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Grand banks thoughts?

Discussion in 'Grand Banks Yacht' started by The Revenge, Jul 14, 2010.

  1. The Revenge

    The Revenge New Member

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    New guy here. Read through many forums here and I don't see much talk on new grand banks. We specifically like the Aluetian 53 and 59. Any thoughts on these models?
  2. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    In regards to what?

    Build quality?

    Layout?

    Price?
  3. The Revenge

    The Revenge New Member

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    Mostly build quality. We like the look and layout of the 59'. Little higher in price versus Marlow or Fleming. Out of the three brands does one stand out over the other in terms of build quality?
  4. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    They are all very nice, well built boats. Hard to say one is significantly better than the other.

    The thing to remember with the Marlow is you get a lot for your money because you are buying direct from the manufacturer.
  5. Capt J

    Capt J Senior Member

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    They all are high quality boats. It comes down to how the design fits your type of cruising. Personally, I really like the Fleming exterior layouts and looks. But you cannot go wrong with a Grand Banks either....I'd say those two are on the same level and a Marlowe comes in right below that. But I am not 100% intimate with all 3.
  6. PropBet

    PropBet Senior Member

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    Is Everything!
    ^^Agreed^^
    Fleming / GB, then Marlow.

    We did a lot of long and hard searching for what we thought would be the best boat for our use. Several sea trials, lots of visits, FLIBS, Miami, San Diego, Seattle, Trawler-Fest, internet research, Yacht Forums! etc. Many nights of pondering, thinking it through, debating (wife), etc. etc. etc.

    We looked at GB's 59, Marlow's 57, and both of Fleming's 55 and 65. All are great boats. All are very well put together, engineered, and produced. All of which are essentially in the same class other than weight in that Marlow is a 'light' boat, where as GB and Fleming's are much heavier. Marlow will have you believe their boat is superior to all others because of this. While I can't speak to it being a better boat, it is indeed a fine boat, however we stayed away from it for a couple of reasons.

    We ended up with a GB, which simply put, was based on preference and type of use. It came down to the GB or the Fleming. We drew the final straw with the GB because of cruise speed. (which, I'll warn you now, opens a whole new debate on cruise speed, top speed, and how many dollars an hour your willing to stuff down the fuel line) and at the end of the day, you'll scratch your head still confused.

    All in all, she has been an outstanding boat, however we are now entertaining her replacement. Likely at the end of this season. Replacement not because something's wrong, or we don't love the boat, because we've outgrown it for the use on the great lakes as a family boat, and need / want something slightly larger. Something in the 65 foot range. In that, we'll highly consider Fleming's 65. If you can imagine, with two couples (my wife and I, and our friends) and 4 children, two each, the boat is packed... (in my opinion.... your use / mileage may vary!)

    We have other friends with Fleming's and they are quite pleased with them. Both older boats, and new. I've in my travels heard both camps voice their opinions on Marlow, and rather than taint it with my personal opinion, I'd hope that you do your own research, visit, and investigation to find your own opinion. Not only is it an adventure, it's a great education process to go through as a boat owner. Marlow is a short drive from Ocala and could be a day visit with ease.

    Fleming is a smaller builder, and one thing we found when going through them is that they are very, very well designed and thought out for the long range / cruiser in mind. Their not fast, but they will travel far, and do so quite reliably. Especially a husband / wife team with occasional guests. (in their 55 offerings). The 65 is a completely different boat from the 55. If you have the opportunity, view them side by side to best understand this. Even if you have no intentions or budget to get the 65, it's a comparison that you'll want to do. You will be absolutely stunned in what a boat builder can do in 2 feet of additional beam.

    I have only seen marketing material on the GB53, but from what it looks like, it's a well designed boat taking queues from the 59 so it may ring in very high on your list.

    First things first, define and develop a very good understanding of what you're going to use the boat for, where, when and why. Inspect each boat based on that personal list and inventory, and tune out the sales pitch. It's useless at that point. If the boat doesn't fit your personal needs, then it's not worth the time to look at. Once you get down to a solid list of builders (which you're already at with GB, Marlow and Fleming) the boat will sell itself.

    Enjoy!
  7. Barin

    Barin New Member

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    GB, Fleming and Marlow have all done an admirable job cultivating a strong following through decent builds and a dedicated marketing message. The Aleutian series are very nice boats that offer a lot of nice features, polished cabinetry and well laid out systems. Their drawback is that they are somewhat overpriced for what they provide and the fuel consumption is less than what it could be.

