GT Yachts is one of the few new British boat builders in recent times. Yet in contrast with the luxurious blue-water cruisers from fellow British firm Discovery Yachts and the Arbor 26 daysailer, this East Coast based company believes it has identified a gap in the market for sailing yachts of less than 50ft that will sail really well, while offering comfortable accommodation and top-quality fittings.

GT35: comfortable quality cruiser

GT35 - a brand new quality performance cruiser from British company GT Yachts. Photo: Oliver James/GT Yachts.


The GT35 is the company’s first product, with the first boat out of the mould making its debut appearance at the 2014 PSP Southampton Boat Show. See the GT35 video: first look aboard recorded at the show.


Key attributes

GT35: high stability ratings

The Stephen Jones-designed GT35 sports a modern rig and hull shape with very high stability ratings. Photo: Oliver James/GT Yachts.

The aim was to produce a modern, fully featured and equipped yacht to satisfy the demands of serious cruising sailors. It makes the best use of recent developments in hull, keel, rudder and rig design, while avoiding the temptation to cut corners in favour of small cost savings.

The result is a proper, well-equipped, modern cruising yacht, designed by Stephen Jones, that can be expected to be fun and responsive to sail, but will also look after you in rough weather. The latter is underscored by an exceptionally high STIX rating for a boat of this size of 54 and a very healthy AVS (angle of vanishing stability) of 144 degrees.


Below decks

The GT35 has a modern and bright style that nevertheless incorporates features such as proper sea berths and good handholds that are all too often neglected on today’s yachts. The main owner’s cabin at the front of the boat is unusually spacious for a vessel of this size and benefits from a rectangular double berth, a generous amount of standing area, and good stowage.

In the standard layout the saloon has a traditional, tried and tested layout with generous settees each side. These would make excellent sea berths if fitted with lee cloths – they are parallel to the centerline of the boat, so your head won’t be facing downhill on one tack, and they are close to the boat’s centre of motion. Options include a pilot berth on the port side and two armchairs in place of the starboard settee.

The galley is of a large size, yet it’s designed to made it easy for cooks to brace themselves safely in position at sea. There’s excellent worktop space and stowage and reasonably deep fiddles. Similarly, the forward facing navigation station has its own seat and is positioned close to the companionway, for easy communication with the crew on deck.

GT35 Galley

The large galley is designed to enable the cook to brace when the yacht is heeled and provides deep fiddles to prevent objects rolling off the work surfaces. Photo: Hayley James/GT Yachts.

The builders have opted against squeezing in two aft quarter cabins – instead going for a single larger one. This benefits from excellent ventilation, plus an escape hatch that enables occupants to vacate the cabin directly into the cockpit in the event of a fire that blocks access to the saloon. Ancillary benefits of this are more light above the berth and additional ventilation that is sure to prove comforting on hot summer nights. Having only the one aft cabin also frees up space for both a large heads compartment and a larger volume of on-deck stowage.


On deck and performance

In line with this boat’s intended purpose, the cockpit benefits from deep coamings designed to keep crew dry, an optional windscreen and sprayhood, a closed transom and running rigging that’s neatly led aft. A great deal of thought went into providing a helm position that would be comfortable in a wide range of conditions, while still allowing easy access to the drop-down bathing platform. The side decks are commendably wide and the foredeck has an anchor locker, large bosun’s locker and twin bow rollers.

Stephen Jones designs are renowned for being well mannered and well balanced. In addition to the safety factor, the GT35’s high stability can be expected to give this boat long legs, with a minimum of changes to the sail plan needed to suit changing wind strengths.


Equipment and options

GT Yachts has clearly put a great deal of thought into option packs that enable owners to customise their boat to best suit their needs. These include coastal or offshore packs, with key items including a sprayhood, a furling cruising chute, plus upgraded sails, charging systems and instrumentation. The offshore pack includes further upgrades on many of these items, plus a Raymarine pilot. A liveaboard pack includes a watermaker, diesel heating system, and a freezer pack for the fridge.

Further options include additional uprated deck gear, plus larger engines, a windlass control at the helm, windvane steering and a hydrogenerator. There’s also a Baltic specification that adds inventory including a full cockpit tent and sprayhood, rubbing strakes for box moorings, heating, blinds, and more.


What it does best

GT Yachts has taken a close look at what a serious cruising boat of this size needs to offer. As such the GT35 will impress experienced sailors, both at the dock and on long voyages. Owners can be assured of the potential for fast passage times in a boat that should be a joy to sail and will look after her crew in tough conditions. There’s also ample tankage and sufficient stowage – both on deck and below – to facilitate living on board in comfort for extended periods.



GT35 saloon settees

The saloon settees tend to eat up the space down below. Photo: Hayley James/GT Yachts.

While in many ways this is a big boat for a 35-footer, the moderate transom width that helps confer a well-balanced hull means there’s less volume aft for accommodation than on some of the latest designs. The saloon settees are positioned closer to the centreline of the boat than is the norm with most of today’s designs, which provides excellent stowage, at the expense of a little saloon volume.


Other models in the range

While the GT35 is the first model to be produced by GT Yachts, it’s due to be followed by a number of others, including 30, 40 and 45ft models. A 33ft racer cruiser model has also been announced, designed as a successor to Stephen Jones’ well proven and successful SJ320 design.


Alternative boats

The GT35 isn’t a boat that competes in the marketplace on the basis of a low price, so it’s not pitched against the high volume French and German boat builders. Instead, it’s most likely to be some of the Italian or Scandinavian yards that provide the biggest competition, including X-Yachts’ Xc35 and the Hallberg-Rassy 342 or 372. Couples planning long-distance cruising might also want to consider another new British-built boat, the Rustler 37.


GT35 specifications

LOA: 10.7m
LWL: 10.0m
Beam: 3.6m
Draught: 1.95m
Shoal-keel draught: 1.6m
Twin-keel draught: 1.5m
Displacement: 7,200kg
Lead ballast: 2,810kg
Mainsail: 36sq m
Furling genoa: 31sq m

Written by: Rupert Holmes
Rupert Holmes has more than 70,000 miles of offshore cruising and racing experience, in waters ranging from the North Sea to the Southern Ocean and Cape Horn. He writes about all aspects of boat ownership and marine travel, including destinations, seamanship and maintenance, as well as undertaking regular new boat and gear tests. He currently sails around 5,000 miles per year and in the past couple of seasons has cruised from the UK to the Azores, as well as winning his class in the 2014 two-handed Round Britain and Ireland Race. He also owns two yachts, one based in the Mediterranean and the other in the UK.