Grady-White 283 Release Review

I truly appreciate the Grady-White philosophy of boat building. What doesn't add value disappears. That's Grady-White: No flash. Just value.



Grady White

I truly appreciate the Grady-White philosophy of boat building. Every feature that Grady considers incorporating into its boats passes an evaluation process to show how the feature adds value. What doesn’t add value disappears. That’s Grady-White: No flash. Just value.We tested this Grady 283 Release center console and it felt bigger than 28 feet. In fact, we used a 306 Bimini as a photo boat, and though larger, it’s virtually identical to the 283 Release. Once aboard the 283, you’ll be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the two. I think the new 283, with a slightly narrower beam, rides more smoothly in a rough sea.Performance_PERFORMANCE_We never made it all the way out to the fishing grounds. The 40-degree winds blowing at 30 mph with gusts much higher compelled us to be prudent and not run 50 miles offshore of Morehead City, North Carolina, to the Big Rock. Rather, we stayed in more shallow and sheltered waters closer to shore looking for stripers.The 283 stuck to the ocean like a magnet. It didn’t want to launch off a wave. Running into 3- to 4-foot ocean swells at 40 mph, the bow just lowered off the crests and kept moving. When I finally hit a wave large enough to launch the hull, the 283 landed slightly stern first (no surprise with almost 1,200 pounds on the transom) with a remarkably soft entry. It sounds and feels like a rock rather than a hollow tube when it leaps over the seas.With one-engine, at a 2 1/2-mph slow-trolling speed, the wake burbled crystal clear. That speed uses so little fuel that the wickedly accurate Yamaha fuel consumption gauge couldn’t register. Though 5,500 rpm equaled 45 mph burning 38 gph, optimum cruise came in at 4,500 rpm, running at 40 mph and using 21 gph. Top speed turned out to be 48 mph at 5,700 rpm. Back at the dock, close-quarters handling proved impeccable -- virtually identical to a twin-screw inboard. Grady’s ridiculously simple transom seat -- the best design in the business -- works really well running out to the fishing grounds in rough weather. It also takes up no extra room, allowing you to incorporate a full-sized transom fishbox.Grady makes special accommodations for in-hull transducer mounting by molding flat spots in the bilge. Our fish finder never once lost bottom lock at any speed as long as the hull was in the water.The leaning post module with its 45-gallon baitwell serviced by an 1,100 gph pump holds everything including the kitchen sink: Tackle storage, several catchall boxes, space for removable tackle boxes, hangers for knives, pliers and rigs are all centrally located.Even with everyone three passengers standing at the transom, this Grady got up on plane quickly using one (four-stroke) engine and ran at an impressive 27 mph. In addition to the typical Isinglass curtains found around most consoles, next year Grady plans to offer an optional pair of side curtains you can hook to the gunwale and bulwark. These do an admirable job of keeping you warm and dry on nasty days. We had the prototypes, which remained remarkably dry given the wind and rough seas - testament to the 283’s dry ride._FISHING_An optional, removable casting-platform insert fits between the forward seats. Without it, the foredeck hit me at about hip level. With the platform inserted, you have clear fly-casting or cast-netting space. Additionally, Grady provides a low-profile bowrail and netting that segments this space to keep your cast net bucket and other gear from sliding around. You’ll find an innovation in the lockable rod storage under both gunwales. Put the tips forward or aft (depending on the rod length) and you can still lock your reels securely.Live-baiters and drift-fishermen will surely love the way the 283 Release drifts stern-quarter to the seas. It enables you to steer it downsea without power, by simply turning the engines. Order the optional outriggers, and Grady runs the rigger-tensioning lines to a cam cleat under the gunwale through an eye in the caprail. Everyone at Grady-White fishes, and it shows._DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION_I can’t delineate all the storage space aboard the 283. But here are a few highlights: insulated and gasketed forward seats, which drain overboard, with sport heavy stainless-steel shocks to hold them open; loads of drink holders all of which drain onto the deck; and a convenient trash basket!The 283 represents one of the first center consoles I’ve experienced where, I could actually use the head in comfort. The console interior boasts plenty of headroom, wide access and a fully gelcoated finish for easy cleaning. In addition, the toilet has a solid cover you can actually sit on without cracking it. The space grants you truly trouble-free access to the deck-level batteries (well above the waterline), sea-cock levers and wiring.Grady provides so much instrument-mounting space on the console that you’re unlikely to need the overhead electronics box. Here’s the clincher: I never go aboard a brand new boat without finding things that need change or improvement. Other than the age-old swim ladder problem, I found myself unable to determine a single negative aspect to this 283 Release. Bravo!


LOA28 ft.BEAM9 ft. 6 in.DEADRISE20 deg.DRAFT 1 ft. 6 in.WEIGHT5,520 lbs. (w/o power)FUEL 205 gal.MAX POWERT250-hp OB MSRP$113,487 (w/T225 4-strokes)

Yamaha 225-hp Four-stroke

TYPE60-degree V6DISPL.204.6 cidMAX RPM6,000HP/LB RATIO0.39FUEL SYSTEMMultiport InjectionGEAR RATIO2:1WEIGHT583 lbs.ALT. OUTPUT45 ampsMSRP$17,440It’s easy to forget what it was like running carbureted engines. When underway with Yamaha’s four-stroke 225s, you suddenly realize that you’re speaking in a normal tone of voice. Amazing. NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT * Low-profile bowrail * Transducer-mounting flats * Leaning post with baitwell * Cockpit toe rails * Three fishboxes * Electric marine head

IMPRESSIONSI run lots of boats, but precious few that I would happily own myself. The Grady-White 283 Release qualifies for that rare accolade.

Grady-White BoatsGreenville, North