Testing the first boat of a series is thrilling – everything is being done for the first time. You see the sail fit and trim, you notice the line leads onto the winches, you experience the hulls carving through the water.
We are systematic in our testing process: Slow, steady and increasing in gradual steps each load and maneuver. As is normal for a prototype test, the hitlist does grow before shrinking, with little things that need to be tweaked in order to find harmony with the systems around it.
Throughout sea trials, our build team and engineers come along for the ride and check firsthand that what they have designed and built effectively delivers to plan. Thus far we have taken the new Gunboat 68 to maximum structural load without any issues – structural load testing being the next big “success” following a launch. We’ve had the boat sitting on rails doing 20+ knots. We’ve had every sail up and are in the middle of stress testing every system on board, while we pick up on the tiny comfort details or aesthetic smudges that get buffed out.
The platform is proving itself quickly. With that first acceleration under sail, we knew she was fast! How fast will be fully known in the coming weeks as it all gets dialed in. What we can say is she gets that signature Gunboat response from everyone on board: exhilaration with the force of the acceleration, followed by huge grins all around.
Beyond testing, experiencing the Gunboat 68 is obviously the fun part! The commissioning process for the first 68 has been a great opportunity to have the owner and crew on board with Loïck Peyron, with his prodigious instincts and multihull expertise. It is all part of the time we take now to validate that the key layouts have been realized as expected, feel the steering, and get comfortable with the helm and forward cockpit layout. We’re very happy to say that so far she is exceeding expectations. But for us, the greatest opportunity and joy so far has been to see the owner at the helm for the first time, after entrusting us with a project of this duration and magnitude.
Over the coming weeks we are in the final stages of completion and sea trials, which will conclude working alongside the owner and crew as they prepare to leave the nest for great adventures on board Gunboat 68 CONDOR!
Photos by Gilles Martin-Raget
The Gunboat 68 incorporates generations of owner experience and exciting partnerships to deliver more seaworthiness, luxury and performance, built by an expert team and with the sound financial backing of the Grand Large Yachting parent company. The launch of 68-01 marks the most important milestone yet in building this great new series, the culmination of two and a half years of work and investment into the latest Gunboat, honoring the DNA of the brand while integrating proven industry technologies and the Gunboat community’s 16+ years of experience and preferences.
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Interested in more technical detail? Read our series of articles about the design and build of the Gunboat 68.