Grand Banks Europa 46 Review

Issue: June 2005

After driving so many planing hulls in recent times, I had almost forgotten how relaxing a semi-displacement hull is in a seaway. Sitting in the helm seat on the flybridge of the Grand Banks Europa 46, with the warm sun and the smooth motion of the boat as it rose to the 1m swell, it would have been easy to doze off. 

Built in Singapore, the Europa 46 is one of the Heritage range, which retains the traditional Grand Banks trawler look that started with the legendary Grand Banks 36 in the early 1960s.

Semi-displacement Hull
The semi-displacement hull strikes a good balance between a full displacement hull and a planing hull. 

The long keel provides good directional stability when cruising at around 10 knots and when running at hull speed of around 20 knots. The big advantage is that when the engines are powered up the hull gets up on the plane. Although it is not as efficient at speed as a true planing hull, it provides the flexibility of choosing various engine options.

The hull incorporates flat chines that start amidships and continue aft. The original hulls used to roll somewhat, but this design gives the hull a high initial stability, a big plus in rough sea. The Grand Banks Europa 46 is powered by twin 450hp Cats. It comes standard with twin 350hp Cats, but the owner opted for the bigger Cats, which set him back about another $50,000.

The Aquadrive anti-vibration system is standard on the Europa 46 and larger Grand Banks. This consists of constant velocity joints on the shaft s that stop vibration. It’s very effective and there wasn’t the hint of vibration in the boat, from idle right through the rev range.

Serious Cruiser
According to Bill Alle from Grand Banks Yachts at Marina Mirage, the owner is an experienced cruising enthusiast. He readily admitted that he chose the Europa because he considers it a safe boat to take his young family on extended cruises.

One of the features he liked was the wide walk-around decks and the substantial bulwarks and guardrails that will keep kids onboard. He also opted for a third cabin with top and bottom bunks and, although an option, there is plenty of room to build it in and it only takes a little out of the starboard side day head.

There is no doubt that the Europa 46 is a serious cruising boat, designed for extended, long range cruising. There is so much storage in the cedar-lined hanging lockers and draws in the cabins, galley and in the cockpit, even on the flybridge, that an owner would need to keep a log of where everything was. Otherwise, something could get lost for literally months on the boat before it was found again. Then there is the huge utility room aft of the engine room.

It is so big that the washer dryer looks a little lonely by itself. There is even room to put another bunk in, so imagine what could be stored down there ? and aft of that again is a large lazarette.

Overall Finish
The cabinetry and finish on the boat is superb, and the little things, many of them not obvious at first, are testimont to Grand Bank’s attention to detail. The teak grills in the bottom of lockers, the two positive catches on the dishwasher in the galley, the handholds all around the boat, including a couple on the flybridge, the teak walkway in the engine room, the full-length mirror in the master stateroom, and the wiring loom in the engine room are works of art. It all makes a difference.

With a fuel capacity of 2392lt the Europa 46 is meant to go places. Be it at a leisurely pace, best cruising speed is around 16 knots and the top speed of the hull is a shade over 20 knots, but that is what cruising is all about, getting there in style and at your own time. Some people have all the luck.

For & Against
Powerboats have one of three types of hull designs: displacement, semi-displacement or planing. There are advantages and disadvantages of each, so it is important to consider the use your boat will get when deciding which hull design to choose.

A semi-displacement hull strikes a good balance between a full displacement and planing hull. Its keel provides good directional stability at all speeds and when running at hull speed, it is as stable and as economical as most full displacement designs. 

The key advantage to the semi-displacement hull design is that when enough power is applied, this hull can get up on plane. While it is not as efficient at high speeds through the water as a true planing hull, it does provide the flexibility in choosing various engine and horsepower options, which will deliver a variety of speeds. 

All Grand Banks models are designed with a semi-displacement hull, which incorporates flat chines beginning at the midship section and continuing aft. This flat area provides high initial stability, especially noticeable in marinas or rough anchorages, but also very advantageous in rough seas.

Engine Room
This Grand Banks Europa 46 was fitted with optional 450hp Caterpillar engines. The Aquadrive antivibration system is standard and is a very effective way to dampen vibration in the vessel.

Best cruising speed is around 16 knots and, remembering that this is a semi-displacement hull, the top speed was around 20 knots.

LOA: 5.79m
LOA: 47? 1?
LWL: 44? 9.5?
BEAM: 14? 9?
PRICE: 1.474m

+ Semi-displacement hull. Superb finish

– Nothing to report

Words by Kevan Wolfe