    The Marlow is also a very nice boat, but there are a lot of areas that could be improved to bring it to the top of the class. Take a look at the exterior hardware, the railing, air conditioning vents and others. They work just fine, but they could be outstanding with just a little more effort.

    Fleming is doing the best of these three. The fit and finish is very well done, the low profile handles wind sheer better and I personally just like the styling. Pricing is somewhat prohibited, but then again you did not mention your budget.

    (Disclosure: I'm currently a 100% independent yacht consultant that has been a dealer/broker specializing in the 50'~90' market for the past decade).

    If you're looking at the brokerage market then you are buying at the best time possible. There are numerous amazing deals on these three brands as well as many others. I will tell you that many of these brands will change dramatically from boat to boat depending on how well they were ordered, commissioned, "shaken down" and maintained. I was on a 4 year old 74' Marlow that looked like it was falling apart everywhere you looked then boarded a 7 year old 65' Marlow that was just down the street and that one looked like it was in the showroom. The maintenance difference was dramatic! Pro tip: personally tour boats, but keep in mind that in this genre even models of the same brand will vary greatly from one to the next.

    If you're considering to order a boat then I strongly suggest lining up with a professional that can guide you through the search process, negotiate with the shipyards and look out for contract pitfalls. The shipyard will pay them a commission for representing you, but this will not mean that you're paying more. Believe me, if you go to the yard they will not give you a discount for going direct- they just keep more profit and you do more work on your own. (I know because I've been on both sides of the table).

    Now, if you're considering a new boat I would also add Argos Yachts to your list. I've been consulting with them for the past 10 months and I am super impressed with their hull performance and the overall quality of their work from top to bottom. I don't want to sound biased so just do your own homework on them and make up your mind from there.

    Hope this helps. Feel free to contact me if you have more questions or post here and I'll check back to see if I can help.
  8. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    First of all Barin, you know NOTHING about the marketing of Grand Banks. If you did, you would never lump them into a sentence like "They have done an admirable job cultivating a strong following through a dedicated marketing message". Grand banks has the worst marketing department in the entire industry and it comes down to one man.

    It is clear your commentary on GB, Fleming and Marlow was an attempt to make yourself look educated enough to have an opinion, in which you presented in the form of Argos, a boat and a company that you represent. So before I remove your membership for using YF to further your brokerage exploits, manipulating our members because you have a vested interest, let's clarify a few things...

    I've been onboard the Argos and my brother has sea trialed the boat. While the performance is admirable and the styling is unique, the layout of the boat is awkward, like someone's first attempt at a set of deck plans. I won't go into the particular nuances, of which there were many, but suffice to say we had no interest in doing a review on the boat.

    We will let this thread run its course, but then your membership will be removed. YachtForums was developed for yacht owners, buyers and enthusiasts to exchange information... not for brokers to cultivate new leads.
  9. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    "The shipyard will pay them a commission for representing you, but this will not mean that you're paying more."

    isn't that what is usually called a kick back or a bribe?

    when a yard or installer is paying a commission to the person you hired to represent you, that person is no longer working for you and is no longer looking after your interests!
  10. lovinlifenc

    lovinlifenc Member

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    ^^^^
    If said broker is not the listing broker, who is to say they would automatically switch to "representing the seller" if the yard offered him a commission, or referral fee. This activity takes place all the time in various industries without sacrificing the buyer/broker representation expectations.
  11. RVN-BR

    RVN-BR Senior Member

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    Wow.... I'm afraid to even post an opinion on here...

    But anyways, I know for a fact that Marlow sub-contracts (or at least used to until about 2008 or 2009), their manufacturing to several factories in China, Taiwan and possibly other places (including maybe the US? Maybe they even have a factory of their own? I have no idea)...

    I know this not because I have *any* involvement with Marlow or any experience with any of their boats, but merely because I built a boat in Taiwan in a factory that used to build 2 or 3 different Marlow models (iirc it was a 74 and an 80-something? or 60-sommthing and 72?) Anyways, maybe that is the difference that some are noticing in upkeep between different models, although I do agree that upkeep of a boat is perhaps at least 60-70% maintenance and 30 or 40% original builder...

