The GT 36 is part of the Gran Turismo lineup that spans five boats from 36' - 50' (10.97 m - 15.24 m). This newest model comes off the drawing board in France, but she's made in the factory in Cadillac, Michigan. She is available in either sterndrive or outboard versions, and her interior boasts some creative thinking on the part of the design team.
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||4.9 sec.|
|0 to 30||22.5 sec.|
|Props||Rev 4 17p|
|Load||3 persons; 75% fuel; 50 lbs. gear|
|Climate||79 deg., 90 humid., wind: 5-10 mph, seas: calm|
2 x 300-hp Mercury Verado
2x 350-hp Mercury Verado (max)
BENETEAU Gran Turismo 36: BENETEAU Designed, American Made
By Capt. Steve
BENETEAU’s GT 36 is part of its Gran Turismo lineup that spans five boats from 36’ – 50’ (10.97 m – 15.24 m). This newest model comes off the drawing board in France, but she’s made in the factory in Cadillac, Michigan. She is available in either sterndrive or outboard versions, and her interior boasts some creative thinking on the part of the design team.
Her design is such that the beam is carried so far forward, creating more interior space, particularly in the bow. But she still keeps a narrow entry for slicing through the waves. The mold for the hull will always have a cutout for a thruster, whether one is ordered or not. As for the power options, that calls for a different design as well. The stern ¼ of the hull mold will be changed, depending on which power package is ordered, sterndrive or outboard. We’ve seen where other builders just use the same hull for both, and that causes some operational setbacks. Here, the hull is changed to accommodate.
But it’s inside where the big differences are. The new GT 36 offers a roomier interior with well thought out use of space that her owners are sure to appreciate. For example, we’re seeing opposing seating in the cockpit and a full walk-in shower, as opposed to a wet-head below.
We board from the swim platform and right ahead is this sun pad that measures 53” x 39” (134.62 cm x 99.06 cm). There are stainless-steel beverage holders to both sides. There’s a wide platform all the way across the front of the engines, plus we also have extended 24” (60.96 cm) platforms to both sides of the engines. To the starboard side, there's a reboarding ladder that extends 3’ (.91 m) below the surface. A gate to starboard lifts and then opens up, exposing a 23” (58.42 cm) wide walkthrough, which maintains itself all the way forward.
Main Deck Seating
Immediately to the starboard side is a refreshment center with a sink, electric grill, refrigeration and trash receptacle. Opposite is a large sun pad with beverage holders integrated into the sides. The headrest flips to add to the sun pad or the seating just ahead. Steps lead up to the starboard side deck, both adjacent to this cooking station and to the other side of the sun pad.
Once underneath the protection of the overhead 6’9’’ (2.06 m) above, we come to U-shaped seating to the port hand side that surrounds a nicely finished solid wood table. The table is also expandable, and in the closed position, the pedestal has a grab handle and beverage holders. Ahead is the observer’s seating, consisting of a 41” (104.14 cm) wide bench.
To starboard and behind the helm is L-shaped seating that also takes the form of an aft-facing chaise lounge.
Main Deck Storage
Storage is obviously everywhere we've gotten underneath the seats that's inaccessible from under the cushion or in front even more so. Because we don't have the sterndrive application, there's even more storage underneath where the engines used to be.
Some thoughtful considerations.
Now let’s consider some aspects of this layout. Usually, we will see a galley over to one side that takes up the entire area and eliminates any seating. That means that people on the opposite seats all have to sit right next to each other to talk. With this solution on the GT 36, we instead have opposing seating. Now we can actually face our guests in much more of a comfortable atmosphere. Forward, and to port, instead of the captain being alone and operating the boat by himself, we now have extra people sitting alongside with extra eyes looking forward and keeping the captain company.
