Grady-White 360 Express Review

Grady introduced an even more luxurious, bigger boat with triple outboards. And it sells faster than a wahoo strike.

Grady White 360 Express main page

Grady White 360 Express main page

Grady-White knocked me down more than a few pegs with the introduction of its 33-footer several years ago. I never believed that an outboard-powered boat of that luxury, quality and expense would sell. Now it seems they can't build them fast enough to meet demand. In what I previously would have considered reductio ad absurdum, Grady introduced an even more luxurious, bigger boat with triple outboards. It, too, sells faster than a wahoo strike. I guess the company's second function is to keep me from getting too cocky when it comes to assessing the marketplace.

Performance The 360 is big, wide and hefty - definitely not a boat you'll want to trailer yourself.
 
On the way out to Big Rock - almost 50 miles south of Morehead City, North Carolina - the seas were still settling after a weekend of hurricane-force winds. But no matter on which point of attack we headed, I was able to find a sweet spot where the Grady cruised along smoothly. The 360 topped out at just over 44 mph burning 20 gph per engine - 60 gph total at 6,000 rpm. I know of smaller boats with twin engines that burn almost that. Amazingly, the 360's optimum cruising speed is a wholly respectable 31 mph at 4,500 rpm. At that speed, we used only 11 gph per engine or 33 gph total for an economy rating of 0.93 mpg.
 
Crank the wheel hard over at speed and the 360 leans into the turn and carves a tight circle while holding everyone in his seat. I found backing down easy, especially with the standard bow thruster to help alter course. While trolling, I discovered that the 360 has a short roll moment with moderate transitions.
 
Teleflex i6000 TEC electronic controls handle three throttles with two shifters. You can configure the levers to operate in numerous ways, which sounds good, but is needlessly complex. A benefit to this system is its NMEA 2000 compatibility, which allows it to work with a number of engine companies' products. The downside to this system? The large black boxes you need to hide away somewhere.

Fishing The hardtop has three single rocket-launcher holders on each leg and four horizontal rod holders up against the top. You'll also find storage for three rods under each gunwale and two in each gunwale, and you can stow rigger balls at the aft end of the undergunwale storage.
 
There's a huge fish box in the transom with freezer coils wrapped around the outside and the bottom and then sealed to the box with special putty for complete insulation. We set the temperature at 24 degrees and filled the box halfway with seawater to make a brine slush - the best way to chill down fish. The refrigerator/freezer in the cockpit module has the same construction. You control both units via a digital touch pad in the companionway.
 
Grady installs a 48-gallon well with full-column water distribution to keep your expensive liveys hale and hearty, too.
 
South of Big Rock, we encountered schools of dolphin and tuna. The cockpit proved plenty large enough for three anglers and two wire men to work together, and the chill box handled a full-day's catch with loads of room to spare. Though Grady glasses a plate into the deck to support a fighting chair, I don't believe the cockpit will handle anything but the smallest sailfish chair. However, the Pompanette sailfish rocket launcher pod we had on our boat worked perfectly.

Design and Construction Here's a clue to the thought and detail that go into every 360. The options list has two entries: Sirius satellite radio and outriggers. Absolutely everything else is standard, from the 8-kW Fischer-Panda diesel generator to the refrigerator and freezer drawers in the galley. Sport Fishing's national sales manager, Scott Salyers, can certainly attest to the comfort of the midship berth below. Placed where a normal 36-foot express boat's inboard engines usually live, the midberth delivered Salyers into the arms of Morpheus for the entire ride back from Big Rock in 3- to 5-foot seas. Add the spacious forward berth and the drop-down table in the salon to the mix and the 360 can sleep four adults and two children quite nicely. I also found the head to be reality based, with room to move - and sit - without feeling "wedged in."
 
The helm couldn't be more comfortable. Every nuance of ergonomics has been considered and addressed, from the deluxe helm chair capable of seemingly infinite adjustability to guest settees that serve equally well whether the passenger faces forward or aft.
 
The construction of Grady's 360 mirrors the successful 33 with hand-laid fiberglass SeaV2 hull, fiberglass Prisma stringers and quality chrome-stainless hardware. Overall, I could easily triple the length of this column and not cover all the impressive features aboard the Grady 360. So be sure to check out this history-making boat at your dealer or the next boat show.