The GT325 is the first yacht in years from the British builders GT Yachts. David Harding gets a preview ahead of the cruiser's launch
Back in 2014, GT Yachts launched the GT35 – a fast, roomy and powerful cruiser designed by Stephen Jones.
It was very well received but, for GT Yachts, the costs and complexities involved in outsourcing production meant that only one boat was built and plans for further models in the range had to go on hold.
Now, the company is back with a new investor and co-director, its own production facility at Mercury Yacht Harbour and a brand-new boat.
The GT325 is a development of Stephen Jones’s Sadler 290 and shares many of the same features on a larger scale, such as lead keels (fin or twin) on the bottom of moulded stubs to keep the centre of gravity as low as possible and allow for a powerful rig.
The 325 also has a high-volume hull to give an exceptionally roomy interior for a fast cruiser of this size, together with an unusually deep, fully enclosed cockpit, high coamings, a fixed windscreen and moulded bulwarks for security on deck.
As well as space, pace, stability and comfort, GT Yachts has placed great emphasis on the structure.
GT Yachts’ founder, Conrad Cockburn, is a chartered engineer and naval architect and has worked with Jones to create what should be an extremely tough boat.
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For example, keel stubs are moulded as part of the hull and incorporate fibres that run as continuous laminates from one side of the hull to the other.
Substantial frames and stringers are also laminated into the hull and through the stubs, which incorporate sufficient radius where they join the hull to avoid compromises caused by sharp angles.
As you would expect, bulkheads are bonded directly to the hull and deck. An unusual refinement, however, will be the absence of the telltale capping along the top of the bulkheads to hide the laminate that joins them to the deckhead.
Instead, the 18mm ply will have a strip of the outer veneer removed. Two 3mm veneers will then be applied over the laminated sections to restore the original thickness.
In terms of layout, the 325 will have the master cabin in the bow, forward of which will be a large deck locker. The heads and shower will be aft, opposite the galley. A forward heads can be added as an option.
Choices externally will include wheel (standard) or tiller steering and a 115% headsail in place of the self-tacker.
GT Yachts plans to launch the first of the 325s, which will be fitted with twin keels and in-mast reefing, later this summer.
It’s a great shame that the GT35 never had a chance to realise its potential.
The moulds still exist, but the new model is being launched under more auspicious circumstances and looks set to attract a good deal of interest.
Price is from £210,000 ex VAT. www.gtyachts.com
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