Additionally, the sun pad also has a flip seatback so we can just roll it forward and add a little more room to the sun pad or roll it right back and add to the seating area. The GT 36 isn’t lacking in the fit-and-finish aspect either. She has been upgraded to be resistant to all weather. It’s double-stitched, embroidered, includes triple tones and it’s diamond embossed. It’s probably the best we’ve seen coming out of BENETEAU. And I really have to appreciate that all of this is on a single level with no trip hazards anywhere.
BENETEAU added a lot of comfort to the bow sun pad and a measure of safety with it being recessed into the deck. It measures 5’8” x 6’7” (1.73 m x 2.01 m). The raised padded bulwarks have Fusion speakers in the side. There are comfortable backrests. The front half of the center cushion lifts and flips back to reveal a place for snacks and drinks. The comfort level is extended by the fact that the visibility is so wonderful, since the bow slopes down giving much more of a panoramic view. Plus, the side rails are right within reach so there's even an added safety factor.
The lower deck is accessed from a port side companionway with a sliding door. Down below, BENETEAU created a nice compromise between space and functionality. We measured 6’4” (1.93 m) from the deck to the padded overhead. There's a hull side window with an opening port to both port and starboard sides, adding plenty of natural light to the area along with the skylight overhead.
The settee to port is L-shaped and wraps around a table that leaves 1’7” (.48 m) between it and the adjacent bulkhead for a walkthrough. Storage is above and below. The galley is to the opposite side and includes a microwave oven with storage right alongside. There's additional storage behind the elevated backsplash from the solid surface counter. Covers are over a single basin sink and a double-burner electric stove. These covers all have dedicated storage underneath, where there is additional storage and refrigeration.
Just behind is the head compartment. This has the usual cast of features such as the vessel sink, a freshwater flush toilet and plenty of storage. But what is surprising about this is that it includes a separate walk-in shower. Typically, boats in this class and size range will just include a wet-head. There’s also an opening portlight in the shower for ventilation.
The master stateroom is located just forward. We measured 6’4” (1.93 m) of headroom with 2’10” (.86 m) over the berth, which in turn measures 74” x 68” (187.96 cm x 172.72 cm). There's access to both sides of course. Hull side windows to both port and starboard have integrated portlights and there’s storage just underneath. There's additional storage underneath the berth and alongside. Fit-and-finish wise, there's an elevated level here. The overheads are padded and cloth on the bulkheads.
Back aft is the mid-berth. In this stateroom, headroom becomes more of a factor. We measured 4’2” (1.27 m) again to the padded overhead and that leaves 2’10” (.86 m) above the berth, which measured 74” x 54” (187.96 cm x 137.16 cm). There are hull side windows to both port and starboard with opening portlights, and underneath both of them is storage. There's additional storage right alongside the entry with shelves that measure 26” (66.04 cm) deep.
The helm is starboard side mounted. There's a compass directly in line with the steering wheel. The panel is populated with two 11” (27.94 cm) Garmin displays and there are heat and air conditioning vents to both sides. Lenco trim tabs are mounted way up high. We’d like to see them a little closer to the throttle so that when we bring our hand forward, they’re right in line with the hand. There is a little dip area in the panel for putting stuff, and a raised edge would be nice to keep everything in place. Twin stainless-steel beverage holders are over to the port hand side and the JPO joystick piloting system is over to the starboard side.
All of the electrical switches are on the lower panel to the left, along with charging and USB connectivity. The steering wheel is mounted to a tilt base the digital throttle and shift has its host of optional features. There's a 5” (12.70 cm) Mercury Vessel View display and a Garmin VHF.
Getting into ergonomics, there's a footrest down below. Convenient grab handles are located over to the left-hand side. The seat is 34” (86.36 cm) wide and includes a flip bolster. We found that there’s not so much standing headroom behind the helm because we have the overhead coming down at 5’7” (1.70m) right next to our head. Even if you're a little shorter, you might not want to be standing because all it takes is one wave to hit your head. However, leaning against the bolster leaves plenty of room and great visibility because looking forward, the bow curves downward. So it's absolutely outstanding visibility. For even more visibility and natural light, just open up the sunroof. If that becomes too much light and air, go ahead and leave it closed and instead, use the opening windows to port and starboard. The single-piece windshield is 7’6” x 3’10” (2.29m x 1.67m).
