Designed to combine comfortable accommodation with excellent performance and good handling characteristics, the Grand Soleil 50 also offers a dash of Italian styling. Take a look for yourself in the boats.com Grand Soleil 50 First Look Video, filmed at Southampton Boat Show 2015.
The latest model from Cantiere del Pardo, Italy’s largest boatbuilder is a 50-footer that has been completely remodeled by the Botin and Carkeek design teams. The result is a distinctive and up-to-date design that retains the brand’s key features of performance, allied with comfort and reliability.
Changes from the previous 50' model include a new hull and deck design, with a composite carbon and fiberglass structural frame to spread the keel loads. This replaces the steel frame used in previous generations of Grand Soleil's 50' versions. There’s now a much cleaner appearance, with flatter decks, concealed lines, and an open transom with a fold-down swim platform. The biggest changes, however, is belowdecks–the galley is now located at the front of the saloon.
The builder has made a significant effort to improve the quality of the interior joinery in this boat compared to earlier models. The most striking aspects of the layout are the big navigation station to starboard at the foot of the companionway–it’s large enough to be used as a floating office–and the galley located forward of this, adjacent to the main bulkhead. This is of an impressive size and is well equipped, including a four-burner cooker, double stainless-steel sink, and a top-opening refrigerator. There’s plenty of stowage here and in general fiddles are commendably deep.
Opposite on the port side is more stowage and another area that could be used for food preparation or serving drinks. The remainder of the saloon, which takes up most of the port side of this part of the boat, is given over to a long L-shape settee, around a large folding table.
The owner’s cabin occupies the forward part of the boat ahead of the main bulkhead, and has a spacious feel, with ample room to move around. A number of configurations are possible here, including twin beds or a peninsula double, both with luxury heads and top-notch shower compartments.
The mirror-image aft cabins are of a decent size and don’t share a common bulkhead, which adds to privacy and helps with sound insulation between the cabins. These both share the aft day head, which again is well appointed, including a separate shower stall.
Grand Soleil has a long history of producing boats that are easy to sail fast. This one is no exception, with the mainsheet, traveller and primary winches all within easy reach of the helm stations. The expansive deck areas forward are complemented by a fold-down, aft bathing platform. This works well for boats sailing in warmer climes and makes boarding from a tender both easier and safer. There’s good stowage on deck, including a huge sail locker forward that can be fitted out as a crew’s cabin if required.
As with earlier designs in the series, the bulwarks and outer edge of the deck are still incorporated in the hull molding, while all bulkheads are laminated to the hull. The effect is to massively increase the stiffness of the structure.
Under the water is a racing-style keel with an iron fin from which a lead T-bulb is hung. Three different keels are offered – the standard 8'6" draft option, a 9'6" deep fin, and a 7'2" shallow draft alternative. There’s also a race version that has about six percent more sail area.
Equipment and Options
A generally high level of equipment is provided as standard, including items such as four AGM batteries and a 60-amp charger. As standard, the woodwork is in oak, with teak as an option. Other options below decks include cabin heating and a freezer in the galley. On deck, there are the usual wide range of options for upgrading the sail inventory and for instrumentation.
What it Does Best
This design clearly achieves its aim of providing a stylish and easily handled fast cruiser and combines this with the welcome option of a different saloon layout that may widen the boat’s appeal. There's been no attempt to shoehorn in as many small cabins as possible, with the result that all areas are of a generous size, both internally and on deck.
While most GS 50s are likely to spend the bulk of their lives as fast cruising yachts, as with other Grand Soleil models in the past, some are also very likely to be found on racecourses around the world. Past results tell us the new 50 footer has every chance of success in this sphere as well, whether racing inshore or offshore.
Not everyone will like the saloon layout–when the cook is farther forward in the boat there will be a little more motion here at sea than with a conventionally positioned galley. Also the arrangement means there’s no viable sea berth on the starboard side of the saloon.
Other Choices: Recent models a buyer in this range might also consider are the Beneteau Sense 50, Hanse 505 and the Jeanneau Sun Odyssey 509.
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|Fuel capacity||82 gal.|
|Water capacity||137 gal.|