Grand Banks 36 Sedan buyer’s guide: Rugged trawler with a fair turn of pace

Our resident used boat expert Phil Sampson explains how to find a good Grand Banks 36 Sedan on the secondhand market…

The use of the word Sedan, in transport terms, originates from the eponymous French town where the use of wheel-less and often luxuriously appointed people carriers – Sedan chairs – was popularised.

The word was adopted by the automotive world, where a Sedan refers to a vehicle with three compartments; one for the engine, one for the passengers and one for their luggage.

Exactly how Grand Banks came to use the name for one of its immensely popular boats (circa 1,400 were built) has been lost in the mists of time.

Suffice to say that when it comes to creature comforts and carrying capacity, the Grand Banks 36 Sedan fares well in any comparison to its hand-hauled and automotive cousins.

The 36 Sedan is one of a trio of trawler-style cruisers based on Grand Banks’ 35ft 2in hull, the others being the extended-flybridge 36 Europa and the aft-cabin 36 Classic.

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With its classic trawler lines including an enclosed saloon atop a flush deck, the 36 Sedan is the ‘sportiest’ of the three.

As Colin Watts of Boat Showrooms, Grand Banks’ long-time UK importer, puts it, “The 36 Sedan combines the rugged qualities of a displacement cruiser with semi-displacement performance if required.”

And Colin should know, for in 1991 he collected the boat featured in our review, currently on offer for £149,995, when it arrived in Rotterdam from Grand Banks’ Singapore manufacturing base.

“I remember bringing that particular boat over as the weather was truly awful – we had to nose into an unforgiving sea for seven hours!” he recalls. “But the boat took it in its stride – it’s a remarkable vessel.”

Heavy hitter

That view is shared by former Grand Banks 36 Sedan owner Peter Hazelton, who together with wife Jeanette owned the self-same boat for 16 years.

“The 36 Sedan is just so heavy and stable in the water – it goes wherever you point it,” he confirms. “You might think you’re going to have problems in the wind, but you don’t. And if you see a large wave coming don’t worry; it will pass by without you noticing it.

“The only downside is in a large following sea where the boat has a tendency to wallow, but you just get used to it.”


Beautiful craftsmanship is apparent in the chunky transom door

In 2019 Peter sold his boat to its current owners, Richard and Diana Gloyn. They have spent the past two years refreshing and adding to the vessel to make it their own, but health issues for Richard are now forcing its sale.

“What I was looking for was a boat with a saloon that offers a great all-round view,” he says. “With its large area of glass the 36 Sedan certainly does that, and the sizeable aft cockpit adds to the appeal in good weather.

“We have only used her as a day boat, but I have no doubt she would be more than suitable for longer passages. At the end of the shafts are two socking great props, which give a very civilised ride if you wind them up a bit, and she turns on a sixpence – manoeuvrability is very good indeed.”


Traditional ship’s wheel is a joy to use while simple helm layout makes it easy to update

Both Richard and Peter commented on the convenience of the helm door, which opens onto the starboard sidedeck.

“It enabled me to use the boat single-handed,” says Peter. “All you need is a 2m spring line to drop over a cleat on the pontoon.

“Once you’re on, there’s a mid- ships access point which allows you to quickly step ashore. It makes tying up very easy.”

In terms of other notable GB 36 Sedan features, the list is long. Outside, the super-safe walkaround deck is bounded by high bulwarks and elegantly detailed varnished handrails.


There’s more varnish at the stern, (prospective purchasers note: varnish = work), where a chunky transom door leads to a bathing platform, which although small allows for the fitment of dinghy davits.

The spacious aft cockpit provides an ideal setting for candlelit dinners for two, and up front a beefy arrangement at the pulpit houses the anchor, windlass and a shore power socket.

These features combine to give the 36 Sedan a little ship feeling which aficionados of classic craft are sure to appreciate.

The flybridge is accessed from the aft cockpit by way of a steep ladder, which owner Richard found a bit too much so converted it to give a lesser gradient.


The flybridge would be a wonderful space for entertaining under blue skies, rather than the drizzle we experienced on our visit

Capacious interior

The day of our visit – cold, wet and windy – the flybridge was not a place you would want to be. We were, however, able to appreciate the space it affords for entertaining.

As with the saloon, this was considerable. At the forward end, two back-to-back double benches provide seating for eight, including the helmsperson, for whom all key controls have been duplicated.

To aft is a large L-shaped seat and table with plenty of deck space left over to add director’s chairs or sun loungers. High sides and handrails give an assurance of safety and we can imagine on a warm, calm day there would be no better place to spend some time.


The cosy teak-clad interior has ‘little ship’ appeal and is cavernous compared to other 36-footers

Back down the ladder, on entering the saloon through its main rear door you’d be forgiven for wondering what boat you’ve walked into, for compared to most 36-footers the saloon is cavernous.

Given that aft of the saloon lies a 6ft-plus cockpit, the amount of indoor space is little short of breathtaking. One surprising point to note is that Peter found he repeatedly bashed his hip on the table when entering the saloon.

The solution was to move the table a few inches to port so it now clears the door while still leaving plenty of room between itself and the seats.


An ample L-shaped seating area leads out to a secure aft cockpit with tall side coamings and wraparound handrails

While he was at it, Peter also reduced the depth of the saloon’s rear cabinet and moved it to starboard to create more entry room.

