By Captain Rob Smith
It was cold when we tested the Grady-White Gulfstream 232 but everyone was really excited about having the helicopter chase us for some video. I managed the action from the Gulfstream 232 and had to admire the roominess of the cockpit and helm. As I wrapped up the run with the 232, I really began to admire the soft ride, agile handling and speed. This model really does deliver on more than just a 23’ (7.01 m) walk-around model with a cabin, and feels much more like a 26 footer.The soft ride is the result of a warped V-bottom hull drawn by C. Raymond Hunt & Associates, the design firm that gave the world the Deep-V. With a very sharp entry forward, and plenty of deadrise in the hull under the helm, the 232’s ride is comfortable and dry.
Beginning at the bow, our model had low profile grab railings, a bow pulpit and an anchor windlass system for effortless anchoring. I was pleased to find the walkways had some depth to them so one could safely move from around the cockpit to the bow area. Looking back towards the cockpit, the boater really gets a good idea of how massive the safety glass windshield really is and how much visibility it gives the captain. Our test model included the optional hardtop and 15 foot radial mounted outriggers making this one serious off-shore fishing machine prepared for the long haul. The deck cleats are all through- bolted, high grade 316 stainless steel. The cleats under the rails are top mounted and the pair at the aft end are recessed to keep the gunwales free of line-snagging obstructions.
The cockpit takes full advantage of the 9’3” (2.82 m) beam width and is part of the reason it feels like a much larger walkaround. The working deck has 56 sq. ft. of room to fish or just enjoy a fun cruise with the family. The aft bench seat is Grady-White’s patented system that makes setting it up and putting it away extremely simple. One can easily set it up with one hand and put it away with two. Off the back is an extended transom mount for the single 350-hp Yamaha available for this rig. You might think that is overkill, but if you are serious about going off-shore, it’s going to get you there like a bullet. If you prefer twins, you can rig her up with dual 150s or 200s. Standard single rigging is for a single 250.If the boater does more than fish, they will likely want the optional small or full-sized swim platform with ladder. Four flush mount vertical rod holders are in the gunwale tops and six more store in the under gunwale racks with safety toe rail to lock yourself onboard when reaching overboard. A monster insulated fishbox measuring 297 quarts and a cutting board are there right where one would need them. Below the helm is another 265 quart fishbox with the 36 gallon livewell across the cockpit under the navigator’s station. This livewell is a full column, raw water lighted and insulated box with over-board drain and 1100 gph pump.
The helm console is larger than most in her class with room for large screen displays. Across the top of the dash is a Richie compass in the center. Just below is a vertical panel with Yamaha Digital Command gauges keeping an eagle eye on the engine and a trim tab indicator. Switches are grouped together for convenience and a really great idea is the 12 volt sockets for both the navigator and the driver so both can use portable gear along the way.
Moving to the cabin, another feature I really like is the magnetic catch for the cabin door rather than the old nail that usually nailed one's fingers if they weren’t paying close attention. Inside is all the accommodations to have the kids spread out for naps, or for someone to get some z’s when waiting on the fish to start biting. There's even a small galley and head to add to the comfort of a long day on the water.
The Grady-White Gulfstream 232 is 23’5” (7.14 m) length overall with a beam width of 9’3” (2.82 m). She weighs in at 4,538 lbs. (2,058 kg) and carries up to 141 gallons (534 L) of fuel. This model is rated for up to 400-hp and was tested with the Yamaha 350-hp V-8 Four Stroke.
It wasn’t rough the day we tested the boat, but it was extremely cold. Thankfully, the boat is dry because if it had been wet I would have had a miserable day. The Gulfstream 232 turned well without appreciable loss of speed in a turn, crossed its own wake smoothly and was easy to drive. Sight lines were good and the helm was comfortable. I found she was on plane in 4.4 seconds and up to 30 mph in 7.5 seconds. Her best cruise speed was about 28.1 mph at 3500 rpm for a range of 356 miles. Her top speed was clocked at 51.1 mph.
In my opinion, the Grady-White Gulfstream 232 makes a good coastal fishing boat the family can also enjoy whether they are all into fishing or not. It is easy to drive and fairly easy to trailer, given one has the right vehicle. With room to relax inside for the kids or for one to escape to a sudden shower as well as the ability to make coffee in the morning or hot sandwiches for lunch, it seems to cover the bases with room to fish!
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Grady-White Gulfstream 232 (2015-) is 51.1 mph (82.2 kph), burning 35.7 gallons per hour (gph) or 135.12 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Grady-White Gulfstream 232 (2015-) is 28.1 mph (45.2 kph), and the boat gets 2.64 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.12 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 356 miles (572.93 kilometers).
- Tested power is 1 x 350-hp Yamaha Four-Stroke.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|