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Beneteau Gran Turismo 36Spacious and Sexy

By Andy Adams and John Armstrong

The newest member of Beneteau’s Gran Turismo line is the GT 36 and this yacht brings the style and features of the GT line to a more accessible size. In fact, the GT 36 creates an ideal mix of virtues that should appeal to many buyers in this price range.

The GT 36 in the first U.S. built Gran Turismo model and it is built in Beneteau’s Cadillac, Michigan facility, but it uses many of the same materials and techniques as other Beneteau models. This does save duty for Canadian buyers because the boat will be coming from the United States.

We learned that Beneteau hopes to have their owners move up within the Gran Turismo line which now extends from the GT 36 to GT 40, GT 46, and GT 50 models. Getting into the Gran Turismo line means owners gain features such as going from thrusters to a full joystick docking system for greater comfort when driving the boat.

The Swim Area and Main DeckThe GT36 has several important living areas but the swim area and swim platform and main deck are sure to be number one with most owners because of the spacious portside seating and host of amenities.

Another key feature is that the GT 36 includes their air step hull design for impressive performance and the GT 36 will be offered in both outboard and sterndrive versions.

Overall, the GT 36 is an express hard top design with a massive sliding electric sunroof, lots of side glass, an open cockpit lounge space leading to a huge swim platform. The versatile sun pad convertible seat is a highlight of this outdoor living area.

Aft Sun LoungeThe very versatile designer of the after bench seat back allows it to take several positions from inward facing forward facing after bench seat around the dining table too after facing sun lounge.

Also available in an outboard version, our test boat had inboards; twin MerCruiser 6.2 litre sterndrives with 300 hp V8 engines and Bravo Three drives. The test boat also included a Westerbeke 7.5 kW generator that runs on gasoline as do the MerCruiser engines, so you don't need to keep two different fuel types. Not only were the engines all quite accessible when we lifted the aft seat, but so were the batteries and other mechanical systems.

COCKPIT LOUNGE
At the stern is the cockpit lounge accessed through a starboard side walkthrough from the swim platform and an outdoor galley on the starboard side includes a sink, pressure water, Kenyon electric grill, Isotherm refrigerator and a locker that is home to a pair of roll out bins for garbage and recycle. A transom shower is included and the shore power and breakers are conveniently located at the stern as well.

LED overhead and floor lighting provides safety and an elegant atmosphere in the evenings.

The GT 36 is really designed around outdoor living and activities. The versatile seating includes the L-shaped bench with a convertible seat back that folds forward to create a large sun pad. Underneath that is a big storage bin and there is more space accessible from both the back and side.

There was no canvas on the test boat, but Beneteau points out that you really don't need it. All the equipment onboard locks up and has been designed to simply stay out in the weather, so you don't need to fiddle with canvas. Beneteau uses the same materials in both their sail and power vessels right up to 60 feet and those materials are fitted to vessels destined for the Caribbean charter fleets. Everything is made to really stand up to heavy use.

I think many people will want to put varnish on the lovely teak table however, so you might want to get a little cover made for that. The table flips open for increased dining space, or folds out of the way, revealing some extra drink holders in the smaller configuration.

The SalonGenerous windows make the main salon bright and inviting and the wood trim adds a warmth and sense of tradition.

BOW ACCOMMODATIONS

A clever design element is the recessed sun pad in the bow. The GT 36 has a flared bow shape for greater area and higher sides as well. This gives the bow a comfortable and secure feeling, even when running and you can get a shade for the bow increasing the versatility of this living space.

The test boat had a split bow rail with a great seat at the peak. Lifelines with Pelican clips attach to the waist-weight welded bow rails. There is an impressively big anchor locker and the Lewmar power windlass will make anchoring out easy and convenient.

The side decks are a good width and the shape of the cabin roof offers a secure handhold for moving forward. We appreciated the LED lighting which will be elegant at night.

CABIN
While the GT 36 emphasizes the outdoor living qualities that so many buyers are looking for, the cabin space is a generous size and thoughtfully fitted out. As you step down into the cabin, the electrical panel is right there in the companionway along with controls for the Fusion stereo and the Dometic air conditioning system.
Light enters through the hatch area under the windshield and through the generous hull side windows so it’s pleasantly bright inside.
Directly ahead is the dinette with storage overhead and also under the L-shaped seats. The dinette seats three or four people for dinner and it's quite nice with good light and headroom. There is also floor access to mechanical systems as well as an additional storage locker. A handy cutlery tray is concealed in a cabinet by the banquette.

Outdoor GalleyThe outdoor galley is positioned where it's convenient to Everyone on the main deck and swim platform and the smoke from the grill won't bother anybody. It's very complete with sink, refrigerator, garbage and recycle.

