You want to take outboard power to its outer limits? Thanks to increased engine horsepower and decreased boat displacement, today’s outboard boats are bigger than ever before – and one prime example is the Grady-White 330 Express. Sitting at the docks, this boat is big enough to make a pair of 250-hp four-stroke motors look downright puny. Yet when you mash the throttles to the dash the boat jumps onto plane and roars up to an eye-opening 44-mph. You say you want even more speed? Drop a pair of Yamaha’s honkin’ big 350’s onto the transom, and you’ll break 50-mph.
How can a boat this big be so fleet on its feet? Grady-White departed from its standard wood-cored stringer system with the 330. Instead, this boat has foam-filled stringers. Otherwise construction is standard Grady (with highlights including a solid glass hull, foam-filled voids, and RTM hatches), but overall displacement is kept to a relatively trim 10,840 pounds. Match that weight up with a Ray Hunt designed variable-degree deep-V deadrise hull and those potent Yamaha four-strokes, and yester-year’s 30-something MPH top-end seems like a snail’s pace.
Speed and power are important, but if you’re looking at express-style boats, chances are that comfort is important to you, too. In this regard, the Grady-White is going to blow you away. Thanks to the extroverted nature of the powerplants there’s no need for an engineroom—a must in inboard-powered expresses of this size—and this creates enough space under the deck to carve out a sizable mid-cabin. With six feet, eight inches of length, a couple of adults can stretch out comfortably in there. Truth be told, however, most of the time most boaters end up using a mid-cabin for bulk stowage. Fine—you’ll be able to pack away a week’s worth of gear into this space, without cluttering up the forward queen berth, the dinette (which folds into an additional berth), or the port-side galley, which has a microwave, refrigerator, sink, and electric cook-top. And that galley will remain fully-functional whether you’re at the dock or at the canyons, because a four kilowatt generator is included on the 330 as standard equipment.
Speaking of standards: make sure you match up the Grady’s list against that of the competitors when comparison shopping. Although the 330 has a price that seems high at first glance ($337,670 with the 250’s) the number takes a real-world drop when you match up apples to apples. Big-ticket items like that generator, a teak and holly sole, a 12,000 BTU air conditioning system, a 15” flat-screen TV and entertainment center with AM/FM stereo and speakers, a six-gallon hot water heater, a hard top with spreader lights and rocket launchers, hydraulic trim tabs, a 45-gallon livewell, and hydraulic-tilt steering are all included. With many competing boats, you’ll need to break out a calculator to figure in the cost of these items, and when all is said and done you might be surprised at how reasonable the Grady ends up looking.
Wait a sec – we’ve talked about speed, design, construction, and price, but isn’t the 330 a fishing boat, first and foremost? Sort of; Grady-White tells us that plenty of cruisers appreciate this boat’s attributes, while enjoying the 330’s wide-open cockpit. But when it comes to slinging rods and swinging gaffs this boat leaves nothing to be desired. That 45-gallon livewell we mentioned earlier has a full-column inlet (to maximize water flow and keep live baits as healthy as possible) and is even lighted, for night fishing. There’s a transom fishbox with 254 quarts of capacity and it can be optioned-out with a digitally-controlled freezer plate (no more buying ice!) which is laminated into the fiberglass. The gunwales house four rodholders, and under-gunwale racks can stow six rigs. Coaming bolsters and toe rails line the cockpit. There’s both a raw water washdown and a freshwater shower in the cockpit. And naturally, there’s a reinforcement plate laminated into the cockpit sole, in case you want to rig the 330 to chase big game. In fact, after spending a morning of trolling and an afternoon of grouper fishing on the 330, I could come up with only one complaint: the outboards are set far back on the transom, which makes it tough to work fish around them. You say that this is true of virtually every outboard-powered fishing boat in this class? Yup, you’re right. Of course, a decade ago this class of outboard-powered fishboat didn’t even exist and a few years ago the boats in this class were limited in speed and performance. But today, limits like these have been blown out of the water—thanks to boats like the Grady-White 330.
Grady-White 330 Specifications
Length – 33’6”
Beam – 11’7”
Max. Draft – 2’7”
Deadrise – Variable; 21 degrees at the transom
Weight – 10,840
Fuel capacity – 350