Text by Mike Rose
The Grady White Express 370 sets new standards for outboard-powered sportfishing, comfort and luxury.
The latest Grady-White to hit New Zealand waters, the superbly appointed 14m LOA Express 370, is notable for several reasons.
It is the most highly spec’d Express 370 to be commissioned anywhere in the world.
It is the first twin 425hp Yamaha powered boat in New Zealand to be fitted with Yamaha’s latest version of its Helm Master boat control system.
It is one of the best combinations of superbly appointed, luxuriously comfortable, specialist sport fishing boats one is likely to encounter. And it scores a probable 11 out of 10 on the Wow scale.
Anyone familiar with the Grady-White will know how highly rated they are by fishers, boat reviewers and, most importantly of all, their customers.
This Express 370 is a good example. Commissioned by Craig Watts, the man responsible for the fast-growing Tairua Marina, it follows his purchase of an Express 330 back in 2016. Having outgrown the 330 and wanting to explore further afield, there was no question of looking at another brand. In simple terms, he wanted the same but more so and that is exactly what he got.
Craig describes his superbly appointed Express 370 as a true “go anywhere, anytime” vessel at “another level” to the 330.
At 3m longer and with almost 500mm more beam, it is a far more substantial craft and, in true Grady-White fashion, its designers have made great use of all that additional space.
Unfortunately, my editor hasn’t been so kind so there is simply isn’t enough room here to describe everything that has been included on this very impressive craft (to be fair, I would have needed half the magazine to do it all justice).
Nevertheless, here goes:
As elsewhere, so much to highlight. The large for’ard screen is a one-piece affair, meaning there are no unsightly mullions to impair the view. Although there is air conditioning throughout the vessel (including at the station) there is loads of fresh ventilation, too. In addition to side opening windows, there is powered modern version of the old Land Rover lower opening panel at the bottom of the screen and a sophisticated hardtop hatch complete with sunshades and insect screens.
The solus captain’s seat rightly dominates the area but there is plenty of room for the crew, too. There is a single forward-facing seat to port with a walkway between the two giving access below. On starboard, a bigger forward facing bench seat is paired with a smaller aft-facing one with a clever pull-up table/fill-in arrangement creating either separate seating, seating with a dinette table or a legs-up lounger able to be used in either direction.
The twin Simrad 16” MFD screens are front and centre in the dash displaying plotter, sonar and radar information as required. A Simrad autopilot and adjustable steering are also part of the custom package. This was specifically designed for Craig by New Zealand Grady-White agent Stuart Arnold of Marine Imports, who also modified the dash to suit.
Also close at hand: controls for the Bennett trim tabs, the Lewmar bow thruster, the air conditioning/dehumidifying and heating system, Fusion stereo systems and the Lewmar windlass. This latter has also been modified especially for Craig with the addition of another top-mounted capstan specifically for his grapnel and rode.
The sides of the hardtop are protected by EC2CY double lined clears. These are remarkably glass-like and, as such, cannot be rolled away in the usual way. Instead, they come with pre-made folds and are held in position with Velcro rather than studs.
The 370’s cabin is a classy space in which to relax after a hard day’s fishing and enjoying oneself. A well-equipped galley lines the port side with a custom sink (narrower but deeper than standard) inset into a Corian benchtop. A Kenyon electric twin burner stove comes complete with plastic pop-ups to hold the pots or pans in place in a seaway and the rest of the cooking is handled by a combination convention/microwave/grill oven set above a fridge freezer unit. This latter can be run over either 12v or shore power and comes with its own icemaker. The modern appliances are nicely offset by the teak fittings and the teak and holly floor.
There are two large berths, the main up for’ard and the second back under the helm station. Both feature custom, high quality sprung mattress and both, in keeping the 370’s fishing raison d’etre, custom rod holders in the ceilings.
The highlight of the cabin is a marlin motif set into a curved glass panel at the foot of the bed. With blue LED lighting behind is looks fantastic during the day and probably evening more so at night. There is a dinette and leather seating for when dining al fresco is not an option, a TV/DVD on the aft bulkhead (already wired for a TV satellite receiver) and a head/shower with 316 stainless steel and teak fittings. The vacu-flush toilet drains into a 68-litre holding tank.
The 370’s cockpit is pure Grady-White. Completely fishing focused with incredible attention to detail and a very high level of appointment. In recognition of the fact the boat is likely to be fishing and traversing some pretty rough water at times, there are also no hard corners anywhere to be seen.
That attention to detail starts on the transom where the baitboard mounts have been specially designed to sit on top of the transom rather than into rod holders in the normal way. Stuart explains that this is because there is an adjustable fridge freezer underneath and he didn’t want to risk compromising the integrity of its cooling system.
A pullout hot and cold water shower and its control have been inset into the transom by the door, protected, as is everything else on board, by 316 stainless steel covers. The standard Grady-White features are all here, too. There is sturdy transom door fitting, especially designed to be operated with just one hand; the pull-out transom seat; the blue-light livebait well.
The 370 has a lazarette that not only gives access to the steering, fuel lines, etc but also to the Panda generator and a large plastic lidded bin for stowing the rubbish.
The cockpit also features a special side locker for the gaff, an easily accessible washdown hose and a protected panel for the battery controls.
In the forward part of the cockpit, on port, are a stainless steel barbecue, and a beer fridge while, over on starboard, there is that livebait well alongside a handy sink. Underneath are a pull-out tackle locker and a lure/knife holder while, above, are handily-placed toggle controls for the livebait well, the washdown and the bright Lumintec spreader lights.
GO ANYWHERE ANYTIME
If owner Craig Watts wanted a “go anywhere anytime” boat he certainly has one in the Grady-White Express 370.
Its twin Yamaha 425hp V8 four-strokes might seem excessive to some but the truth is that this vessel is actually rated to 1275hp (meaning, should he wish, he could safely add a third)! Nevertheless, it certainly gets along. Despite its nearly 10 tonnes of trailerable weight, this 370 cruises at around 30 knots (28.2 at 4000rpm and 32.9 at 4500) and tops out at an impressive 44.6 knots at WOT (5900rpm).
While obviously not as agile as its smaller brethren, it is no slug either. With that trademark handle on the steering wheel, hydraulic power assist steering and Yamaha’s impressive Helm Master boat control system, the 370 is as nimble as a boat of this size can be. That Helm Master also ensures she is easy to dock, even in a strong cross wind, and thanks to Set Point, it can hold station while over a reef (or for a fussy photographer) with no need for an anchor or for constant tweaking by the skipper.
And, as the photos show, the Grady-White Express 370 is not just a great performing boat it is a very good looking one, too. It’s Harbour Blue topcoat is not a standard boat paint. It is from the much-revered Awlgrip range that is normally reserved for the world’s classiest superyachts.
On another “45 footer” that might seem excessive. On this one, it feels just right.
- Name: Express 370
- Builder: Grady-White
- LOA: 14m
- Beam: 4.01m
- Height On Trailer: 4.5m
- Deadrise: 20 deg
- Construction: GRP
- Towing Weight: 9800kg
- Fuel Capacity: 1302 litres
- Engine Range: Up to 1275hp
- Test Power: 2x Yamaha 425hp V8 outboards
- Max Speed: 44.6 knots
- MFD: 2 x Simrad 16”
- Priced From: $NZ1,120,000.00
- Price as Tested: $NZ1,150,000.00
|FUEL & PERFORMANCE DATA|