Quite possibly one of the prettiest pleasure boats ever built...up to the 46. *The 52, while a BADASS boat, doesn't share the same proportion as the smaller ones.
I agree.* There are two GB52s in the charter fleet in our marina.* The GB design in eitther the Classic (tri-cabin) or Europa (sedan with covered side and aft decks) holds up aesthetically to about 46 feet or so.* After that, it just doesn't seem to work anymore.* There are designs, particularly the pilothouse boats like deFevers and Flemings, that work much better once you get over about 50 feet.
And if you want to see something REALLY ugly, take a look at one of the three GB66s that were made.* Two of them have been in our marina and once you've seen one (and apparently been on one as well), you realize why they only made three.
As to the reputation of GB, remember this is a make that's been around for a long time, starting in the mid-1960s.* The GB name really took a big leap in repuation in the 1970s when all sorts of companies were jumping into the "trawler" market.* Many of the yards turning out these boats cut corners to keep costs competitive, thus giving rise to the somewhat derogatory term "Taiwan Trawler."
During all this, American Marine (the maker of Grand Banks boats) maintained the high level of CONSISTENT quality which had marked all the boats they made (not just the GBs) in the 1960s.* So it's not so much that their designs are superior--- in many ways they are not, depending on what you want in a boat--- but that GBs, wood and glass, have been built with the same high level of quality from the outset.
Since the 60s and 70s (and maybe even 80s) other manufacturers have either come up to or entered the market at a much higher level of quality.* So the consistency and quality "gap" that used to separate GB from most other manufacturers is no longer there for the most part.
It's sort of like revolvers.* Colt is still the gold standard by reputation, but these days a fair amount of that repuation is just in the name.* When I wanted a revolver for pig hunting in Hawaii in the 1970s I couldn't afford a Colt but I could afford a Ruger.* From a user point of view, the Ruger proved to be every bit as good as the Colt of the same vintage and it served me just as well.
Where the GB name can make a difference is if one is in the market for an older boat, like we were.* Assuming equal upkeep, a GB from the 1970s benefits from the solid foundation that has typified the make from the outset where other brands may have some inherent quality problems stemming from the way they were built.
None of this is to say that GB has slipped in quality or consistency.* Just that many other makes are today achieving very similar--- or better if you have the money for a Nordhavn or Fleming--- levels of both consistency and quality as a GB and often for a lower price, particularly the brands now being made in the PRC where labor costs are much lower than in Singapore and Malaysia where GBs are made.
-- Edited by Marin on Thursday 10th of June 2010 01:56:26 PM