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New Grand Soleil Custom line. Set your eyes to the wind, Sail Your Way.

The new Grand Soleil Custom line is born. From the ambitious experience undertaken with the construction
of the GS 80 model, the historic Cantiere del Pardo shipyard is launching another challenge to the market in a segment reserved exclusively for sailing superyachts.

Grand Soleil, the best in sailing. For over 45 years.  

It is hard to imagine a boat that could be any more “Made in Italy” than Grand Soleil’s new 80-footer. From the deck gear by Antal and Ubi Maior to the design by celebrated Italian racing designer Giovanni Ceccarelli, this boat presents a real “bella figura”. And the setting for her unveiling to a small group of international journalists (and a large group of hangers-on) is equally redolent of Italia – bobbing at a limestone quay on a town square fringed with terracotta roofs.


The new flagship of Grand Soleil

Like all carbon boats, she seems to sit on the water rather than in it. And the minimal, pleasing lines penned by Ceccarelli add to the sense of grace. There is a slight convex curve to her open transom, and the shear seems to run straight as an arrow forward to the long bowsprit. There’s no mistaking this yacht’s racing intentions, with her open decks, near flush coachroof, reverse bow and bevelled bulwarks. But yet, she has something in common with the smaller production yachts. “When you work with a yard, you have to work in their story,” says Ceccarelli. “The GS80 has a Grand Soleil-style coaming with windows in it.”



Between the three guest cabins forward and the crew area aft is a cavernous saloon, with a big table to port and loungy sofas to starboard. Fortunately Grand Soleil had the foresight to install handrails along the coachroof here, otherwise it’d be a dicey space to cross on the heel.

The dimensions in the owner’s cabin forward are impressive, with two large hull windows and hatches overhead, as well as a good-sized shower room. Small details impress me: a rich, chocolatey leather finish to a lampstand or a handrail here; plush fabric wall panels there. “For a lighter boat, we have designed the interior furniture to be removable,” says Pardo project manager Rafaele Burgio.


No compromise on performance

The hull is designed to be as fast as possible. Not only does the carbon build keep weight down to a decent 33 tonnes (light ship), but the shape of the hull uses the time-honoured principle first established by designers more than 100 years ago. “When the boat heels, it increases the dynamic length of the hull,” explains Ceccarelli, who has worked on the America’s Cup yacht Italia II and a host of other top-level racers.

During a light-wind test, the boat speed matched the true wind speed upwind – between 5 and 6 knots. The black laminate sails by Banks Sails of Italy use a proprietary technique that blends super lightweight Dyneema with carbon fibre and results in a hard-wearing sail that performs exceedingly well. She sets a generous 365 square metres upwind, while the long bowsprit offers a tack point for a huge reaching sail that can manage an easy 15 knots.

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