    Also, because of the above fact, it would be incorrect to say as the first responder did that "buying a marlow you buy straight from the manufacturer"... Maybe you buy straight from the company, without a RESELLER or DISTRIBUTOR, but they arent the manufacturers per se...

    That being said, the boats that I saw under construction had a very high level of finish, and overall quality was very good. This post is not meant in any way shape or form as a means to put down any mfgr's image, much to the contrary... Just want to set some stuff straight...
  12. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    a referral fee is paid for the "consultant" to bring business... which means that he will be more inclined to bring business to the yard paying him a fee than to the yard that offers the best service / price / quality.

    yes, it happens all the time but it doesn't make it right. it's just as bad as politicians who are supposed to represent "the people" taking bribes (hmm... sorry.. campaign contributions) from industries they are supposed to regulate...
  13. NYCAP123

    NYCAP123 Senior Member

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    Only politicians can say with a straight face "They're giving me money but that won't affect my opinion". The rest of us usually aren't that practiced. I've been offered "finder's fees" many times to steer my clients to a broker, model, etc. Puts too much in question.
  14. lovinlifenc

    lovinlifenc Member

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    The only yard at a disadvantage would be the yard who refuses to pay a commission. If the client is dumb enough to let the broker steer them to a inferior product to claim their commision, then they might want to reconsider buying a passagemaker. I can imagine what might happen during a long transatlantic voyage that might be devastating to such an uneducated buyer.

    As with any yacht purchase, an independent survey and sea trial is a necessity, regardless of how much the client trusts their broker. Broker misrepresentation is a problem, but the facts of the seaworthiness of the vessel and the builder are all verifiable if the buyer has done their proper due diligence. Like most things, BUYER BEWARE!

    I would rather have a broker consult me on a new yacht purchase than go to a boat show and talk to the Builder's sales and marketing people. Nothing is perfect, I suppose.
  15. Capt Bill11

    Capt Bill11 Senior Member

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    "Also, because of the above fact, it would be incorrect to say as the first responder did that "buying a marlow you buy straight from the manufacturer"... Maybe you buy straight from the company, without a RESELLER or DISTRIBUTOR, but they arent the manufacturers per se..."

    They are the manufacturer, they build the boats, they have their own factory (Norseman-Marlow that is) and you don't buy through a dealer network.

    http://www.norsemenshipyard.com/

    I think no matter how you spin it, you are buying from the "the manufacturer".

    Barin lost credibility with this statement AFAIC:

    "The Marlow is also a very nice boat, but there are a lot of areas that could be improved to bring it to the top of the class. Take a look at the exterior hardware, the railing, air conditioning vents and others. They work just fine, but they could be outstanding with just a little more effort."

    Marlow's, while not perfect, have big solid S.S. and teak rails (unless you spec the light weight foam cored faux teak rails) and first class heavy duty exterior hardware.

    Do these details and equipment look second rate to you:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
  16. Since this thread started as a request for Grand Banks thoughts, lets get back to basics. Grand Banks in my opinion was the first top quality far east builder to concentrate on the US market. They were building wooden boats when David Marlow and Tony Fleming had not even dreamed of building boats. David Marlow was actually a Grand Banks dealer for many years back when Grand Banks only built slow boats. His boats were designed to appeal to the Grand Banks buyer who wanted to run faster.
    The other makes brought up in the thread, Marlow and Fleming, along with Offshore and Outer Reef, appeal to the same market, the buyer who wants a traditional design with a classic interior of wood, and a higher cruising speed than trawlers. All of these builders have a good reputation for quality, but Grand Banks is by far the builder with the longest track record.
  17. RVN-BR

    RVN-BR Senior Member

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    As I said in my post, I dont know what the situation is now... I know for a fact that up until not very long ago they outsourced part of their line to other builders (good/very good builders, who followed their strict specs afaik), but still not "their own factory"... I was in Taiwan and saw the Marlow boats being built, in another factory.... I think they only build/built upto about 58ft in the China factory... This may have changed, but I heard this from the people over there, they said that quality-wise larger boats were still easier and better to build in Taiwan (take this with a grain of salt as it was said by Taiwanese ppl....) I also know that they recruited Taiwanese ppl from several yards to work there, as is the norm for chinese-based yards, that tend to take benefit from the qualified yet cheaper labour force in mainland China, while using experienced Taiwanese managers and engineers with years of yard experience in Taiwan (which in case anyone doesn't know is where hundreds of yachts come from under all sorts of different brands)....

