows comfortable cruising no matter what’s happening with the sun, the heat, the wind or the dew. In other words, it might just be the ideal Canadian cruising motor yacht.

Galley Facing Aft
The U-shaped galley features beautiful cabinetry and a Silestone countertop. The layout affords a tremendous amount of counter and storage space.

Reading the 60 Skylounge brochure can’t help but raise one’s eyebrows, because the numbers are simply dazzling. An overall length of 65 feet, four inches. A massive 19-foot, two-inch beam. A honking 28,000 kilograms of displacement. A top speed of 36 – yes! – 36 knots. And, a mind-blowing range of more than 4,700 kilometres – that’s enough to enable trans-Atlantic voyages or to run from Vancouver to Hawaii. Yet it’s still nimble enough to tuck into small harbours and shallow anchorages, giving it the flexibility to go absolutely anywhere.

Celebrating The Great Outdoors

The Grand Banks 60 is a truly innovative yacht that delivers incredible interior space for a cruising couple with guests or a family. Step aboard the broad aft swim platform and it’s immediately clear that this is a yacht designed for enjoying the great outdoors – as evidenced by the big Kenyon grill that’s built right into the transom. Who wouldn’t enjoy lunch with a view while hanging out on the swim platform with your toes in the sea? An adjacent storage locker on the transom top speaks further to this boat’s playful intentions by providing an ideal spot to stow wet gear like snorkels and swim fins between stops.

A starboard-side, inward-opening transom door leads to the expansive aft cockpit, which in our review boat was decked out with a full teak sole that matched the swim platform. A full-width lounge seat stretched across the transom and carried forward on the port side, surrounding a beautiful pedestal-mount table with a glorious teak top. To starboard, a Silestone-topped cabinet houses a refrigerator, a freezer and a storage locker, while a matching cabinet to port accommodates a sink and faucet, with still more storage space beneath it. An overhead hard top with integral LED lighting protects the cockpit from the full force of the mid-day sun, making this a comfortable and inviting space for lounging or entertaining guests at any time of day or night.

The engine room is accessed through a large but discreet hatch in the cockpit sole, which also provides access to an extensive lazarette. The enormous volume of storage space – not just here, but throughout the boat – makes it clear this yacht was built with long-range cruising in mind. The engine room is open and spacious, allowing plenty of space for routine maintenance.

Wide side decks, each accented by a stainless steel railing, lead forward from the cockpit to the bow; where an available sun-pad can be ordered to create a quiet, private spot for soaking up the sun with a good book. An optional sun shade for this area is also available to give the boat even greater versatility.

Celebrating The Great Indoors

Salon Facing Forward
Salon facing forward.

A beautiful teak-and-glass sliding door leads directly from the cockpit into the salon. Grand Banks offers the boat with a choice of aft-galley or galley-forward floorplans; our review boat used the forward galley layout and it worked perfectly in this space. The aft end of the salon is dominated by a large L-shaped settee to port, which surrounds a beautiful pedestal-mount table with a gorgeous teak top and adjustable leaves. To starboard, a pair of facing loveseats share a beautiful teak coffee table, while just ahead of them, a large high definition television on a lift stows in a discreet teak bulkhead.

Large windows – some of which open electrically at the push of a button – bathe the salon in natural light and fresh air. The bright environment and wrap-around views create a particularly attractive galley, where a U-shaped Silestone countertop facing the port side provides a tremendous amount of counter space. Thoughtfully outfitted right down to the plates, glasses and flatware; the galley centers around a deep, undermount stainless steel sink with a residential-grade faucet, and cavernous storage space below. Miele appliances including a three-burner induction cooktop, an oven, a refrigerator and a freezer complement the high level of construction detail. A discreet panel of rocker-style switches allow the chef to open the side window for fresh air, or lower overhead shelves providing access to dishes and cookware that’s otherwise stowed neatly out of sight.

Opposite the galley, a side-opening door allows direct access to the starboard side deck while an elegant teak and stainless steel staircase leads up to the Skylounge. Along the yacht’s centerline, a wide passage leads to the overnight accommodation below.

The master suite in the Grand Banks 60 Skylounge is situated along the boat’s port side. I found this approach immensely appealing over the traditional full-beam suite, offering all the space one could ask for while allowing a delightful, wide rectangular window directly over the headboard. Why? With this design you can leave the window shade slightly open so the morning light gently and gradually illuminates the suite, and without shining directly into your eyes. Bravo!

A spacious and bright en suite head sits to the forward end of the master suite, complete with its own overhead hatch and a side port. The shower deserves special mention, being particularly roomy and bright with its oversized glass door. Another thoughtful touch is the heated towel rack, providing just one more delightful luxury that will coax a smile every time you use it.

The aft end of the owner’s suite is dominated by a substantial closet that includes several drawers and plenty of space for hanging clothes. Facing the island bed is a large, wall-mounted high definition television that’s mounted at an ideal viewing height.

Helm Facing Port
The helm station is surrounded by wrap-around windows (some electrically- retractable) that provide unobstructed 360-degree views while keeping the space fresh and bright.

