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October 02, 2008

Grady-White 290 Chesapeake

The Grady-White 290 Chesapeake includes most of the innovative features found in the company's 33- and 36-footers - but in a much more manageable and affordable package.

From a trolling standpoint, I'd probably mount an aftermarket rocket launcher across the outside of the transom as well. One 33-gallon, insulated fish box under the guest-seat module and a 66-gallon well in the transom assure not only space for fish, but with its divider, the latter can multitask as a rigged bait box and more. Because we were fishing a naked-dead-bait tournament, we used it for that as well as for an extra drink box.

Design and Construction 
Belowdecks, you find what you'd expect for a 29-footer: a V-berth with insert, stand-up head, small galley, dinette table that stores away nicely and a midship berth. I'll be glad to see Grady re-engineer the stairway below to eliminate some of the steel supports. When they do, you'll actually be able to get rods into the midberth storage area. Otherwise, this stands as a cozy, well-executed space with lovely fabrics and wood veneers.

Cognoscenti will see the similarities between this boat and Grady's old (and successful) 28-footer. However, the added length allows for a generator that customers all wanted and also affords added height. This makes for slightly deeper walkways between the cockpit and bow, increasing security and comfort.

I found the leaning post/helm seat very comfortable, though I'd prefer that it have a positive locking mechanism for the swivel rather than a tightening collar that I could never tighten enough. Otherwise, the ergonomics of this station will please the most demanding people of various sizes, a truly unusual circumstance.

Grady provides a remarkable amount of space for electronic navigation displays -- in our case, twin 10-inch Furuno NavNet units as well as Yamaha's terrific gauges and other sundry systems monitors.

Whether your boating career is scaling you up or down in boat size, the 290 Chesapeake will certainly fit the bill for family cruising as well as totally serious offshore fishing.

Specifications

LOA......28 ft. 6 in.
BEAM......9 ft. 11 in.
HULL DRAFT......1 ft. 11 in.
DEADRISE......20 deg.
WEIGHT......10,999 lb. (as tested)
FUEL......206 gal. (standard)
MAX HP......Twin 300 hp OB
MSRP......$183,625 (w/win 250s)

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