    EDIT: And I agree with you about "buying from the manufacturer", in part... What happens is that now adays, in this globalized day and age, it doesnt really make much of a difference where the boat is "assembled".... As long as top quality materials and parts are being used (which is the case in many Asian/Taiwan yards), what matters really is the project itself... It is like buying a Zegna suit and finding out that it is "Made in xxxx".... Wherever xxxx may be, it doesnt for one second mean it is an inferior product.... it is "Made in Zegna" that you are paying for, not the direct production cost (although this always factors in, especially as wages tend to increase in the developed world, and we tend to not want to pay climbing prices for the same goods that were cheaper a few years ago).... Now adays, buying from the manufacturer is exactly as you said, buying from the people that designed and inspect the build... but since there was some comments about different upkeep of different models, i thought it would be interesting to factor in that models are being built by different companies under ODM contracts...

  18. Barin

    Barin New Member

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    I'm not sure if I'm supposed to reply or just move on with life. Who needs this type of backlash when you're just trying to help? Geez...

    1) When compared to the many brands in its segment GB does a decent job of staying relevant. In the world of boating, brand value has as a lot to do with people knowing that you exist. It's a lot easier to sell a Grand Banks then less popular names. That's the only point I was trying to make.

    2) Several of you are making assumptions that somehow I would benefit from the original poster buying a boat that I consulted for. That's just not the case- I have no such arrangement and went out of my way to say that it was just one to consider and for that fellow to do his own homework.

    3) @Capt.Bill11- Marlow makes a very nice boat, I've stated that already. All I'm saying is that with some small efforts the brand could go to the next level, but maybe then so will the price. For example, the boat deck lights are just bolted on. With time the ocean will wear on them and you either keep polishing or replace them. Custom sportfishing boats mold these same lights into the hard tops completely encasing them and protecting them. The result is both attractive and intelligent. Another example is their exterior side railing. It's bolted on from the top to the deck. Not only are the screws a pain to keep clean, but with time the wear and tear on the rails usually means removing and rebedding the rails to prevent or stop little leaks that form from gaps in the caulking. It happens to many, many boats. A nice fix is to do what many megayachts and custom boats do and that's to use a base that screws from the bottom so that there are no exterior horizontal screws to collect water and dust. There's no denying that the Marlow hawses and engraving work is very attractive, but there's always room for improvement.

    4) @lovinlifenc: that's all I was saying. Get informed, get the right help and make the best decision. Brokers don't know everything about every model, but they should know enough to point out the pitfalls and, more importantly, usually know the right people to turn to to fill in the rest of the blanks. All boats and builders have their ups and downs. You need to look into every factor in advance and that's where the right team can help (broker, surveyor, contract attorney). It's incredible how people will rely on a CPA, stock broker, insurance agent and the such to make financial decisions, but will just go into a $2 million dollar purchase on their own.

    Be smart, don't be swayed by pretty magazine ads or dazzling videos. Forget brands at first and just tour, sea trial or charter until you find what feels good to you and your family. Figure out what speeds/accomodations/looks are comfortable to you and then look for boats that have that as their sweet spot. And don't waste money on options you know you will never need. Boating is expensive enough as it is, no need for you to make it more so.

    Good luck, and as I understand it...good bye.
  19. RicF

    RicF New Member

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    Barin - I for one appreciate your posts - but I think you
    upset the Forum Police! Reminds me of Soup Nazi - Seinfeld - whatever ....
  20. YachtForums

    YachtForums Administrator

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    Ric,

    I'm not sure any of our three moderators would qualify for that title. For example, Kevin runs an aerospace company and keeps check on YF as time allows. Lars is actively involved in the design and build of a successful line of boats in Sweden. And while I'm not at liberty to discuss what I really do, I'm pretty sure it's more important than being a forum commando.

    I believe the moderators here, as well as many active, contributing members of YachtForums feel a certain pride in being a part of a medium that is unadulterated by the typical BS that plagues other forms of media. I would venture to guess this may be one of the reasons you chose to become a member at YF too.

    As we approach 100,000 posts, I think it speaks volumes that we've been able to keep promotion and solicitation in check, while allowing the truth to rear it's real head. While you have been here for one month and made three posts, many of us have been here 24/7 for 7 years, working hard to build a resource for everyone with an interest in yachts.

    I, for one, think we've done a pretty good job. Opinions will vary.