John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.
Grand banks 55 eastbay sx
AUGUST 2008
 
   
Length overall  59'10"
Beam  16'4"
Draft  4'10"
Displacement  66,600 lb
Fuel Capacity  1,000 gals
Water Capacity  180 gals
Base Price  $1,520,470

Grand banks 55 eastbay interior

For more than 50 years, Grand Banks has been building high quality trawler yachts with traditional lines. With a successful range of semi-displacement trawlers to its credit, in 1993 the company launched a new Downeaster-style cruiser based on a high performance deep-V design by Ray Hunt. The new boat was the Eastbay 38, and it hit the industry like a tidal wave, quickly establishing the standard by which future Downeast cruisers would be measured.

The flagship of the Eastbay line is the new 55 SX. I joined Roger Mooney of Jarrett Bay Yacht Sales in Baltimore, Md., to take the 55 for a spin on a picture-perfect June day. Looking her up and down, it only took a few seconds for me to realize that every detail of her design and construction was well thought out. As a professional captain, I greatly appreciated her substantial stainless steel railing, wide side decks and deck hardware. She had no less than four separate line chocks down each side from bow to stern, with two large cleats for each chock. Despite all that hardware, she maintains a yachty look with highly polished stainless and varnished teak accents—toe rails, dorade boxes and flag staff.

The saloon/pilothouse is cavernous and fitted out with all kinds of push-button comfort, from a retracting LCD TV and motorized dinette table to an aft glass window which automatically opens to provide a pass-through between saloon and cockpit. If you want to feel more out of doors, flip the switch and an enormous sunroof opens up to the sky. In addition to all those creature comforts and modern conveniences, the Eastbay pilothouse is designed for boat operation. Forward visibility and deck access are excellent. Doors port and starboard lead to the side decks; the cockpit door and that big aft window provide access and visibility astern.

The accommodations area and galley are forward and down four steps from the saloon. The galley has an open feel and is equipped with two large drawer-style refrigerators, a convection/microwave oven and cook top. Our test boat had two staterooms with island queen beds and hanging lockers; and two heads with separate stall showers. (The standard layout has twin bunks in the quest stateroom.) Grand Banks also offers this boat in a three-stateroom plan with the galley located in the main saloon.

Underway the Eastbay was powerful but remarkably quiet. In close-quarters maneuvers, I could really feel the power of each of the 835-hp Caterpillar diesel engines. Although the 55 SX is a high performance cruiser, going at a slower trawler speed is no problem. With both engines in idle forward, we made 7.3 knots and burned only 4.4 gallons per hour. Moving along at 20 to 25 knots (between 1800 and 2000 rpm) we saw burn rates of 51 gph and 62 gph respectively. Wide open, we reached 30 knots and burned 90 gph.