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Old 31-10-2011, 09:04   #1
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Grand Soleil 52

Hi all

Does anyone have any experience with or comments to Grand Soleil 52 1988-1992 models? Are there any known problems? To be used for extensive cruising in the Med. and perhaps an Atlantic crossing and beyond in the future.


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Old 31-10-2011, 09:18   #2
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Re: Grand Soleil 52

We had a 42 of the same genre - great looking boats, very stylish below, quality fittings, super quick off wind, and a smooth motion to windward.

Ours was a Frers design and had a racing rig (taller than normal) so we really did go like a tram downwind / reaching.

Practically not as good upwind as similar sized / styled Swans, but then not as expensive either. I understand if performance is a must, it is possible to change the keel design to make them outpoint the Frers Swans.

They built a solid boat in those days so I doubt you'd have issues with hull etc - although you'd want to always use a surveyor.

IMHO the only fault in this design is that they were so fixated on style down below they ignored the need for truly functional storage space. Ours had some galley lockers only 9 inches deep - and they even narrowed as they went forward. Daft - but it all looked so good.

I remember that boat with great affection. We'd often average 7.5 knots for days in stronger offwind conditions and with her blue hull and teak deck, she always turned heads in port.

The hull desing is very forgiving also. Lots of times we broke the 'no spinnaker above 20 knots when two up' rule and broached her big time. They built them with a large rudder and flat aft sections, so with sheets and braces slipped you could dial her big wheel down and she always came back upright with a shake - and a quick wind on the winches would see you sliding off once more. Great stuff. And good looking.

I'd not hesitate to buy another, so hope you find one you like - and enjoy it!

JOHN
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Old 31-10-2011, 09:57   #3
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Re: Grand Soleil 52

I did not sail the 52 but I sailed some GS from that era.

They are pretty fast, pretty light and seem a bit stiffer than Benes, Bavas and the crowd. Sort of like an X-Yachts or J-boats relative, though not quite there yet (back then). Biggish sail area and easy to broach but other than this they drove very well - easy on the (preferably very present-minded) helmsman.

I liked the interior finish very much but they all had some mechanical/systems issues that made our trips long maintenance adventures. Probably not related to make but to age of the boats.

I think a clean, sound one will make excellent boat for Med type cruising. At 52 she will cross oceans easily and in comfort, just make sure her rigging and other systems are up to the job.

b.
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Old 03-11-2011, 05:26   #4
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Re: Grand Soleil 52

Many thanks for your replies, very interesting. I have found some more stuff while searching around on the net for more information:

"
Some estimated numbers for the Grand Soleil 52 (As per data at Grand Soleil pages)

Loa = 16,30 m
Lh = 15,78 m
Lwl = 12,89 m
Bmax = 4,75 m
Bwl = 4,28 m
Draught T = 2,40 m
Body draught Tc = 1,00 m (guess)
Disp = 17700 kg (Most probably lightship or MOC)
Ballast = 7300 kg
Sail area = 157,4 m2 (guess: 140 m2 for 100%)
Power = 95 HP


Length/Beam Ratio L/B = 2,9
Lwl/Bwl Ratio Lwl/Bwl = 3,02
Ballast/Disp Ratio W/Disp = 0,41
Displacement/Length Ratio D/L = 230 (around 265 in MLC)
Sail Area/Disp. Ratio SA/D = 20,95
Power/ Disp. Ratio HP/D = 2,44 HP/ton
Hull speed HSPD = 8,71 Kn
Potential Maximum Speed PMS = 9,95 Kn
Velocity Ratio VR = 1,14
Best motoring speed (1.1) CSPD = 7,15 Kn
Capsize Safety Factor CSF = 1,84
Motion Comfort Ratio MCR = 34,20
Heft Ratio HF = 0,97
Roll Period T = 3,94 Sec
Roll Acceleration Acc = 0,09 G's
Stability Index SI = 0,83
Angle of Vanishing Stability AVS = 121 º

Mmmmmm.....

I don't have enough info to calculate her STIX, but by the upwards numbers I doubt it will come up to 52. Probably less.
But I may be wrong. You should try to get info from Cantieri del Prado or German Frers himself.

