No matter how well a boat sells after a few years the manufacturer generally redesigns the model to bring it up to date, and we shouldnt expect anything different when it comes to the Grady-White Freedom 225or, should we? Instead of the usual face-lift, despite this models popularity Grady-White has come out with an all-new Freedom 235 for 2017. Lets take a peek.
This article originally appeared onboats.com. Republished by permission.
Why choose a dual console boat in the first place? While it isnt ideal for fishing it still gets the job done, and dual consoles tend to function well forwatersportsand family day-cruising. Plus, modern versions have lots of conveniences, like a head in the port-side console, and bow fillers that turn the entire bow cockpit into a playpen (For more insight into this design, seeDual Console Boats: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly).Any way you look at it, however, the dual consoles popularity is proof enough that for many boaters, its an ideal design. And the Freedom 235 joins a long list of dual-console offerings ranging from theFreedom 192all the way up to a 37-footer. This extensive experience with larger dual console models allows Grady-White to walk some of the big-boat features down the line, and incorporate them into the new boat. Like theFreedom 285,for example, the port-side console in the 235 houses a roomy head compartment with a dome light, mirror, and teak-and-holly sole. And as they did with theFreedom 275,Gradys engineers found ways to boost interior cockpit volume. In this case, however, they didnt just slim down the gunwales and push out the inwales, they also increased the boats beam from 80 to 86. Put these two factors together, and the Freedom 235 feels significantly roomier in both the fore and aft cockpits than the 225 does. Other features that have been incorporated from elsewhere in the line include multiple slots and pockets and 12V outlets for convenient cell phone stowage and charging, a transom gate, and an extremely large helm flat for flush-mounting electronics.
Naturally, the larger footprint and increase in displacement also have an effect on performance. The 225 could get by with 200 horses and cruise at around 30 MPH while topping out in the lower 40s, but the 235 uses aYamaha F250to attain the same results. If you feel the need for speed, you can opt for a 300 HP powerplant. Cruise jumps up into the mid 30s, and top-end touches 46.4 MPH. We couldnt take the Freedom 235 out for a sea trial when we saw it (grrr it was parked inside the convention center at the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show) but since it rides on the standard-issue Grady-White SeaV2 variable-degree deadrise hull, anyone familiar with running a Grady-White of this size knows more or less how it will handle the seas.
Without question, the greatest strength of the dual console design is versatility. You can use a boat like this for fishing one day, and family cruising the next.
Also familiar to those who have experience with Grady-Whites is the boats construction. Like all of their offerings, the glass is hand-laid, resin is temperature-controlled, stringers are glassed to the hull, and foam is sprayed into belowdecks cavities. Theres been plenty written about Grady-Whites attention to detail, quality control, and 14-year run winning the NMMA Customer Satisfaction Award (which requires a 90-percent or higher customer satisfaction rating), so lets just say we feel were on solid ground when we assert that the Freedom 235 is well-built.That does not, of course, mean the boat is perfectnone ever is. The adjusting port-side seat is nifty, but even with the seatback placed all the way on the end it isnt really large enough for stretch-out lounging; some sort of extension or filler that connected it to the aft bench seat would be nice for the sun-worshippers in the crew. And while we applaud this builders dedication to quality, its hard not to notice that another way in which they out-pace the competition is with pricing. Well-equipped youre going to have to plan to spend $140,000 for a Freedom 235, and loaded to the gills, could hit $150,000.Quibble, quibble. When considering price one should also note that Grady-Whites maintain much better than average resale value, and a look at usedFreedom 225 listingsis quite eye-opening. As with most things, when it comes to boats you get what you pay for. And in this case, youll also find that a lot of the cost-adding items that are considered optional on competing boats are standard fare on the Freedom 235. The trim tabs, for example, are the expensive hydraulic auto-retracting Bennetts with indicators. The 20 gallon pressure freshwater system, windshield wiper, and blue cockpit LEDs, all of which are listed as optional equipment on most boats of this size, are included on the standard features list. And along with the boat you get the Captain Grady app, which is an AV operations guide covering the boat from stem to stern.
Loaded? Pretty muchin stock form, the Freedom 235 comes with a lot more than most competitors.
If youre looking to maximize LOA for the buck, this is probably not going to be your next boat. If youre a die-hard angler or a die-hard watersports fan and you want a laser-focused, single-mission boat, its likely youll keep on looking. But if youre searching for a multi-use boat that puts quality ahead of sizeand if youre not afraid to invest big bucks to play the long gameit might be time to check out a Grady-White Freedom 235.Other Choices:TheEverglades 230 DCis another top-shelf dual console thats built as tough as they come. Same goes for theBoston Whaler 230 Vantage.A slightly less expensive but still well-built option would be theCobia 22 Dual Console.For more information,visit Grady-White.