Bluestar 29.9
MAY 2001
Length overall  29'9"
Beam  11'2"
Draft  2'3"
Displacement  10,600 lb
Fuel Capacity  200 gals
Water Capacity  40 gals
Deadrise  22 degrees
Headroom 6'8"
Standard power T/Caterpillar 3406E 800bhp

(Top) The traditional dinette converts to a double berth. (Bottom) Note the yachty look achieved by the contrast between the clean white bulkheads and the brightwork trim and cabinetry.

The Blue Star 29.9 weekend cruiser was born of necessity. "There was an obvious need for a 30-foot boat with plenty of room and plenty of power, and quietness," says Grove Ely, owner of Boatworks Yacht Sales based in Rowayton, CT. Boatworks is one of the top Grand Banks dealerships, as well as selling new Sabres, Calibers and brokerage boats. "Quietness is a very important aspect for boats that size, because when you put a couple of diesels in, often it's very loud. Some of the boats we had dealt with in the past were very noisy, and people didn't like that. We realized that if you could build a really nice, quiet boat, with fine detail, the market was happy to accept that. People will pay for top, top quality."

Ely, who's been at the helm of Boatworks since he founded the dealership in 1970, teamed up with designer Mark Ellis and builder Mark Bruckman to build a boat around that concept. "We wanted twins, we wanted it quiet, and we wanted it big," he recalls. "Designer Mark Ellis is a very capable guy, he spent a number of years with Hunt, so he's got that blue-blood pedigree that gives him the background to build a boat like that." Ellis is perhaps best known for his designs of the Legacy 34 and 40 built by Freedom Yachts.

What he came up with is a beamy boat for its length, providing both stability and interior room. Below, the white bulkheads contrast nicely with the high-gloss teak trim and the teak-and-holly soles. The V-berth is one that any sailor would feel right at home in, and there's a traditional dinette with facing bench seats that convert to a double berth. This arrangement is opposite a fully functional galley with a fridge, two-burner propane stove, stainless-steel sink and lots of storage. An enclosed head and shower separates the V-berth from the galley. Arelatively high-profile cabin top allows for 6Ft. 2" of headroom, and the fourstainless opening ports and three overhead hatches let in a good deal of light and air.

The original models came out with a bimini top, Ely explains, but since Grand Banks' Eastbay cruiser came out with a hard-top model, the Blue Star is now also available with a hard top 'by popular demand.' They even offer a hard top to retrofit on the original boats, one that fits neatly on top of the big stainless-steel-framed windshields. There's a generous helm seat behind that windshield, with an L-shaped settee opposite, and another bench seat in the cockpit, facing aft.

Powered by twin Yanmar 250 HP diesels, Ely says 'the boat cruises really nicely at 24 ,25 knots, and it does over 30 if you really push it. It handles like a slalom skier; it banks beautifully, there's no sideways slip.' The placement of the twin engines, low in the hull, adds to the stability, he explains, stability that's augmented by the placement of the fuel tanks saddled outboard of either engine.

'It's stable by design,' he says, 'it didn't just happen that way. We have to have custom-made engine mounts so we can hang that engine as low as possible. That was one of the difficult design problems, because one of the things we wanted was no engine box. We wanted a totally open cockpit, so the objective became: how do you do that without having the cockpit sole up too high?' You achieve that by creating a tunnel in the bottom of the hull for the prop, which allows you to put the engine low, which allows a relatively straight angle for the shaft. 'When you have the tunnel, you're also controlling the flow of the water around the propeller, so all of those things combine to make a better operating boat,' Ely explains.

The tunnel design also allows a remarkable 27 inches of what Ely calls 'useable draft,' which means you can run the boat in 27 inches of water. Though it's a shallow draft, the hull still maintains a deep-V shape with a 22-degree angle of deadrise, allowing it to boat track well even downwind in a following sea.

Standard items include one manual and two automatic bilge pumps, Ritchie compass, fire etinguishers, teak swim platform, teak bowsprit with an anchor roller, and a pressurized freshwater system.