On the HR 37 vs GS 52 thing, you know: 'caballo grande....'
"

I found it here: Stability and STIX in German Frers Designs - Boat Design Forums. The keel came in various shapes, some of them have a 3.20m keel.

I will shortly go and have a look at one to get a better feeling for the quality. Can anyone give a hint if there is anything in particular I should look for, specific problems or issues with this model?

Rune
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Old 27-12-2013, 15:25   #5
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Re: Grand Soleil 52

Hi all,

I just bought a 1991 model which was i good condition.
Except from the normal wear and tear, I found one important defect. The mast base was completely rusty and needs immediate replacement. According to Pier12 Shipyard in Ravenna (this is where a lot of the Grand Soleils are launched) this is a normal defect with this model and is easy to fix. I will use the winter to sort out this and some cosmetic issues :-)

Rune
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Old 31-08-2016, 04:25   #6
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Re: Grand Soleil 52

Hi Rune,

Hope you´re still lucky with the purchase of the GS 52. I myself am about to buy one, and just like you I´ve been seraching the net for all info i can get hold of. I stumbled upon your posts here on the forum and even checked your FB-profile. Looks like you´ve been doing a lot of upgrades and such.
DO you have anything in particular to tell me about the boat type, advices I should consider etc. I´ll be very appreciated.
The purpose the boat will play is, a safe home for crusing the med and perhaps the caribbean for 1-3 years by me and my girlfriend.

Best regards
Love Nordgård Stockholm, Sweden
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Old 31-08-2016, 16:21   #7
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Re: Grand Soleil 52

Hi Love Nordgård,

I am very happy with the boat and am continuously learning and upgrading when time and money permits. I guess I have quite a lot to tell about it, not sure where to start... I guess you will soon go to look at one so here are some comments with that in mind:
- The mast base was completely rusty, to such a degree that I wouldn't sail with it in that state. It is possible to make a new one, I got one made by Pier12 shipyard in Italy.
- Other rig support look solid and shiny where it is visible.
- Most keel bolts are difficult to inspect as they are under the fuel tank and glassed in. I got the fuel tank removed and checked the bolts. They were in like new condition. There are also bolts lower down to mount the keel bulb. I have not checked these yet, but plan to do this.
- I inspected the fuel and water tanks, they were all in very good condition, no repairs necessary, only cleaning.
- The boat is relatively complex with a lot of old equipment (depending on earlier refits) which is no longer in production. When stuff break, be prepared to buy a complete new unit or fix it yourself.
- My teak is original from 1991 and need to be replaced as there are 1000 screws in the deck...
- The interior on mine was in very good condition, only minor upgrades are necessary. I plan to replace the countertops in the galley with something more modern. The wood around the sink starts to look bad now.
- The boat is really very comfortable, both to sail and to live in. It is a boat made for sailing, with sufficient winches where you need them. But it is not a marina queen, so my wife is looking at the boats next to us which have easy access trough the cockpit and a swim platform at the stern.
- I love the mast with perpendicular spreaders, inner forestay, babystay and running backstays.
- Mine is sitting slightly on the nose, but I have the forward cabin full of spares and tools and 100 kg chain. I also have heavy hydraulics for the sails which adds to weight forward. Some more equipment at the stern, for example solar panels and wind turbine would help to sort out this problem.
- It is pure pleasure to sit on the bridge deck in a cala in Ibiza with a cold beer and look at all the modern designs rolling heavily while we are pitching slowly

That's all for now, let me know if you have any specific questions and I will try to answer
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Old 01-09-2016, 15:44   #8
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Re: Grand Soleil 52

Just curious. What is it you like so much about the inner stays, baby stay and backstays? I remember feeling the backstays on my older boat made tacking more of a hassle, especially in narrower passages. I aslo felt a little worry that the whole construction was more delicate for that reason. I almost 100% of the time sail shorthanded.

The Grand Soleil 52 looks like a dream, a proper sailboat. the one Im looking at has the racing keel 3,1 meters. i have some concerns about that. the limitations to access shallow waters for one, but maybe more important if she's hit ground in the past.

