A Pathetically Short List
They say size isn't everything, but let's be honest: It is, although some things you want to be big, others you want small. And in building the Express 360, Grady-White plays both ends of the spectrum. For her base-boat MSRP – which is a bit steep compared to others in her class – the Express 360 delivers literally everything you need except rods, reels and lures. The folks at Grady, Southern gentlemen and ladies to a person (and we can vouch for this based on personal experience), don't believe in low-balling an MSRP to lure in a buyer, then frisking him by selling him stuff that ought to be on board in the first place. In a world where bigger is usually better, Grady-White "equips" the Express 360 with one of the most puny options lists we've ever seen.
So how small is it? There are 10 entries, and four of them are custom hull colors ($12,100), three are outriggers ($5,850 for 24', $3,000 for 15', in two versions). You can buy only one each of both of these. Otherwise there's an enclosed helm option ($24,060), underwater lights ($2,690) and ivory hard-top canvas ($0) – apparently you just opt for this vs. the standard navy-blue canvas). And that's it; everything else is standard, including the bow thruster, 8-kW generator (diesel, with its own fuel tank), air conditioning, Sirius radio service, and so forth. And need we add there is a ton of fishing gear, all of it built in like it ought to be?
Hulls By Hunt
Although Grady-White creates the overall design of its boats, since 1989 the running bottoms have come from the naval architectural firm of C. Raymond Hunt Associates. Inspired by the often rigorous conditions fishermen find both locally, in the Outer Banks inlets, and worldwide, the Hunt SeaV2 hulls utilize continuously variable deadrise and wide chines to produce a smooth-riding and stable hull.
The SeaV2 hull is sharper amidships than most deep-Vs: around 30 degrees of deadrise where the hull meets the water when running on plane. That's the area of the hull that contributes most to a comfortable ride. Aft, the deadrise flattens to about 20 degrees, less than the 23 or 24 degrees of a "classic" deep-V (a design that C. Raymond Hunt developed in the early 1960s); lower deadrise back there makes a hull faster and more stable.
Plywood? No Problem for Grady-White
Grady-White has sometimes been criticized for building their boats' bottom support and transoms in plywood, albeit plywood that's totally encapsulated in fiberglass and resin. It's common for boatbuilders today to promote their "wood-free" construction, with high-density foam used to core transoms, stringers and other hull supports. In days past, most builders used plywood in these areas, too – but not all of them took the pains that Grady-White did to protect the plywood from water migration through the laminate.
On their 18- to 30-foot models, Grady-White still uses plywood in many of their hull structures. It is high-quality plywood that's treated to prevent rot, then carefully installed to ensure a long and happy life. (The company covers their boats with a limited lifetime warranty, including the plywood, and G-W takes its warranties very seriously.) However, on the Express 360 the company uses a composite stringer system, foam-cored fiberglass, which they say adds strength and lightens the boats for performance. The transom is still cored with plywood, using Perma Panel that's specifically manufactured for marine use. On all models, including the 360, there is “basic” floatation provided (i.e. not “level” flotation), according to the builder.
Grady-White offers the Express 360 with either twin or triple Yamaha four-stroke outboards up to 1,050-hp total. Base power is twin F350s, but our local dealer said that triple F350s were the power of choice for almost all buyers, at least for the boats he's sold. Triple F300s are also available. We haven't tested this boat ourselves, so we have to take the builder's word on performance data. With twins, Grady-White says the 360 will run 44.2 mph (71.13 kph), cruise most economically at around 27 mph (43.5 kph). Range is about 306 mi. (492 km.) at that speed, with 10% reserve – all of this according to Grady-White.
Add another 350 horses and you get top speed around 53.1 mph (85.46 kph) says G-W, and a cruise of 31.4 mph (50.53 kph). Cruising range should be around 286 mi. (460 km) at that speed. Opting for the triples doesn't cost much in cruising range, but adds both top-end and cruise speed. According to Grady-White's figures, the triple F300s would be a good compromise. Top speed with that power is 49.6 mph (79.82 kph), cruise 30.8 mph (49.57 kph) at just 1.00 mpg, or a range of 333 mi. (536 km.). But our dealer said buyers preferred the F350s to the F300s, wanting the added gumption for punching through seas or break-necking it home when the weather threatened to turn sour.Again, these aren't our numbers, but Grady-White's, so don't call us if your boat doesn't measure up.
Here's where we usually compare MSRPs among similar boats, but with the Grady-White Express 360, we won't bother. Why? For the same reason we wouldn't price-shop a Rolls-Royce against the rest of the market. Folks either want a Grady, and are willing to pay the extra – the boats are at the top of the market – or they're not. Simple as that. And to be fair, most builders provide just a basic boat for their MSRP, while Grady delivers one that is fully equipped – so just going by the numbers will make the Express 360 look even more expensive relative to the competition.The bottom line is, if you want a Grady-White, you want one and won't worry about the cost. If you're shopping price, don't bother to look. We think it's hard to beat a Grady-White at any price, though, and do not hesitate to recommend the Express 360 if you want a serious offshore fishing boat, one with maybe the world's shortest options list.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Standard|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Standard|
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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