Hello Stoko - I have owned a GL33 Hybrid (165hp Diesel) for nearly 10 years now and have cruised extensively with it in the Baltic, as well as a little bit in the North Sea. Currently, I use it in the Mediterranean (Southern France). Love the boat, but can say that I would NOT consider a crossing like you describe with it. Why? A couple of reasons:
1) Best cruise speed for this boat is ~7 knots. 200nm implies a 29 hour run in perfect conditions. In rough, head-on seas, your speed will most likely be less than 7 knots. In medium beam-seas, you might find a better ride at 8-9 knots (because the stabilizing fins work better with more speed), but then the fuel efficiency drops. Regardless, the boat would have sufficient fuel capacity (with plenty of reserve) for a 200nm run.
2) Weather & traffic risk. The route you suggest is prone to fog and rough weather coming from the Atlantic and takes you across one of the busiest shipping routes in the world. I would sooner tackle a journey like this in smaller legs, even if it means a greater total distance.
As for me, the longest run over open water I’ve made is about 116nm -- from Stockholm to the Island of Visby in the Baltic Sea. While I’ve always dreamt of being able to go further (say, from Bergen, Norway to the Shetland Islands), it’s nothing I would ever try because I’m not convinced that even the best of weather forecasts can be reliable enough for such a run. I routinely make ~100nm runs with the boat, but always keep a very close eye on the weather and try to have a good “plan B” in mind.
As for what this boat can handle?
- For winds Force 3 or less and waves forecast for 50cm or less, I don’t hesitate to go
- For winds Force 4 – 5 and 50cm-90cm waves, the boat can handle this just fine, but the ride can be uncomfortable and I would try to schedule my run to minimize the time spent in these conditions.
- For winds Force 6 – 6.5 and 90-150cm waves the boat can take this, but it’s very rough on the boat and the crew. I would only travel in these conditions if a blow came up enroute and I was on my way to a (hopefully) nearby port.
- For Force 7 and up, I don’t have much experience with this. Have been in a few squalls, where I’m sure the winds were this high or higher, but for only 30 – 60 mins and the waves that did pick up had a long “period” (such that I had the possibility to ride up and down them).
- I find the CE Category system to be a bit misleading and believe it should be interpreted with great care. The GL33 has a rating of “B”, which implies being able to handle waves up to 4(!) meters. I could only imagine this possible if the waves were basically swells such that you could easily ride up and down. In the shallow Baltic region, where the period can be 3-4 seconds between waves, I don’t think the GL33 would manage 2m+ waves, without some damage.
A couple of final thoughts:
1) Early on, GL33’s were offered with a 75hp diesel. I definitely would not use this version of the boat on the seas – except for the shortest of coastal runs in beautiful weather. It simply is not capable of the speeds that are sometimes necessary to navigate safely in a heavy following or quarter seas.
2) The GL33 is not a heavy displacement boat. It’s an efficient, fairly light-weight semi-displacement boat. As such, I don’t think it would be as stable in rough seas as a Grand Banks 32, for example. But the GB32 is not low enough for one to take through the canals of France
I wish you the best of luck with your research and future boat purchase!