GALLEY

The starboard side main galley includes a Kenyon two burner stovetop with a back splash and safety switch that kills the power if the cover is on. There's a large single stainless steel sink, Mauve microwave, Dometic refrigerator, and covers over both the stove and the sink to increase your counter area for food preparation. There are opening port holes in the side glass for fresh air. I liked the big mirror on the bulk head. That brightens up the space even more. The GT 36 includes blinds for the side glass.

MAIN CABIN
In the bow there is a nice private cabin with opening port holes built into the side glass as well as a deck hatch. There are side bins plus storage under the berth and two hanging lockers for clothes and personal items. This is a very usable cabin with about 6 feet 4 inches of headroom by the entrance. Air conditioning keeps it comfortable and the Dometic A/C was very quiet and effective even with the heat and humidity on our test date.

The HeadWe thought the head was particularly comfortable with an opening port hole, a vessel sink and a separate shower stall.

HEAD

For a 36 footer, it's great to see that the head compartment includes a separate shower stall that has an opening porthole, handheld shower and it is really a usable size. We liked the flooring that looks like ceramic tiles. The GT 36 includes a Jabsco MSD, stylish vessel sink and lots of mirrors as well as storage under the vanity. It’s a really good head for a 36 footer.

Shower

 

 

With an acrylic door for light and a fold down seat for convenience, the shower stall will be much appreciated.

AFT CABIN

Ideal for the kids or another couple, the aft cabin has full standing headroom in the entrance and comfortable sitting height over the berth. Big bins on both sides will be useful for all sorts of things and having the full beam berth mounted athwartships makes great use of the space. There's also a side locker and we were pleased to see opening port holes port and starboard built into the side glass. Blinds are included of course.

HELM
Depending on who you talk to, the words grand touring or “Gran Turismo” are originally applied to cars that are fast coupes designed to tour long distances. The GT 36 fits that description nicely.

Obviously designed to travel, there is a double size helm seat with a flip up bolster, foot rest and tilt steering to comfortably accommodate standing or seated operation. We appreciate that a safety lanyard is included. It's a fast boat and it's certainly something the driver should be using. We also liked the double size companion seat. This way four people can see forward through the huge curved windshield.

The unique two-level cabin side glass provides great outward vision with an almost unobstructed view 360 degrees.

The 12-inch Garmin screen and Mercury Vessel View system clearly communicate all functions. The Mercury propulsion systems include their Axius Joystick Docking system which works very well, and the GT 36 also had Lenco automatic trim tabs which make driving simple and effortless. We found the boat was very maneuverable - you could literally back it down straight for quite a distance if you ever needed to come in a long fairway to your slip.

This is a big boat and the twin MerCruiser 6.2 V8 engines had the torque to deliver strong acceleration to get boatload of people moving and we could tab down a little bit to keep it on plane at lower speeds. The sweet spot seemed to be 4,200 to 4,500 rpm doing 30 to 32 mph. The big MerCruiser V8s provide both comfortable cruising and an impressive top speed. The steering was always light and precise and the throttle controls were easy to use. What impressed us the most was the very solid ride and the feeling of stout construction as we crossed our wake at speed. We could crank the boat right over hard at high speed and it would hang on for a very tight turn - quite impressive. This was certainly thanks to the air step hull design. This seems to reduce drag while delivering a soft ride.

On top of the other strong performance attributes, backing it down to a 4,200 rpm cruising speed of 30 miles per hour gave us the equivalent of almost one mile per gallon fuel economy which is very good for a yacht this size.

Overall, this is a very contemporary, spacious and sexy 36-footer that runs and feels like it should cost a lot more. Look for the GT 36 at the boat shows this winter!

SPECIFICATIONS
ENGINES: Twin MerCruiser 6.2 litre sterndrives, 300 hp V8 engines, 6.2 litres / 377 ci., Computer controlled Multi-Port Electronic Fuel Injection (MPI) and Bravo Three drives.
RPM MPH
1,000 4.8
1,500 7.1
2,000 8.9
2,500 10.2
3,000 12.1
3,500 18.5
4,000 24.3
4,500 30.7
5,000 35.8
5,400 38.8

SPECIFICATIONS
Overall Length (L.O.A) with platform: 12,47 m / 40’11’’
Beam: 3,46 m / 11’4’’
Light displacement, Inboard: 7,215 kg / 15,906 lbs
Fuel capacity: 2 x 380 L / 2 x 100 US Gal
Maximum engine power: 258 kW -
2 x 350 HP 2 x 350 HP
Price as tested: $412,000 USD

Boat and price supplied by Beneteau, beneteau.com