Right inside the companionway leaning down below are the battery switches, generator controls, switches for all of the 110-v systems and circuit breakers for the 12 Volt systems. Cleats to both sides of the transom are 11” (27.94 cm) and they're up high out of the trip zone. To the port side, there is shore power connectivity.
An electric lift hatch exposes the space under the aft sun pad, where the sterndrives would be. In addition to the huge amounts of storage, this is also where the 7.5 kW Westerbeke generator is stored. This is a gas generator, so we don't have to have a separate fuel tank. The engine start and house batteries are over to the port hand side with the battery switches just above them. There is a 100-gallon (378.54 L) fuel tank to each side of the compartment. Looking forward, there’s the filter system for the seawater going to the generator and the fire suppression system.
For propulsion, our test boat was fitted with twin 300-horsepower Mercury Verados. Options go up to 350-horsepower. These are also counter-rotating. Additionally, these have the JPO option so we have joystick docking at the helm.
As we make our way to the side decks, there's a grab handle up high just under the overhead. The side rails are angled out slightly and that provides 12” (30.48 cm) of space between the cabin sides and the rails. They top out at 24” (60.96 cm). At the cabin top, there's a molded area that makes a convenient handhold.
Fully forward, there are 11” (27.94 cm) cleats to both sides of the bow and it’s here that we can really see the squared-off area of the bow from carrying the beam so far forward.
The anchor is on an anchor roller that's recessed into the toe rail. Just behind, the anchor hatch is held open by a gas strut and that leads to a Lewmar windlass that manages the 100’ (30.48 m) of chain 150’ (45.72 m) of rope rode.
The GT 36 has an LOA of 40’11” (12.47 m), a beam of 11’6” (3.51 m) and a draft of 3’3” (1.02 m). With an empty weight of 16,036 lbs. (7,474 kg), 75% fuel and three people onboard, we had an estimated test weight of 17,541 lbs. (7,956 kg). With the twin 300-hp Mercury Verados turning 17-pitch Revolution props and wound up to 5670 RPM, our speed topped out at 41.5 MPH. Best cruise was reached at 33.7 MPH and 5000 RPM. It was at that speed that the 39 GPH fuel burn translated into .9 MPG and a range of 156 statute miles, all while still holding back a 10% reserve of the boat's 200-gallon (757.4 L) total fuel capacity.
She got on plane in 4.9 seconds and she’ll stay on plane on down to 11.5 MPH. With the throttles pinned, she accelerated the 20 mph at 8.4 seconds and continued through 30 in 22.5 seconds.
When turning right, the overhead drops down into the line of sight so be sure to clear the area before initiating the turn. Turns to the left are much better because we can see through the sunroof. Because the engines are located so far back, there seems to be a good balance with the boat. She clings to the water in the turn and doesn't lose too much speed so they’re very comfortable.
When you get up on plane, wait until she adds speed on that planing angle. That's when you want to start bringing the engine trim up. It'll take a lot because they are way back there and the weight distribution of the boat is so evenly placed. You’ll want to add a bunch of trim and you're going to see the spray moving from right alongside the helm to the stern quarters. That's when you know you're in the right position. If you add too much, you're not going to get any oscillating of the bow, but you will get ventilation of the props, so that's when you bring it down a couple of clicks and you know you're at your optimum.
The Gran Turismo 36 has good handling characteristics and a solid feel to her. Her sharp entry gives a nice clean slice going through the waves, and that adds to her comfort level. Inside there’s a surprising amount of room thanks to some creative use of space, and the comfort level is above what we normally see in class. All in all, this is a winning design from BENETEAU that has us enjoying every minute of being aboard. We know the GT in the name stands for Gran Turismo, but it could just as easily stand for Great Time.