Grand Banks Tour

As aficionado of trawlers, i have always revered Grand Banks. this stalwart of the boat world has always built quality trawlers. There was a time when Grand Banks was synonymous with trawler, much like motorcycle and Harley Davidson are exchangeable.

In my long career in yacht sales i tried to compete with Grand Banks with several other makes of yachts, usually with little success. Grand Banks owners were fiercely loyal and the boats were seen as reliable and a statement of quality and prestige, all warranted. They simply could not be beat.

About the same time as Selene and Nordhavn came along, revolutionizing the trawler market with true passage makers, Grand Banks took a different path. They changed to high horse power, faster short range boats. Gone was the branding of “Reliable Diesel Trawlers” that served them for decades. The boat they built were the expected high quality but fit into a different market. The loyal Grand Banks 42 owner, of which there were hundreds, was not served by this change. The trawler lover moved to other builders.

i have always been proud of the fact that the boat business in the Seattle area was filled with decent hard competing people. We fought for the sale but not at the expense of integrity when it came to other dealers–usually. We all stayed respectful and friends, especially the Grand Banks people with whom we were neighbors. One of our disgruntled employees gave the wild haired homeless guy who staked his claim on a major Seattle street corner nearby, one of our Selene shirts. He wore the shirt for a month, and boy did i hear about it. So seeking reprieve from this dubious publicity, i popped in the GB office and asked if i could buy one of their shirts. They gave me a puzzled look so i broke into laughter and told them what i wanted to do with it, we all got a chuckle but i did not get a shirt.

On my last trip through Singapore i remembered that the GB factory is close by so this time i contacted them and got a cordial invitation to a tour of their boat yard. Their driver picked me up and took me to the factory. Wow, what beautiful plant, the place was impeccable. We went through the area were the tooling is made, form then the buildings are laid out following the process.

After the tour i was taken to lunch by two of the company executives; manufacturing manager, Mohidin Pitchai Rowther and Raman Artanan. We had a great time talking about past experiences. They commented that my connection to GB was long when i told them i sold the first GB, a wood 36, to the man who later organized their very successful Grand Banks Rendezvous.

I want to thank the staff of Grand Banks for the warm welcome and tour. It was great to be back in a boat yard, smell the fiberglass resin, inspect the boats in various stages of completion and to talk shop with real pros. Once a carnie always a carnie they say.