Parallell, I'm looking on a much more modern boat, the Grand soleil 46.3. which doesn't have the classic layout with a large aft cabin, like the 45. Do you have any experience of that boat. Are any comparisons made of your knowledge, or did you ever consider buying one? The Baltic Yachts 43 have also crossed my mind, but she's perhaps a bit too small for living in for a year, if I want to keep my girlfriend.

As you mention. I´ve realised, the GS 52 has some complicated and ambitious gear and instruments. If things break, or I rather say when. Would you say that Pier 12 in Ravenna are helpful?
Actually that is really my biggest concern, that i have to spend too much time fixing the boat than actually sailing and enjoying life.
The owner is asking 80 000 euro ,seems like a reasonable price, what do you say? she has more or less the same specs as the other ones on Yacht world, and according to the pictures, she looks just as good/bad. With new teak deck, water maker, bow thruster, newly painted hull etc.

Sailing in bigger seas, how does she react in comparison to your older boat, the Hanse 400? I mean are they miles away. Is the GS 52 wet?
Sailing Downwind, slow, fast or moderate? easy to broach?
Upwind, at what angle can you point, obviously depending on the sails as well. I am Just interested to hear if you want to share.

Does she heel early or sail in a more noble manner. do you reef early or can she take a lot of wind?

When out in the sea on a upwind leg. What boat do you overtake and which boats are faster? I mean everyone likes racing at least unofficially.

Sorry for the bombarding of questions. Nice to hear from someone else except the seller of the one I´m looking at.
And also, very appreciated for your quick answers!

cheers!
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Old 06-09-2016, 16:05   #9
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Re: Grand Soleil 52

Hi again Love,

The various stays give better support of the rig. For example when only using the staysail, the mast is supported by the backstay. And the babystay is supported by the checkstay. Tacking is definitely more complicated with this setup, especially when single handling. I find that I am not tacking as much as before, as Med sailing is very different from sailing in fjords and the coasts in Norway and Sweden.

The 3,1m rig will limit your choices in my opinion. Mine is 2,7 and that is more than deep enough. I am not sure if it is a deal breaker though! You can just sail to more suitable harbors/calas.

With regards to the 46.3, I never considered this model. The common opinion seems to be that the Grand Soleils made around the 90's are of better quality than the more modern designs. But it is a very beautiful design as well!

Pier12 are helpful and knowledgeable about Grand Soleils. I had my boat there for 6 months to sort things out. Without getting into too much details, I experienced major delays and it became a mess at the end and I got quite upset I must admit! A lot of the work was very well done.

Your concern for using a lot of time and money for maintenance is very valid. Expect that to happen! The price of 80 000,- euros sounds surprisingly cheap! I have only seen one for sale for that price, but that looked like it had been raced a lot.

The Hanse 400 and the GS52 are two very different boats. The modern hullform of the Hanse makes it very fast, especially downwind. But also a more "nervous" motion. The motion in the GS52 is much more comfortable and predictable. There is no bottom slamming when motoring into head sea. The setup on Herminia is very cruiser oriented with Yankee genoa (high cut genoa) and in-mast main. The sails are from 2008. She is not at all optimized for racing. With a young family on board, I now sail very safe and reef early. The pointing is not as good as expected, but it probably has a lot to do with the current sail setup. I can't give you any exact numbers. With regards to speed GS52 vs Hanse 400e, you are probably familiar with the LYS system. The GS52 has LYS of 1,32 or 1,33 (found in Færder 2003 and 2004). The Hanse 400e has LYS of 1,29.

We have only had bad weather once, but that was quite bad with gusting up to 65 knots in the strait of Bonifacio, waves were building rapidly up to max 5-6 meters before we found shelter west of Sardinia. The boat handled it exceptionally well, but in these conditions, it was confirmed that the cockpit felt a bit open and unsecured compared to for example an Amel Super Maramu. Especially crossing the bridge deck (the area between the two cockpits) to reach the aft cockpit. I am looking into installing some handholds in this area. The rest of the time we have had sunshine and fantastic weather, and the Bridge deck is the natural place for sunbathing, morning coffee and evening drinks.
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