Each new Grand Banks comes off the ship wrapped like a special gift. The more tape and protective covering we pulled off, the more the new 72 SC began to reveal herself. It was as if she breathed a sigh of relief. Teak decks cover the afterdeck while a painted, grippy nonskid is used for the side decks and flybridge. As an aside, as much as I like the look and feel of teak decks, the effort required to clean them on the bridge is often not worth the aesthetic and functional trade-off, in my opinion. Furthermore, it adds additional weight above the deck.
The bridge was properly laid out for cruising, with a 13- foot tender, ice maker, refrigerator, a smallish electric grill and plenty of seating for relaxing while underway. There is a curved staircase to the aft deck, as well as access to the pilothouse from the forward stairs. Our test boat featured a fiberglass hardtop and radar arch. The profile was well designed and didn’t detract from the 72’s aesthetics. However, a canvas extension is affixed to the after end of the arch to provide additional protection. In my opinion, this looks too much like an afterthought on an approximately $4 million boat and will eventually need to be replaced. If this was fiberglass to match the arch and hardtop, it would complete the picture.
In keeping with Grand Banks’ nod to tradition, teak caprails line the bulwark, and all of the deck hardware is substantial and flawlessly executed. A fiberglass rub rail extends below the caprail as well as down the middle of the topsides, allowing peace of mind while pivoting off pilings.
The same cruising details extend to the forward deck where you’ll find double rollers on the fiberglass anchor platform. Hallelujah! If you’ve ever anchored in a tricky current against wind, or in foul weather, you’ll know that a secondary anchor is a crucial piece of cruising equipment.
After we added another 1,500 gallons of diesel to the 2,625-gallon capacity, Tucker West and I installed the radar array for the Garmin 5215. Bit by bit, this baby was beginning to look like a proper ship. We rigged the mast and navigation lights, while Keenan reviewed the mechanical systems and prepared the boat for an early morning departure.
Our plan was to cruise from Norfolk, stop over in Atlantic City, New Jersey, and then continue on to Long Island Sound the following morning. As much as I would have loved to go straight through and experience the 72’s functional pilothouse at night, navigating New York’s bustling harbor in the dark on a brand-new boat would have created more stress than necessary.