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December 21, 2004

Grady 282 Sailfish

As usual, Grady has built a superb offshore pocket fisherman. I'm a tad too large to take advantage of the living quarters, but those smaller than I could weekend on it comfortably.

Schools of finger mullet came out of Spooner's Creek with the regularity of waves hitting the shore. With no current to speak of and calm winds, we barely drifted while throwing the cast net into the shallows. A dozen throws filled our baitwell, and we moved off to a wreck about 5 miles west of Beaufort Inlet. Anytime you have a deepwater channel surrounded by shallows with lots of water moving through, tide changes can spawn some pretty choppy conditions. Grady-White's 282 Sailfish with its SeaV2 hull moved us through the bumpy inlet like it was nothing, and just like that we were on our way out to hammer the Spanish mackerel on light tackle.

Performance
Running in and out the inlet, the Grady 282 displayed absolutely no idiosyncrasies. It neither swerved running down-sea nor slammed running up-sea. Throughout the day, nary a drop of spray made it onto the windshield. Trolling speeds produced a clean wake with minimal surface white water. Twin Yamaha 225 four-strokes ran quietly at cruise and silently at idle. Top speed at 6,000 rpm turned out to be 45.6 mph not blisteringly fast but certainly plenty for a family walkaround, especially considering the 40-gph fuel consumption at that speed. You can cut that by about one-third (26 gph) by dropping the speed back to 37 mph at 5,000 rpm. At that rate, expect a range of approximately 284 statute miles figuring a 10-percent fuel cushion.

We fished, like so many families do, drifting and anchoring up on a wreck. Drifting, the 282 rolled a fair distance but without a snap roll, so you can securely negotiate movement around the boat in a beam sea. Anchored, the 282 came to, solid as a dock with very little yawing on the rode.

One thing you should be aware of: Grady's SeaV2 hull really grabs the water, which gives terrific control, but I wouldn't recommend cranking into a hard-over turn at cruising speed.

Fishing
It amazes me that I have never been out profiling a Grady when the factory personnel didn't have their little notebooks out, jotting down things that need changing and ideas that need implementing. Since all the engineers at Grady fish - a lot - expect each model to exhibit near perfection in the fishing-features arena. The 282 now boasts the same transom as the Grady 33 Express - with a bigger and better fish box and the company's patented fold-down transom seat. Working a fish across the stern is much easier now than in the old 282, where the molded seats took up so much cockpit space. Oh, and the transom even contains a sizable lift-out trash basket. Hooray.

The toe brace, just above deck level under the gunwales, looks like crown molding but provides increased security when fighting a fish. Above the toe rails you'll find racks for two rods on each side. Another standard Grady-White feature, built-in downrigger ball holders, occupy the fore and aft extremities under each gunwale. Tackle-storage drawers under the helm seat afford easy access from the cockpit.

On the forward end of the 59-square-foot cockpit, Grady has put an insulated cooler under the helm-seat module and a 40-gallon livewell under the companion settee.

Design and Construction
One thing I noticed was that no matter what the sea condition or speed, our depth sounder never once lost track of the bottom. Grady mounts thru-the-hull transducers amidships, and the placement works perfectly.

Due (in part) to my industrywide ranting, Grady has mounted a stainless-steel extendable ladder in an indentation on the integral transom bracket. Yes, it's deployable by a swimmer in the water.

The companion settee has a very comfortable back on the aft end. But for when I'm trolling, I'd love to see the creative engineers at Grady devise a way to tilt the back forward  so I can rest against it while watching the bait spread. Grady has upgraded the interior with Corian counters, a real marine head instead of a portable, optional air conditioning and TV, and standard teak-and-holly cabin sole. You also get a small V-berth when you drop the dinette table as an insert, and a single midship berth under the bridge deck rounds out the belowdecks.

Perhaps what you don't see is as important as what you do see. For example, instead of industry-standard 306-grade stainless steel, Grady uses only 316 grade with more nickel, chromium and molybdenum for a much longer-lasting product. All thru-hulls are chrome over bronze for the same reason - durability. Parts like fish-box lids and hatches and the hardtop are built using resin-transfer molding, which makes both sides of the part a clean, nonporous surface that both looks better and allows easier cleaning.

As with people, a boat's quality depends on more than just good looks. What's inside has to be top-quality, too. Grady-White builds boats with real heart. I don't know any unhappy Grady owners.

Notable Standard Equipment
? Fold-down transom seat
? Swimmer-deployable ladder
? Built-in trash basket
? Excellent hardtop design
? Built-in rigger ball holders
? Teak-and-holly cabin sole

Impressions
As usual, Grady has built a superb offshore pocket fisherman. I'm a tad too large to take advantage of the living quarters, but those smaller than I could weekend on it comfortably.