The success of Beneteau’s Swift Trawler line can be measured by the fact that some 1,300 have been built so far. With trawler styling on a true planing hull, these boats offer space, practicality and a useful turn of speed.
The shipyard’s flagship Grand Trawler, however, is not just a bigger Swift Trawler. With a voluminous, full-body displacement hull that carries its 17-foot, 10-inch beam well forward, the new Grand Trawler 62 has dockside presence and purposeful styling. It looks like a serious, weighty cruising boat, ready to go places.
“This hull is optimized for 9 knots,” says Justin Joyner, powerboat manager at Beneteau America. “Sure, it can go at 20 knots, but that’s just because of speed anxiety.”
Speed anxiety, he adds with a smile, afflicts trawler owners who need to know that their boats can get up and go should the need arise, be it dodging incoming weather, getting to the bar before it closes, or simply impressing their friends. In Joyner’s experience, trawler owners routinely enjoy the comfort, quiet and calm of displacement-speed cruising, but for many of them, a good turn of speed is also an important consideration, even if they hardly ever use it. And while the new 62 is designed with enough power to haul itself over its bow wave and scoot along at 20 knots, Joyner predicts that most owners will use a light touch on the throttles, most of the time.
The 62 is a boat built for spending time aboard. The interior has a minimalist ambience, which will no doubt have its detractors, but in a modern cruiser market flooded with lavish interiors, it was quite refreshing to find myself aboard a boat so lacking in pretension. It is well put together, and Beneteau is known to select its fittings carefully and test them rigorously before sending them to the production line. And an interior composed largely of right angles is not just quicker and easier to build; it also makes the most effective use of space.
The Grand Trawler 62 comes with décor and layout options to suit various owners’ tastes. The first 62 heading to the United States was displayed in September at the Cannes Yachting Festival; it has light oak veneers and wenge soles, with a sideboard to starboard in the salon (in place of the optional sofa).
Owners can choose three or four staterooms belowdecks; this boat has the three-stateroom arrangement, with a full-beam master amidships. The ensuite VIP is in the bow, and a twin-berth stateroom is to port with access to the day head and shower.
In the four-stateroom, three-head layout, the amidships stateroom is divided in two, and the twins convert to doubles using fills that stow under the berths. The berths are all 6 feet, 6 inches long, and headroom throughout the accommodations never slips below 6 feet, 7 inches. Its dockside presence does not disappoint. The Grand Trawler is a big, roomy yacht.
One option I would like to see on the equipment list is a furling Bimini for the flybridge. The large GRP hardtop places a lot of weight a long way above the waterline. (You can opt out, of course, but Beneteau doesn’t currently offer an alternative.)
Along with the options, there are plenty of clever design ideas on board. The hinged seat backs on the foredeck sunbed, with their intuitive ratchet mechanism, create a comfortable forward-facing sofa. Plexiglass panels across the transom and the after end of the flybridge offer views of the water, and plexiglass doors at the after end of the side decks provide shelter from the breeze at anchor.
The hydraulic platform aft and the flybridge crane each have an 880-pound lift capacity. The platform can take a tender up to 10 feet, 6 inches long, while the flybridge stowage area is intended for a wetbike (it could also hoist a Harley-Davidson motorcycle).
The substantial beam allows for safe, wide side decks protected by bulwarks, which are in turn capped by a sturdy rail that runs from the cockpit right around the bow. Handrails present themselves pretty much wherever guests may need them, inside and out, including along the salon deckhead. Most flat surfaces in the interior have deep, practical fiddles.
The main-deck dining table slides to one side when not in use, to get it out of the way, and stowage for its folding chairs is under the bench seat. This table has no seams or joins, and is abaft the helm, making it an excellent place to unfold a chart.
Across and to port, the galley has a 67-gallon fridge-freezer, a four-burner induction cooktop, and a door to the side deck. The inventive garbage handling system includes a circular hatch in the worktop that leads to the side deck, so cooks don’t have to carry a bag of garbage through the salon. It’s the least glamorous design innovation I can recall, but also one of the most practical.
My favorite onboard spot is the high sofa to port of the helm. It’s the perfect place for the navigator to relax on passage, with a great view forward and easy access to the helm console.
When we got underway for an evening boat-show cruise, we had at least 20 people aboard, but the boat didn’t feel the least bit crowded. The cockpit, foredeck and flybridge all proved equally popular.
Also on board were about 400 gallons of diesel and 30 gallons of fresh water. There was a breeze in the bay, and a light chop of 2 to 3 feet had built up. A few packets of spray found their way onto the bow as we accelerated, causing a general retreat from the foredeck seating in favor of the flybridge. With most of the crowd now enjoying the view from up top, the 62 felt a bit tender, but the optional gyrostabilizer came online and ironed things out.
In the tidy, well-organized engine room, twin 730-hp, six-cylinder MAN diesels are the only engines offered, since Beneteau’s engineers calculated they would be just about enough to give the Grand Trawler that all-important 20-knot performance. And so it proved.
Yes, as we charged across the bay at nearly 20 knots, we chugged quite a bit of fuel. The consumption at maximum revs topped 75 gallons per hour, which, allowing for a 10 percent reserve in the 1,022-gallon fuel capacity, reduces cruising range to less than 250 nautical miles.
This is not what the Grand Trawler is all about. At 9 knots, the hull’s sweet spot, everything felt different. The breeze abated, and noise levels reduced—I measured just 63 decibels in the master stateroom, about the same level of sound as a washing machine. Range increased to nearly 800 nautical miles. The hull felt settled in the water, pushing it aside implacably and making steady, serene progress.
Beneteau’s flagship trawler is a major departure for the shipyard. It’s also a capable, comfortable long-range passagemaker. She might not be Swift, but she’s certainly Grand.
LOA: 62ft. 2in.
Beam: 17ft. 10in.
Draft: 4ft. 7in.
Displacement: 61,729 lbs.
Engines: 2 x 730-hp MAN
Speed (cruise/max): 9/20 knots
Fuel: 1,022 gal.
Water: 222 gal.