Sailors, as a rule, don’t always take kindly to powerboats.
When the time came for a couple of lifelong sailors — cruisers and bluewater racers, at that — to make the switch, they had their misgivings.
It turns out that Essex, Conn., residents Jack and Ann Young couldn’t be happier with the 42-foot trawler they found five seasons ago in a shed in Maine. It’s kept them cruising — from Maine to Nantucket, Cuttyhunk to the Connecticut River — and kept them doing what they love to do: getting out on the water.
It takes a special powerboat to get to a sailor’s heart, but that’s just what the 1976 Grand Banks 42 has done. “It’s ridiculous how fond we are — and I am especially — of this boat,” says Ann Young. “It’s my child.”
Even Jack, at age 90 — a Cruising Club of America member and veteran of 15 Bermuda races, eight of them in his steel-hulled 43-foot C&C yawl — admits that the big powerboat isn’t so bad. “I still like a cruising sailboat better,” he says. “But this has been a lot of fun.”
The love affair started in 2004 in a shed at Rumery’s Boat Yard in Biddeford, Maine. The Youngs were looking to replace their first attempt at switching to power, a 36-foot trawler they weren’t quite happy with. Ann just happened to ask if there was a Grand Banks around at such-and-such a price, as she relates the story. “It was a figure way lower than what I thought was right, but I asked anyway,” she says. “The broker said ‘Yes, and I have it.’ ”
Inside a shed was the great gray hull of a Grand Banks 42 topped with a distinctive black stripe. It was love at first sight, says Young. It was in great shape, having been refit by its Canadian owner before being laid up in storage (Awlgrip, teak decks, new parquet flooring inside, new headliner, varnish). “I couldn’t believe what it looked like,” she says. “This was the boat I’d been looking for.”
They sold the 36-footer in 10 days and bought Storm Runner for around $185,000. They took a shakedown cruise to Robinhood, Maine, and then brought her home. Since then, they’ve cruised from Block Island (R.I) Sound to the shores of Nantucket, Mass., and many points between. They spend a month on the boat every August, calling at such favorite Northeast ports as Cuttyhunk, Martha’s Vineyard, Narragansett Bay and Newport.
Along the way, Storm Runner has proven herself every inch a comfortable, capable cruising vessel. The original 135-hp John Deere diesels propel the 42 at 8 knots, together burning a total of 5 gallons an hour. “We are very happy with them,” says Young. The layout includes a guest cabin forward with a V-berth and a master cabin aft with its own head compartment (including a tub) and a private companionway to the cockpit — a “wonderful space,” she adds.
The galley has an electric stove, two refrigerators (with teak doors), and plenty of counter space. Storage — a prime consideration for a cruising boat — is plentiful, and Young says the joinery throughout the boat is “superb.”
The couple have also installed a new holding tank and generator, and upgraded the electronics. “Santa Claus brought me a bow thruster one year,” says Young, who handles the boat around the dock. “That’s a big help here on the [Connecticut] river, where there’s always a current.”
There’s an old-fashioned butterfly hatch forward, and the 14-karat gold dome lights in the cabin are there because they don’t corrode. “Each year, Jack says we can’t spend any more; we can’t possibly spend any more — and we do,” says Young.
They also spend time on their boat, though, and it’s quality time. There’s a mooring to catch in Hamburg Cove for a summer dinner, or the Essex waterfront, where the boat is docked, to enjoy around sunset. “I’ve always lived on or very near the water, and I don’t anymore, and I miss it,” she says. “So we come down and have evening cocktails on board.
“I have to be out on the water in something,” she adds. “I’d be bored to death without a boat.”
The Grand Banks 42 profile changed little during its 30-year production run. Discontinued in 2004, her tall bow, broken sheer and distinctive pilothouse topped by a flybridge look much as they always have. Other notable features include deep side decks and protective bulwarks, three-panel windshield, wide side windows, wheelhouse side door, and steadying-sail mast.
Standard power comes from a pair of diesels; the early models had smaller twin 135-hp engines for an economical 9- to 10-mph cruising speed. Later, bigger engines, such as the 375-hp Caterpillar, pushed the cruising speed to 15 to 17 mph.
Several layouts were offered through the years, and most had a V-berth forward; pilothouse saloon with a steering station, a spacious galley to port and an L-shaped lounge/dinette to starboard; and a master cabin aft with its own adjacent head compartment with shower and, in some boats, a tub.
The Grand Banks 42 can be found all over the United States, and models from the 1970s are priced up to around $165,000. For 1980s models, pricing starts around $240,000. Boats from the 1990s are in the $300,000 to $400,000 range, and later models cost upwards of $500,000.
With more than 1,500 built, the Grand Banks 42 was one of the most successful designs ever produced. It first appeared in the 1960s as a wooden boat and made a successful transition to fiberglass in the early 1970s. Notable for its salty appearance, the 42’s seaworthiness and spacious upper-end accommodations made them popular with cruisers and former sailors. It was slightly altered during its four-decade production run, lengthened and widened a few inches to allow for a larger galley and saloon.
Today, Grand Banks builds boats in three models: Heritage trawlers from 41 to 52 feet, Eastbay cruisers from 39 to 55 feet, and Aleutian long-range cruisers from 59 to 72 feet.
LOA: 42 feet, 3 inches
BEAM: 14 feet, 1 inch
DRAFT: 4 feet, 2 inches
WEIGHT: 37,400 pounds
HULL TYPE: semidisplacement
POWER: twin diesels to 375 hp each
TANKAGE: 600 gallons fuel, 271 gallons water
BUILDER: Grand Banks Yachts, Seattle.
PHONE: (206) 352-0116.
This article originally appeared in the June 2009 issue.