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July 16, 2013

Grady-White Freedom 375

The 375 gives you the freedom to play and cruise, and the equipment to fish like a pro.

[Be sure to click through all the images in the gallery above.]

As we idled out of port in Morehead City, North Carolina, I decided this beautiful spot had to be the perfect place to test a boat named Freedom. The morning started with breakfast on board — fresh, grilled-on-the-boat sausages with orange juice from the 12-volt/110‑volt ­refrigerator. I hung the mooring lines on pilings and reboarded through the gunwale door, which swings in on custom hinges mounted to a sturdy, polished stainless-steel frame. Grady makes this hardware and many other features; some builders just buy it and bolt it on.

Grady’s engineering vice president, David Neese, used the Yamaha Helm Master joystick to maneuver the 375 out of the slip, twisting the control to perform a 90-degree turn in place.

Performance

At the inlet, Neese handed off the helm, and I stood behind the tilting wheel, comparing the vista ahead with the Raymarine display on the helm station. Neese suggested the Beaufort Bight lighthouse as a first stop, so I eased back the throttle a bit to find its sweet spot for economy — about 30 mph at 3,900 rpm, making one mile per gallon — and trimmed down some.

With five miles to go, I throttled up to 6,000 rpm and found the boat humming along at 48 mph. We circled the cove inside the bight and headed offshore. I snapped the helm to port for a 180, and the 375 came around sweetly. It rolled gently into that turn and returned to a straight course when I centered the helm. The hull’s variable-degree deadrise (20 degrees at the transom) cleaved the chop, providing maximum stability at trolling speeds.

Back inside, we eased into Taylor Creek, bordered on one bank by a bustling waterfront and on the other by a desolate barrier island inhabited by wild horses. The creek narrowed considerably, so with a full twist of the joystick, I was able to pivot the boat smoothly and steer it back to port.

Fishing

Due to tight timing and unfavorable weather, I couldn’t fish the 375, but the big dual-console can be easily equipped for wetting a line, with an optional 30-gallon livewell. A vertical venturi system feeds an “envelope” of moving water, flowing from top to bottom, leaving no unoxygenated eddies to trap and kill bait. Next to the well, a refrigerated icebox stores rigged trolling baits.

Rod holders under the gunwales offer plentiful storage, and instead of “afterthought” bolt-on toe rails, Grady engineered them into the acrylic coaming trim panels— handsome and useful. Also enhancing the boat’s panache: maintenance-free faux-teak trim. The material is touted to be as impervious to water as plastic, but you’d swear it was teak.

Tackle storage was abundant on my test boat. Drawers pulled out of the mezzanine seating on the port side. Tug slightly on the seat back, and out rolls a Corian-topped workstation with two more compartments.

Outriggers are optional on the 375, but the hardtop is ready to receive them. The test-boat cockpit was equipped with a new L-shaped lounge that bolted in with hand screws; if your crew plans on hard-core fishing, you’d leave this ashore. You can also remove it for easier access to the genset and plumbing equipment in the bilge.

Design and Construction

Grady-White Boats won every J.D. Power award in its class when that market-research company was monitoring boats. Grady still maintains that high level of quality, and among its construction trademarks is an unsinkable hull, thanks to foam that’s added for flotation — but not structure, as with some brands.

Careful attention is paid to ­component quality and installation. Take the fuel tank. While some builders foam those in — potentially trapping moisture around it that might cause corrosion and leaks — Grady keeps dead-air space around the tank, supporting it on solid spacers, and keeps the area dry with drain holes. The company’s gelcoat is one of the glossiest and toughest available.

It would be easy to walk along the deck of this gorgeous dual-console, and nod and exit saying “pretty cool.” But you’d miss the double berth forward that converts from a cozy couch at the touch of a button. Aft of that is another berth for a third sleeper. The head lies to starboard, with a roomy shower, ventilation and storage.

The 375 might look like a fishy dual‑console topside, but it’s also a full-featured cruiser for anyone eager to enjoy the sounds of the surf while swinging on the hook.

SPECIFICATIONS

LOA: 36 ft. 7 in.

BEAM: 13 ft. 2 in.

DRAFT: 2 ft. 5 in.

DEADRISE: 20.6 deg

WEIGHT: 21,200 lb. (w/ power)

FUEL: 320 gal.

MAX POWER: 1,050 hp OB (Yamaha)

YAMAHA F300 V-6 Offshore

TYPE: 60-deg. V-6

DISPLACEMENT: 254 cid

MAX RPM: 6,000

HP/LB RATIO: 0.53

FUEL SYSTEM: DOHC fuel injection

GEAR RATIO: 1.75:1

WEIGHT: 562 lb.

ALTERNATOR OUTPUT: 70 amps

MSRP: $639,670 (base boat w/ test power)

NOTABLE STANDARD FEATURES

> AirView2 hardtop with sunroof and side curtains

> Cherry-and-holly-style deck soles

> SureShade retractable sun awning

> Midship galley with grill, refrigerator and storage

> Overhead rod storage in hard top

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

Watch our video walk-through of the Grady-White Freedom 375.