Skip to main content

World Premiere: Grand Banks 85

The flagship model was unveiled at the Palm Beach International Boat Show.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

According to Grand Banks, preliminary sea trial results of GB85 Hull No. 1 are in, and the prognosis is right in line with the builder's performance expectations.

“We had one primary objective above all when we started the 85,” said CEO Mark Richards. “To deliver the most fuel-efficient, high-speed, long-range cruiser of this size in the world. Period. It is incredibly exciting to tick this box right out of the gate on what is not yet even the official sea trial.”

A key component of Richards’ build philosophy is to incorporate high-tech methods that focus on weight reduction, while simultaneously increasing the boat’s strength. Each hull employs vacuum-infused E-Glass and then carbon fiber in structural areas, cored with Corecell® and Airex® foam, stitched multi-axial fabric, and 100-percent vinylester resins. The entire deck and superstructure are also fully infused carbon fiber, which makes for stronger, lighter structures. This also keeps the weight low, a critical component of such a large cruising yacht meant for bluewater passages. The end result is an ocean-cruising 85-footer with a half-load displacement of 108,000 lbs. and a 1,000-nm range at fast cruising speed. 

The attention to cutting-edge construction also includes all bulkheads and fixed furniture, which are structurally bonded to the hull and deck for superior strength and rigidity. That means berths, locker bases, galley cabinetry, heads, and more are all an integral part of the structure. They don’t sit in a liner rattling around or merely held in place with basic tabbing. Instead these components contribute to what amounts to a singular, robust grid that must be experienced in foul weather to be fully appreciated.

Revealed during the initial sea trials, there is zero creaking or working of joinery and furniture, which will pay dividends in foul conditions.

Investing In Itself

Before undertaking a comprehensive four-year renovation project at the 550,000-square-foot factory, Richards anticipated the 85 project and created a test pool within the factory to allow for full system testing and review prior to launching for the performance trials.

“The capital investment made in our yard is a vital element in building next-level yachts,” said Richards. “Because we own our factory free and clear, we’re able to create the manufacturing facility around the types of boat we want to build and our owners demand. The benefits of this approach are abundantly clear in the 85 and the buzz of excitement is contagious.”

Grand Banks 85

Grand Banks 85

Sea Trial Affirms Tank Test Projections

The Grand Banks warped-hull design is the manifestation of Richards’ focus on bringing a design approach from decades of competitive sailboat racing from the Admiral’s Cup, America’s Cup and a record number of Sydney-Hobart victories. Three key elements to any successful high-performance sailboat design are wetted surface, reduction of energy required to move a boat through the water, and running attitude. Less weight requires less power to push the boat through the water, while a slippery hull design reduces wetted surface, and the design is intended to stay flat and keep the full waterline in the water. The hull design utilized by Grand Banks is a proven concept throughout the range, but the company wanted to reaffirm its performance projections and tank-tested the 85’s warped-plane hull form at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania. According to Richards, the results were exciting.

“In 2017, the GB60 took the company in a whole new direction in terms of appearance, performance and construction techniques,” said Richards. “After running the 85, I’m over the moon to state that yet again we’ve moved to an entirely different level.”


Hull No. 1 is powered with twin 1,000-hp Volvo IPS 1350s. Twin 1,000-hp, 6-cylinder D13s with straight shafts are available as a no-charge option. Additional engine options are also being evaluated. According to Richards, the 85 exceeded expectations during the preliminary test. Like the entire range of the new generation of Grand Banks, the 85 ran flat and pushed very little water, demonstrating the superior efficiency of the V-shaped warped-hull design.

“To see what she could do in a real-world situation was a real treat,” Richards said. “We’re not surprised, of course, but that doesn’t make her performance any less thrilling to behold. She’s going to change the game.”

Stay tuned for more GB85 updates as Grand Banks continues the fit-out and prepares for official sea trials in the coming months. 


  • An ocean-cruising 85-footer with a half-load displacement of 108,000 lbs.
  • Hull No. 1 is powered with twin 1,000-hp Volvo IPS 1350s; Company is evaluating additional options
  • Video: Grand Banks releases new running footage from sea trial confirming attitude and hull efficiency
  • Performance projections, initial sea trial and tank test of new GB85’s V-Warp™ hull form at the Australian Maritime College in Tasmania reconfirms results
  • Entire deck and superstructure are fully infused carbon fiber
  • All bulkheads and fixed furniture are structurally bonded to the hull and deck for superior strength and rigidity