We all know the feeling. Walking off the dock after a day on the water, you can’t resist turning around and taking one last look at your boat. There’s just something about her. Rich and Betsy Didan get that feeling when they pause to admire their 2005 Grand Banks 42 Europa. It’s a wonderful little thrill.
“When you stand back and look at the stern of Paradis, the inviting sliding-glass double doors grab your heart and attention,” says Rich Didan, a 62-year-old electrical engineer. “The spacious covered rear deck, the teak-railed staircase to the spacious upper deck — this was truly designed and built for family, entertaining and long travels. They just don’t make them like that anymore.”
The Didans bought their boat — hull No. 1560, the last 42 Europa before the model was retired — this past summer. The price for the turnkey vessel was $550,000. It’s powered with twin 450-hp Caterpillar 3126B diesels, the layout is original, the high-gloss teak in the saloon and staterooms is in excellent condition, and just a few minor fixes were needed, Didan says.
Paradis replaced a well- appointed Mainship Pilot Rum Runner II, which had replaced a cuddy inboard. The cuddy replaced the couple’s first boat, an O’Day 22 sailboat that they sailed on Candlewood Lake near Danbury, Connecticut. “When our daughter was a teen, we moved to the Cobalt 233 cuddy and enjoyed staying on board overnight,” Didan says. “After our daughter left for college, we were empty-nesting, and our thoughts turned back to our dream of owning a coastal cruiser.” The Mainship filled that need quite well.
LOA: 43 feet, 3 inches
BEAM: 13 feet, 7 inches (14 feet, 1 inch from 1996)
DRAFT: 4 feet, 2 inches
WEIGHT: 39,000 pounds
HULL TYPE: semidisplacement
PROPULSION: twin diesels from 210 hp
FUEL CAPACITY: 600 gallons fuel, 278 gallons water
BUILDER: Grand Banks Yachts, Holland, Michigan, (616) 499-2519. grandbanks.com
Looking to move up in size, the Manchester, Connecticut, couple first saw the GB42 Europa at the spring boat show at Brewer Essex Island Marina in Essex, Connecticut. Leslie Quarrier of Essex Yacht Sales, who’d sold them their Mainship, had brought Paradis to the show from Greenport, New York. “Of course we went aboard — twice that day — and then [Betsy and I] talked about it all evening,” Didan says. “Two weeks later we went over to Greenport and scheduled a private showing, which enticed us even more.”
A few weeks of reviewing, another trip to Greenport and a “dinghy drive-by — and that was the deciding evening,” he says. “The next day, we made an offer.”
A season of fishing and cruising followed. “Two of our favorite places are Brewer Stirling [marina] in Greenport and our very favorite spot to overnight, the anchorage in Coecles Harbor,” Didan says. “The peacefulness and sunsets are spectacular.” Sometimes the couple stay at their slip at Brewer Essex Island Marina, hanging out with their friends.
But the Didans like it best when their grandchild comes aboard, accompanied by their daughter and son-in-law. There’s plenty of room for the growing family aboard the twin-stateroom trawler, which tops out around 23 mph and cruises easily at 17 to 18 mph. “We take a lunch cruise to another favorite day anchorage, in front of the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam,” Didan says. “And now they all can stay for the entire weekend, with our more spacious accommodations.”
There’s more on the Europa’s upcoming itinerary, too. The couple will be retiring soon, and their plan is to “travel some distances,” as Didan puts it, cruising up the East Coast to Maine, taking the Hudson River route up toward the Erie Canal and the Great Lakes — maybe even venturing south to the Carolinas.
“Paradis was a very well-cared-for vessel, and the owners took pride in keeping her original and pristine,” Didan says. “They were proud to own the final hull, and now we are proud to own that heritage. We have always admired the gracefulness of the Europa and the quality of the craftsmanship.”
PowerBoat Guide calls the Grand Banks 42 Europa an “elegant sedan trawler.” Classic features include a pilothouse saloon, distinctive bulwarks and a trunk cabin, with bridge overhangs defining the model. The flybridge, reached by a ladder, has a full helm station, passenger seating and room for dinghy stowage aft, with a boom for launching.
Below the waterline, the Europa rides a semidisplacement hull with a full keel and protected prop. Original power choices ranged from twin 210-hp diesels to 375-hp power plants that delivered a 15- to 17-mph cruising speed. Cruising fuel capacity is 600 gallons.
The interior, richly finished in varnished teak, has a twin-stateroom layout. The master is forward, with a queen-size island berth and an adjacent head compartment with a shower. The second stateroom, amidships, is laid out with a double berth and a head compartment with a shower stall. The U-shaped galley is up and convenient to the saloon and to the L-shaped dining area with lounge seating. Galley gear includes a cooktop, stove and refrigerator.
In the early 1960s, American Robert Newton and his two sons were building custom sailboats and powerboats on Junk Bay in Hong Kong. In 1963, they launched a 36-foot trawler-style cruiser designed by Ken Smith. They called her Spray. The boat was such a success that the builder devoted itself to the design. Called the Grand Banks, it and its successors were pioneers in the trawler yacht market.
This article originally appeared in the December 2017 issue.