“It was worthwhile, as in standard trim the drawers were so deep you had to get on your hands and knees to reach the back!” he says.

Apart from the table, the next thing that strikes you is the wood. It’s everywhere, from the classic parquet flooring to the array of saloon cabinets and galley cupboards, extending right up to the helm itself.


As with most of the interior, the galley cabinets are made from durable high-quality teak

Everything is made from high-quality teak which we can confirm stands the test of time – the woodwork on our 30-year-old review boat was as-new throughout. One word of caution: parquet flooring can be extremely slippery when wet.

So concerned was Peter, that rather than enjoying the aesthetics and risking it, he laid carpet while the boat was in his ownership.

The central companionway leads below decks to where the compromise between saloon space and sleeping accommodation becomes apparent.


The forward master cabin features a traditional vee-berth but enjoy lots of natural light

The forward V-berth, although benefiting from natural light and being perfectly serviceable, is somewhat on the compact side.

The second cabin, which sits to port opposite the heads and features a large sliding door for privacy, has a bed which we suspect was billed as a double (there are two reading lights above the bedhead) but tapers towards the foot.

We think this could lead to some grumbling, kneeing and elbowing at night, perhaps even forcing the loser to clamber up into the canvas berth that hangs above the bed, but which in our review boat was long gone.


The bathroom features an electric toilet and more teak detailing

What these cabins do have, though, is plenty of storage space – like the rest of the boat there are lockers and drawers everywhere. An electric toilet, basin and shower completes the picture downstairs.

Our review boat was equipped with twin 225hp Ford Sabre six-cylinder turbocharged engines. This was the mid-power option, the other choices being a pair of 200hp or 250hp lumps from Cummins.

The top speeds delivered are 14, 15 or 17 knots depending on engine, suggesting client preference or service availability may well have steered the propulsion decisions of the original specifiers. The engines are accessed via a hatch in the saloon.


Storage is generous throughout the Grand Banks 36 Sedan

When Peter Hazelton took ownership of the boat he found the noise levels too intrusive, so added a thick layer of insulation to quieten them down. “Another very worthwhile exercise,” he comments.

When MBY tested a Grand Banks 36 Classic way back in 1979 – at which point the vessel cost a princely £50,000 – we concluded this was one economic boat.

Fifteen years later we took part in a delivery trip from the Netherlands where that view was confirmed; we reported using 7 gallons per hour at 9.9 knots and 18.5 gallons per hour at a top speed of 14.7 knots.

The only problem was that by then, the purchase price had soared to beyond £175,000.

The second berth has a sliding door for privacy and a rather diminutive double bed

Grand Banks 36 Sedan: Surveyor’s report

Grand Banks are well known for their sturdy construction, and this is no exception. The ‘little ship’ feeling you get when entering the wheelhouse inspires confidence and pride of ownership.

Points to note when considering buying:

  • The quantity of teak decking on these boats is legendary. Ensure they have not been over scrubbed and look out for missing plugs and exposed fixing heads.
  • Trademark varnished teak transom and handrails are particularly prone to UV degradation. Ensure all are sound, as this is time-consuming to restore.
  • The amount of glass around the wheelhouse and saloon risks extensive UV degradation of the timber, veneers and soft furnishing inside, unless screened.
  • It is critical that given her age, engine service history is checked and verified – including cleaning the heat exchanger, and exhaust injection castings.
  • A thorough sea trial is vital, with extended run at maximum revs to ensure temperatures remain within specs throughout.
  • The cruising range of these boats means that air-con, a generator and watermaker may have been fitted. If the boat has been little used, these systems could be problematical when needed, so test thoroughly.

She is a stiff boat and will have a lively movement in a seaway. However, 36ft is just long enough to ride the waves without drama.

In coastal and offshore waters, she should plough on regardless with dignity and aplomb, and will always retain that timeless ‘classic’ look.

-Chris Olsen MIIMS, Olsen Marine Surveying


Grand Banks 36 Sedan specifications

Type: GRP Trawler-style motor cruiser
Designer: Kenneth Smith/American Marine (PTE) Ltd
Hull type: Semi-displacement
RCD category: Cat A
Current value: £130,000 – £190,000
LOA: 12.32m (40’ 5”)
Beam: 3.86m (12’ 8”)
Draught: 1.22m (4’)
Air draught (mast up): 6.12m (20’ 1”)
Air draught (mast down): 3.94m (12’ 11”)
Displacement: 26,000 lbs
Fuel capacity: 390 USG
Water capacity: 205 USG
Performance: 5 l/nm @ 12kn
Cruising range: 236nm at 12kn with 20% reserve
Annual marina mooring: £7,995.00 – on the Hamble River (UK) downstream of Bursledon bridge
Annual fuel burn: 50 hours cruising at 12 knots would consume 1,250 litres

What’s on the market?


Price: £149,950
Date: 1991
Engines: Twin 225 hp Ford Sabre
Location: Lymington


Price: £139,739
Date: 1993
Engines: Twin 210 hp Cummins
Location: Santander, Spain

In association with SETAG Yachts. Design and refit specialists SETAG Yachts bring luxury to the pre-owned market – by creating the bespoke yacht of your dreams, with no compromise. To fall in love with your boat all over again visit or call + 44 (0)1752 648618 for more details.

First published in the January 2022 issue of MBY.

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