Back in the 50’s, Robert Newton and his two sons started a small boat-building venture in a little shed in Junk Bay along the Hong Kong waterfront. By 1962, they were running a custom boatyard they called American Marine, Ltd. Father and sons built heavy sailboats and big motor yachts designed to specifications by the world’s leading marine architects.
Their desire for pioneering design, craftsmanship and beauty was exhaustive from the beginning, and has continued through the company to this day.
The company commissioned Kenneth Smith, another well-known marine architect, to design a 36’ diesel-powered cruising boat. Spray was launched in 1963, and was the prototype of the line that would succeed. One year later, the Newtons abandoned their custom yacht building to focus on producing that specific line of boats that would become part of Grand Banks Yachts.
After some changes to finesse the design, such as a larger salon and the addition of a flying bridge, its successor became the vessel that excited all the world’s boaters on a finely-built, 8-knot (at the time) trawler.
The general styling of the Grand Banks Yachts was mimicked by a score of other builders for fleets of look-alike yachts sold under dozens of names, but which could not match the quality of construction for which American Marine was famed.
In the 60s Harvey Halvorsen became the company designer, and in 1975 he formed a joint venture between Lars Halvorsen Sons Pty. Ltd. and the former general manager of American Marine Company to design, build and market a new range of pleasure boats worldwide. The company was called Kong & Halvorsen Marine & Engineering Company, Ltd.
Through the 60s and 70s, Tony Fleming served as the technical director. While there, Tony helped introduce the highly respected Alaskan series of raised pilothouse yachts.
Fast forward a few decades later, and in 2014, the company acquired Palm Beach Motor Yachts, with combined expertise resulting in a singular pursuit of perfection, beauty and performance.
Today, technology helps hone even more precise detailing. Grand Banks yachts and the character they represent appeal to discerning customers who have a passion for the water.
One could say the company hasn’t just led the yachting industry; they’ve changed it by introducing two popular vessel genres—cruising trawlers and Downeast express cruisers—forever altering how yachtsmen spend time on the water.
This Grand Banks history lesson tells the tale of a company that chartered its way through history with an unaltered course embodying style, grace and precision. Any Grand Banks Yacht owner would agree.