The bonds that Grady-White has built with its boat owners over the years pay dividends whenever and wherever customers gather. That fact was evident in Miami and in New England and many other winter and spring boat shows in 2011, with new Grady-White Owners’ Clubs forming all around the country. And that wasn’t all going on at the shows. Attendance was up, and folks were gathering to see the new Freedom 255, the Fisherman 230, the updated Fisherman 209, and of course the awesome Canyon 366 and other models. There was also a new hardtop enclosure for the Express 330, modeled after the popular one being installed on the Express 360.
Grady-White dealership customer events in the spring of 2011, plus good weather, sparked great interest anew in the Grady-White Owners’ Clubs. Thus, Grady-White organized the first national Grady-White Club Commodores meeting that took place in July, and was attended by over 50 club leaders and other active members. The primary purpose of the event was to organize an idea exchange to see how Grady-White could best foster new and greater club participation. Socializing, idea sessions and break-outs, and a great factory tour highlighted the event. (Watch the Club Commodores video.)
Model year 2012 opened with the introduction of the all-new Canyon 271, a super 27-foot center console fishing boat that is also very family friendly. The Canyon 271 included features that customers had been asking for, among them being a large, versatile enclosed head area, as well as a well-protected and highly ergonomic helm area. Highlight of the Canyon 271 included loads of seating and storage, in the bow area especially. Perhaps because Grady-White was a pioneer in cabin style boats, customers are sometimes surprised to learn that Grady-White has built center console boats for nearly four decades. By model year 2012, with ten models from 18-36 feet, the company offered far and away the most varied and complete line of center consoles available from any single builder. (Watch the Canyon 271)
Throughout the late summer and fall of 2011, Grady-White worked furiously on superbly engineering the all-new Freedom 285, introduced to dealers at the combination dealer meeting and sales training seminar held in New Bern, North Carolina, over several warm, beautiful days in December 2011. Determined to have the best service and sales in the business through its dealers, Grady-White went all-out in dealer training at the meeting, with 15 different models in the water for dealer learning and testing and a rigorous seminar and meeting schedule. The 28-foot Freedom 285 dealers saw at the meeting was a full foot wider and longer than the Freedom 275, and was designed specifically with variety and entertaining in mind, while not forgetting Grady-White’s fishing heritage. More room in the Freedom 285 made it ideal for socializing, all kinds of fun, and all types of gear, whether for fishing, diving, camping, tubing, wakeboarding or skiing. All of the requisite comforts provided by excellent seating and a very roomy head were there, and the boat was an immediate hit with the dealers.
For the first time since the very early 1970s, also thanks to customer demand, Grady-White began offering colored boat hulls in the 2012 model year, with a sand-colored gel coat option and painted hull options in a handsome Sea Glass (light green), Vista Blue (light blue) and Harbor Blue (dark blue). (Colored hull options have changed; click here to see the latest hull color choices.) Even with a colored hull, the distinctive Grady-White raised shear line remains a product trademark, seen even when the boat is spotted from afar.
In addition to the growing popularity of the versatile Freedom Series dual consoles (and with six models from 19 to 30 feet, Grady-White now offered by far the industry’s largest selection), the company continued its proud center console legacy, and invested in continuously improving the wide range of terrific center consoles offered in 2012. As a result, early in the 2013 model year, the largest of Grady-White’s Fisherman Series, the Fisherman 257, got an impressive revamp of its console area, plus a handsome newly styled integrated T-top. The Fisherman 257 redesign focused on a larger stand-up head with amenities inside the console. The console helm station was redesigned to be more ergonomic and to accommodate the latest flush mount electronics, and a new footrest was added. The crowning touch was a revision of the optional T-top as a more integrated structure, including handholds right where you’d naturally reach.