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August 26, 2011

Grady-White 271 Canyon

This boat took us through conditions few owners of such a boat would ever dare, and brought us home safely. And it did so with style!

Grady-White was kind enough to provide the opportunity to really test this boat over a period of several days, allowing us to do all the things a family might do with their boat, and fish the Barta Boys and Girls Club Billfish Tournament in Beaufort, North Carolina. That the wind was up every day, generating some challenging seas, made the sea trial all the more valid.

Performance
Twin 300 hp Yamahas turning 15¼-by-19-inch wheels on the 271’s transom will plum walk you backward if you don’t hold on when the throttles are pushed. With the 300s, the 271 lifts onto plane in exactly three seconds and to 30 mph in six! With a full load of fuel and water (18 gallons), I managed 56.2 mph at 6,000 rpm, burning 51.9 gph. A wholly respectable cruising speed of 30 mph used a mere 14 gph for a comparatively whopping 2.07 mpg.

Nasty-looking surf broke over the sandbars on either side of Beaufort Inlet as we made our way through the wind-against-tide four-to-six-foot rollers in the deep ship channel. This is a relatively heavy boat and, as such, it rides very smoothly. It takes a lot to launch it off a wave, but when you do, the landing is soft.

While trolling the troughs out at West Rock, the 271 exhibited a moderate roll moment with very gentle transitions and mildly noticeable noise from chine slap. A turn to run down-sea offered hands-off control, and at the right speed, the water pushes out and down when you meet the next wave.

Hard-over turns reversed course in a very tight arc, but the boat leans into it enough to prevent you from being tossed about.

The Canyon 271 had an optional bow thruster, which made docking and waltzing the boat sideways easy and fun. In fact, I can pretty much guarantee you will never again encounter docking conditions you can’t readily handle with twin outboards and a bow thruster.

Fishing
The “lounge box” forward doubles as a huge, 97-gallon insulated fish box. The bottom angles aft, and you can use the divider to keep your iced provisions cold in the aft end and dry-storage items separated forward. Or, full size, you could easily fit more than a greedy number of big tuna! A second 50-gallon fish box resides in the transom. One 42-gallon livewell comes in the helm-seat module, while a second 32-gallon optional tank hides in the transom. Both have full-column intake, lights and blue interiors.

Grady supplies a ton of rod storage (especially if you get the optional T-top), including lockable storage for 7-foot sticks under each gunwale. In addition, the standard helm-seat module houses storage in removable boxes, as well as fixed drawers.

Design and Construction
At night, this boat looked dramatic with multicolor LEDs in the T-top (optional), red LEDs under the coamings (standard) and blue underwater lights (optional). Saltwater washdown hoses both fore and aft serve well for cockpit and anchor washing. Get your fresh water from the shower hose by the transom door.

The expansive console provides enough acreage for a pair of 15-inch electronic nav displays, along with the Yamaha color-LCD engine monitor, a VHF radio and the stereo. Speaking of which, the optional Kenwood stereo with Sirius allows you to push your MP3 player into the unit, close the face and play your own tunes. A very beefy T-top structure mounts directly to the console rather than needing legs to the deck.

There’s lots of stainless steel aboard, from the handholds to the low-profile bow rail to the numerous cup holders that all drain onto the deck, and the four-step integral swim ladder deployable from the water that’s ­unimpeded by a hatch or cover.

Grady-White has only recently offered optional hull colors. Now you can choose from several lovely pastels but, seemingly, traditional “Grady white” remains the most popular hue. Under the painted hulls, however, you’ll find the same solid, hand-laid fiberglass hull, stainless-steel through-hulls,  single-level deck, nonskid liner and well-placed handholds common to every Grady-White model. Overall, this represents a solid, multipurpose family fishing boat that provides room, performance and security in a package that holds its value. It’s hard to beat all that.

LOA......26 ft. 10 in.
BEAM......9 ft. 6 in.
DRAFT......1 ft. 11 in.
DEADRISE......20 deg.
WEIGHT......5,790 lb. (w/o power)
FUEL......202 gal.
MAX POWER......Twin 300 hp OB
MSRP......$161,375 (w/ twin 300 hp Yamaha OB)

Grady-White Boats / Greenville, North Carolina / 252-752-2111 / www.gradywhite.com