The fifth installment in an (very) occasional series on boats which interest me. I've always loved the look and style of the Grand Banks Trawlers especially the models with the larger rear cockpit. With the present 43 classic starting at 1.5 million of thereabouts this is beyod the reach of many but one of the older smaller 32's could be just the ticket and a boat that I like a lot.
The Grand Banks 32 was in production for more than 25 years. When the last one was splashed in 1996 861 of the venerable little cruisers had been built. Initially built of wood production changed to fiberglass in the mid 70's reputedly without the factory telling consumers and dealers. In fact little changed over the production run of the boats and from a distance it is hard to tell a well cared for wooden example from a later fiberglass boat. Power comes from a single six cylinder naturally aspirated Ford Lehman engine of either 120 or 135 hp which gives a stately cruising speed in the 8 knot range. Although no race horse the displacement hull is sea kindly and will keep going in conditions that will have other boats heading for home. Fuel consumption at cruising speed is a miserly two and half gallons per hour so it is possible to cruise all day without breaking the bank. Make no mistake this a is a heavy boat with a displacement of 17000 pounds. A solid lay up and quality construction means that the 32 like the other boats in the Grand Banks line up retain their prices and you can expect to pay around $100,000 for a late 80's model.
Grand Banks are not without their problems however and the Achilles heels with these boat is mostly centered around the fuel tanks with leaking tanks a common topic of conversation amongst owners. Many have been replaced by now but a boat with the original tanks may require tank replacement at some time which can be a costly and difficult job.
The layout for of the vessel is seaman like and thoughtful. Rather than extend the salon out to the sides of the hull the 32 has large proper walk around decks, high secure handrail and easy access to the foredeck where you will find a short bowsprit with room for not one but two anchors. Early boats had the galley toward the aft of the salon but this was soon changed to move the galley forward along the port side. There is ample worktop space, hot and cold water, a deep stainless sink, an under counter fridge and a large oven and cook top; propane is stored under the seat on the fly bridge where any leaks are vented safely over the side. The lower helm is to starboard of the galley and has good all around visibility thanks to a plethora of windows. Aft of the helm and galley is the main seating area with settees to port and starboard and a sole mounted drop leaf table for dining. Talking of the sole this is one of the first things that you notice on coming through the aft door from the cockpit. Burmese teak is used for the parquet flooring in the salon and forward Vee berth and oozes quality as does the joinery throughout the boat. Teak is everywhere and at times it is hard forget that this is a fiberglass boat, doors and drawers on Seaglass still close with a reassuring click just as they surely did 25 years ago when the boat was first constructed.
The sleeping cabin is forward down 3 steps from the salon and with an infill in place the bed is huge. The heads compartment is to starboard and includes an electric toilet vanity and with the use of a curtain a decent sized shower that drains through a teak grating into a sump.
Hinge up and lift out panels in the salon sole give good access to the main engine, batteries and other mechanical parts. Having a single engine on the center line makes for decent access for servicing and other routine work. A 12 gallon water heater is off to one side and holding tank on the other. Tucked under the side decks are the twin 125 gallon fuel tanks and aft on Seaglass at least is the 5KW Kohler generator and twin 8D batteries.
The fly bridge is accessed via a teak ladder on the port side of the cockpit which like the rest of the deck is overlaid with teak. There are a couple of back to back seats with room for 6. A mast set on a hinging bracket makes a good place to mount antennas and radar and the boom can be used to lift the dinghy into the water or to set a steadying sail to keep the boat head to wind in an anchorage.
Grand Banks practically defined the market and invented the word trawler for the recreational boater. With their distinctive clipped shear and handsome looks the Grand Banks 32 still looks as fresh today as it did 40 years ago.
LOA 32' Beam 11'6” draft 3'9”
Fuel 250 galls