Guests might be forgiven for thinking they’ve been treated to the owner’s stateroom themselves, as the VIP suite in the bow is nearly as large and opulent. The bright guest accommodations feature a large island bed, with an overhead hatch and two side ports that provide plenty of sunlight and fresh air. A large portside hanging locker with drawers, a dressing table with drawers to starboard and a neat row of cabinets encircling the upper cabin provide a generous amount of storage space for clothing and personal items. Guests enjoy en suite access to the day head which, like the owner’s suite, includes a particularly spacious shower and that wonderful heated towel rack.

A wide companionway leads aft to a third cabin with two single beds in a staggered L-shaped arrangement for greater privacy. The younger members of the crew will simply love this space; so too will empty nesters, who are more likely use it as particularly attractive storage spot to stow additional supplies and gear.


Room With A View

The Master Suite
The master suite in the Grand Banks 60 Skylounge is situated along the boat’s port side.

Head back to the main deck and the elegant teak staircase leading up to the Skylounge beckons.

Ascending the stairs you expect to walk into a simple pilothouse. But in fact, you find yourself in a smaller, more intimate copy of the main salon below – complete with the big, comfy L-shaped settee in the aft port quarter, another beautiful teak table with adjustable leaves, a small galley with a refrigerator to keep snacks and refreshing drinks close at hand, and a spacious day head for comfort and convenience.

As below, the helm is surrounded by wrap-around windows (some electrically-retractable) that provide unobstructed 360-degree views while keeping the space fresh and bright. Twin pedestal-mount Stidd captain’s chairs were a nice touch in our review boat, as was the Garmin glass helm with dual screens.

A wide centerline door at the back of the Skylounge leads to the upper cockpit. This space is normally devoted to housing the tender, which is raised and lowered on a Canadian-made ES1000 crane from Steelhead Marine.

The Cockpit
Grand Banks 60 Skylounge Cockpit.

The real key to the success of the 60 Skylounge design lies under its impeccable finish. While the hull is constructed of hand-laid E-glass and vinyl ester resin, the entire superstructure from the rub rail up is formed from lightweight carbon-fibre laminates over Corecell foam cores. This innovative approach, along with the careful positioning of engines and tankage, is what allows the 60 Skylounge to offer a fully enclosed flybridge while maintaining the low centre of gravity that is fundamental to its impressive stability, handling and fuel economy.

Guest Suite Facing Forward
The bright guest accommodations feature a large island bed, with an overhead hatch and two side ports that provide plenty of sunlight and fresh air.

What does ‘impressive’ mean? I already mentioned that the 60 Skylounge really can cruise along for up to 4,700 kilometers between fuel stops. And yes, if you’re in a hurry it can achieve top speeds in the mid-30 knot range while maintaining snappy handling with the optional Volvo Penta IPS 1200s. But what sets this yacht apart is the way it behaves under power – it’s a lot more Sea-Doo than luxury trawler. Running at 28 knots on a grey, overcast morning, the 60 Skylounge effortlessly carved a long series of tight S-turns and figure eights into the calm seas for my camera. Slide the throttles forward and the boat simply glides on top of the water, with little bow rise and surprisingly little noise. Its highly efficient hull holds plane at a remarkably low rpm, and thanks to its bow and stern thrusters, it manages tight turns into the slip with ease.

Swim Platform Grill
A deluxe Kenyon grill built right into the transom and accessed via the swim platform underscores this yacht’s focus on enjoying the outdoors.

“The proportions of the design are very important to us,” says Grand Banks CEO, Mark Richards. “We’re not in the business of designing ugly boats so we spent a lot of time ensuring the Skylounge looks like it belongs on the 60. And our emphasis on weight reduction and strength in the build process ensure we’re not compromising the 60’s performance, while still keeping a very low vertical center of gravity. The whole package comes together and works extremely well.”

Indeed it does. The Grand Banks 60 Skylounge is luxurious, capable and refined cruising yacht with the unequalled protection of a fully enclosed helm – a combination that makes it just about ideal for extended cruising anywhere in Canada. Or, if you’re adventurous, anywhere in the world.

GRAND BANKS 60 SKYLOUNGE

Length: 65’ 4” / 19.9m
Beam: 19’ 2” / 5.85m
Draft: 4’ 4” / 1.3m (shafts) 3’ 3” / 1.0m IPS
Displacement: 61,730 lbs. / 28,000 kg
Fuel capacity: 5,800 L
Water capacity: 1,100 L
Holding tank capacity: 300 L
Standard power: 2x Volvo-Penta D13 @900 hp shafts
Maximum power: 2x Volvo-Penta IPS 1200S

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By The Numbers
The Grand Banks 60 Skylounge offers an appealing blend of long range and high performance. As tested, with twin Volvo Penta D13 power (shafts), a crew of three and approximately 1,100L of fuel onboard:

By The Numbers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With available Volvo Penta IPS 1200S (data supplied by manufacturer)

By The Numbers

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