Successful boatbuilding is all about getting the numbers right and Grady-White has theirs nailed. With the Adventure 208, their 40-year heritage shines through.
The pride of North Carolina boatbuilding, Grady-White, was founded in 1959 and has been owned by the same family for the last 50 years. 40 years ago, it pioneered the Walk Around Cabin. Today, it offers 27 models across five distinct ranges, four of which are Walk Around Cabins.
When J. D. Power and Associates conducted their first Marine Industry Customer Satisfaction Survey in 2001, Grady-White was ranked 1st in its category (coastal fishing boats). The surveys were conducted for the next 8 years and Grady White finished top in every single one, earning an incredible 9+ out of 10 in every category including performance, fit and finish, comfort, ride, factory support and dealer service.
When the US’s National Marine Manufacturers Association began their independent Customer Satisfaction Index studies in 2001, Grady-White was again 1st in their category (fibreglass boats). They recently received their 16th consecutive CSI Award.
The Adventure 208 is the smallest of Grady-White’s Walk Around Cabin designs, although at 6.8m, with a trailerable weight of 1815kgs and a Yamaha 200hp four-stroke on its transom, it is certainly no lightweight.
And that’s not a bad thing. Those who choose fibreglass over aluminium for their fishing platforms do so largely for one or both of these reasons: they prefer the more polished, warmer appearance or they like the more solid feel, especially when battling large seas offshore.
Although some might think a sub-7m vessel is a little small to be heading offshore, it is what the Adventure 208 (and of course its three large stable mates) were designed to do. This is thanks largely to Grady-White’s renowned SeaV2 Progression hull. Starting at a moderate 18 degrees at the stern, it develops into around 30 degrees amidships and culminates in 50-plus degrees at the bow. Combined with a clearly defined chine, a brace of strakes and that 1800kgs, the Adventure 208 not only copes with rough offshore seas, it does so comfortably.
As those who have had the opportunity to ride in a Grady-White (or read previous reviews of the marque) will appreciate, the 208 combines that rough water capability with an almost jetboat-like ability to turn tightly, power out of the turns and quickly get up to speed. With a top speed of 33.8 knots, it is definitely no slouch. Able to cover the ground at 25.3 knots at 28 l/hr means there is a surprisingly economical sweet spot for cruising, too.
Cabin Walkarounds were designed to maximise fishing space while providing shelter from the elements, along with a modicum of comfort for those wanting a spot to relax or overnight.
Being a Grady-White, there is also plenty to attract the serious angler. For example, to allow them to really lean into the fight, all of the gunwales are fitted with thick padded thigh-high bolsters while recessed toe kicks allow the feet to get just that little bit further outboard for maximum leverage. There is a 94.6-litre plumbed live bait tank under the forward port cockpit seat and a 100.3-litre insulated fish bin under the matching seat to starboard. Additional stowage bins live under both rear seats.
There is stowage for three rods in each of the side lockers as well as three more in each of the coamings and a further six in the rocket launcher.
A removable bait board slots into the starboard side of the transom and there is a pair of tackle lockers under the main crew seat.
Because Grady-White has long been helmed by people who are also passionate fishers, the company recognises that catching dinner can be both messy and, especially on a hot day, thirsty work. To cope with the former, they have installed a coiled wash down hose in the port side locker. To alleviate the latter they have installed stainless steel drink holders virtually everywhere. They are in the side decks, close by both the aft and forward cockpit seats and handily positioned for the driver and main crew. There are even a couple on the bow for those lounging on the foredeck. All, along with the rest of the Grady-White hardware, is 316 marine grade stainless steel.
To reach the Yamaha outboard and the two aft quarter platforms there is a clever fold-down step that also gives access to another smart piece of innovation: a hose fitting that connects directly to the outboard so there is no need for any unsightly “ear muffs”.
Under the Hardtop
The area under the 208’s optional hardtop more closely resembles that of a traditional cabin boat rather than that of a walkaround, especially when it is enclosed, as it is in this case, with curtain clears. Not only does the area feel surprisingly spacious, it also features one of those lockable louvered panel bi-fold doors, complete with capping hatch.
The twin seats are comfortable affairs with adjustable footrests and plenty of handy space nearby to stow things such as keys, cellphones, sunglasses and the like.
The Yamaha DEC gauges sit high on the dash, along with the Lewmar windlass controls, inset into their own carbon-like black panel. Below, behind a lockable Perspex cover, is the Garmin MFD. The Bennett trim tab toggle and the Ritchie compass are adjacent to the stainless steel tilt steering wheel while the DC gauges, again on an attractive black backing panel, are positioned, in order of importance, on the driver’s right side. The Garmin VHF and the Fusion sound system live in their own locker high up, underneath the hardtop.
The cabin, a comfortable spot to overnight of handy place to grab 40 winks when the fishing is slow, is easily big enough for two. It comes with both a traditional infill and a pull out centre squab, under which lives a portable toilet.
There is also ceiling-hung stowage for the really prized rods and reels, attractive black upstands creating the side lockers and net stowage in the forepeak.
Although the clear purpose of the 208 is to catch fish, its designers are clearly wise enough to realise that some are more interested in other pursuits. Like lounging around on the bow on a nice sunny day. They therefore offer a set of bow cushions specifically designed for this purpose. Stuart Arnold, Grady-White’s New Zealand distributor, sensibly accepted.
As a result, the bow area, so often a bit of a pretty dead space, can be pressed into service as either another fishing platform or as comfortable place to relax away from the more vigorous activity further aft.
Further improving the utilisation of this space is the optional extended bowsprit, which gets the anchor and all of the associated hardware safely out of the way.
A company that gets the numbers right and wins as many boat building and customer satisfaction awards as Grady-White is obviously doing something special. Although one of the smaller boats in its fleet, the Adventure 208 undoubtedly boasts the same high standard of finish, fit-out and attention to detail as its much larger siblings.
For those after a GRP fishing boat, who want to be able to comfortably cruise well offshore at a reasonable clip, fish hard while they are there and not have to worry too much about getting safely home if the wind suddenly gets up, it seems the numbers certainly stack up.
- Model & Model: Grady-White Adventure 208
- Price as tested: $NZ169,950.00
- Priced from: $NZ155,595.00
- Type: Walk Around
- Construction: GRP
- LOA: 6.80m
- Beam: 2.46m
- Deadrise: 18 deg – SeaV2 Progression
- Height on trailer: 3.15m
- Trailerable weight: 1815kgs
- Test Power: Yamaha F200hp 4 Stroke
- Propeller: 14-1/4” x 17 Reliance SDS
- Power options: Outboard
- HP Range: 150-250
- Fuel Capacity: 310 ltrs
- Trailer: Magic Tilt
FUEL & PERFORMANCE DATA
Grady White Adventure 208 Walk Around Cabin
Fuel Capacity: 310 litres
Engine: Yamaha F200hp 4 Stroke