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August 28, 2009

Grady-White Canyon 366 Center Console

Amazing innovation, mammoth space, impec-cable performance, sybaritic comfort and dynamic stability all contribute to making this another leap forward for Grady-White.

As I walked down the dock with my family to run Grady's newest center console, the same reaction hit each of us at the same time: "Huge...massive...aircraft carrier!" You can't help but be impressed instantly and bask in a feeling of security as you board.

Performance
I ran the Grady during the Barta Boys & Girls Club Tournament out  of Beaufort, North Carolina, in July. At the mouth of the Beaufort Inlet, six-foot seas roared toward shore, with the shoals on each side covered in breaking surf. At a prudent speed, the ride on all points proved dry and comfortable. It ran down-sea straight and true. Though ready to accommodate triples, our boat carried only a pair of Yamaha 350 hp V-8s on the transom.

Of course, with dual 350s instead of triples, it takes a tad longer to reach planing speed - in this case, just about seven seconds - and hits 30 mph in almost 11 seconds. Top speed with twins was 46 mph, burning 67.7 gph total. But you can realize a range of almost 400 miles (397.8) cruising at 30 mph (4,200 rpm) while burning a scant 28.7 gph, which translates to more than a mile per gallon. You'll get that same cruise speed at 3,600 rpm if you have triples and burn 29.6 gph.

There's remarkably little difference in consumption at cruise between twin and triple packages. The difference shows more at the 6,000 rpm top end when the triples move you along at more than 55 mph.

The seemingly barge-wide beam offered a rock-solid roll moment when drifting with our beam-to those big seas in the inlet. It just  didn't move! Yet when you turn the wheel, the 366 responds instantly with grace and fluidity. I consider this boat a real pleasure to drive. I love being able to use the engines and bow thruster together to waltz the boat sideways even against  wind and tide. You can really be a hero around the docks.

Fishing
The standard equipment inventory includes enough fishing features to satisfy even the most demanding offshore angler. Pop-up cleats that won't snag your line, coaming pads a full 360 degrees around the boat, twin 65-gallon fish boxes to port and starboard and another 72-gallon box in the transom, loads of tackle storage and a real rigging station (one that actually holds a pop-out Plano removable box too) as well as a 41-gallon full-column livewell all just scratch the surface of the fishing amenities.

Grady mounts 10 rod holders in the gunwales and six more on the leaning post and provides vertical storage for five more belowdecks. Grady also adds a little more to the options list, including a casting platform insert forward, a transom fish box that can become a refrigerator/freezer, a second livewell in the leaning post, outriggers and an  electric grill. You may not consider a grill a fishing feature, but those of us who'd rather eat fresh fish than  anything certainly do.

Design and Construction
Since the introduction of Grady's 33 Express, the company has sought to outdo itself on innovation with each successive hull. The 366 Canyon carries this philosophy forward with a vengeance. Witness the settee with a curved back below. The curved seatback raises to reveal a huge double berth. It faces the forward bulkhead where the microwave, vertical rod storage and a flat-screen TV are covered with a one-way mirror. The remote works right through the mirror. Turn the TV on - the mirror disappears. You'll also find a VacuFlush head, refrigerator, sink, cherry floor and wall, and loads more storage.

The massive helm console houses the electronics in Grady's signature pop-up suite. And the ergonomics  of the three-across combo helm seat/leaning post are superb, with all three seats adjustable. I would prefer that Grady replace the fold-up metal footrest pipe with a hideaway box that tips out from the leaning post as when standing at the helm. The pipe often presses sharply into the back of your legs.

On most boats with opening windshield vents, these air intakes line the bottom part of a windscreen. Grady's vents open at the top, which I like better but can't tell you why.

Grady has always enjoyed a reputation for building boats that qualify as virtually indestructible. The 366 boasts a solid bottom with end-grain balsa-cored topsides, with only the best gelcoat and isophthalic resins in the laminate.

Our Canyon also had a 4 kW diesel generator for all those "necessities" like hair dryers, air conditioning, TV, microwaves and the like. In fact, just the standard equipment list for this beauty runs to three full pages, and much of it qualifies as truly innovative.

In addition to the rough-water offshore testing, my family and I managed to spend some time cruising. I promise you that they  like being spoiled by size, comfort and great performance - and this boat accomplished that mission in spades!

LOA......36 ft. 7 in.
BEAM......13 ft. 2 in.
DRAFT......1 ft. 5 in.
DEADRISE......20.8 deg.
WEIGHT......N/A
FUEL......420 gal. (gas)
MAX POWER......(3) 350 hp OB
MSRP......$361,400 (w/ twin 350 hp OB)

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